Event Preview: PMBA Enduro, Round One at Graythwaite

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PMBA Graythwaite

The PMBA Enduro series will return for round one of the British National (an EWS Qualifier) in Graythwaite over the bank holiday weekend.

Held on a private estate with plenty of off-piste trails, the race will take place over two days. Rated red 2 on the EWS enduro grading system, the race has six stages, steep trails and 4-5 hour loops.

The release reads:

May bank holiday 2021 will mark the sixth year that the PMBA Enduro Series returns to Graythwaite. It’s fair to say this venue is the biggest race on their calendar, and 2021 will be no exception. There’s an unbelievable thirst to get between the tape this year, with the drought of 2020, people just want to get racing. Graythwaite has the advantage of being on totally private land therefore the restrictions and limitations of using Forestry England land is not a headache for Kev the organiser behind the PMBA Enduro Series. This event also doubles as the opening round of the British National Enduro series; and comes with EWS qualifier status for some nice early season points.

There will be challenges to face as the country starts to come out of restrictions, so no large gatherings at the event village or the KS drop into the event village. With national events only allowed from 17th May, this will be one of the first, with the international events still suppressed, a raft of the best riders have signed up to get back to racing. Nothing beats that feeling of flying between the tapes and this has brought out a range of the country’s best enduro and downhill riders.

PMBA Enduro Graythwaite
Stage three.

Scanning down the entry list we find EWS stars like Joe Barnes, Lewis Buchanan, Becky Cook, Bex Barona, Martha Gill; Along with a whole bunch of the CRC crew Greg Callaghan, Kelan Grant, Elliott Heap, Katy Winton, Ad Brayton and Meg Whyte. How will the series regulars like Polly Henderson, who was the fastest woman in 2020 and Ian Austermuhle perform? Christopher Hutchens is on the list and in 2017 described a version of this year’s stage two as “eye-watering tech” so he’s got an advantage of knowing what this event can serve up along with teammate Christopher Gallagher after his senior win last year.

Reece Langhorn was last year’s masters winner, can he do it again? With so little racing over the past year maybe it will be somebody like Jess Stone with so much experience that will find the groove to win. However, if experience wins out then the first lady of enduro Tracy Moseley has that covered and already had a lap to give some feedback. Sam Shucksmith has already been in action and taking the top step in the regional Southern Enduro event, will that have sharpened him up and give him an edge?


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Graythwaite PMBA

Adam met up with the event organiser and some great riders to have a preview of the stages, here’s what to expect. Six stages over 20Km for the lap1000M + of elevation.

  • Stage 1 – Charismatic Megafauna: This is a whole new one and the longest of the day. Stages 1 & 2 both start below the peak of ‘Black brows’ the highest point on the Graythwaite Estate. This new stage is going to have widespread popular appeal; designed for flow, and fun both of which build as you descend and finally finish using the classic ‘Gary the Polar Bear’ trail. Vinny and his team have done a great job here with this stage.

  • Stage 2 – Scorpion: All the way back to the top, and after the flow of stage one you tackle the brutal Graythwaite raw tech as the steepness builds before being spat out of the top woods and into the aptly named ‘Happy Ending’ for a stage almost as long as the first.

  • Stage 3 – Remainiac: Fun, fast and flow, with added berms. Stage three is a perfect antidote to the raw tech of stage two, making you feel great on the bike especially when you realise you’re halfway around the lap and the cafe stop is next up.
PMBA Enduro Series
  • Stage 4 – Ridgelines, roots, rocks, ruts and roost extended for 2021, a whole new start section adds some freshness to the stage, now in its 3rd year and improving with age.

  • Stage 5 – Nicks Party Line: There has been serious work on this stage to make it easier, especially on the start ridge. Here we have the classic ridgeline start and a chance to admire the view. Riding so fast at the moment, and the heavily worked on middle section again adds flow. Save your sprint legs for the final quarter.

  • Stage 6 – Vinny’s Divorce Statement: Stage 1 last year, the final stage this year, tamed at the top with a new ending ‘Childs Play’ and a chance to style it up on numerous features.

For important information for the racers you should check out the rider briefing.

The event will be very much like the September 2020 event, the racing itself will be pretty much as it was pre-covid, they are losing the arena finish/KS Drop to adhere to the rules (discourage spectators & dwell areas, and they are losing podiums, prize presentation, trophies & medals).

Here’s a look at the race back in September:

Agenda:

Friday:

Race arena opens, free camping available. Portable loos on site.

Saturday:

08:30: Marshal brief.

09:15: Sign on will be open.

Time TBA: Catering open from the morning.

09.30: Practice starts from arena.

10am: Stages open for full runs.

17:00: Practice finishes – stages closed after this time (and gates on S5 locked).

Sunday:

04:46: Sunrise.

07:30: Marshal brief.

08:25: Sign on opens (timing chip collection).

08:30: First riders depart.

09:00: Stage one opens.

12:00 All racers have departed.

12:30: First racers back.

17:30: Last racers back.

To enter visit the PMBA enduro site.


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