Big McMountain biking
The UK’s only Enduro World Series qualifier, Kinlochleven Enduro, went down last weekend. Here’s what happened.
The Enduro World Series Qualifier at Kinlochleven was always going to be a hotly contested race. The big mountain environment around Kinlochleven provides some great trails that can stand up to anything. Whilst Kinlochleven is no stranger to hosting enduro races this one was a bit special the first ever Enduro World Series qualifying event to be held in the UK.
The format for the event had been planned to allow for adverse weather that could be expected in November in the highlands of Scotland, with two big climbs and three fantastic stages.
Stage one hadn’t been used at an enduro before and caught a number of riders by surprise on Saturday morning.
It was a long transition to the start of the stage. Riders climbed out of the village to the reservoir before traversing the hill along to the top of the Leiter Bo Fionn path.
The stage itself consisted of steep switch-backs, some technical steps and some flat out traverses, with plenty of opportunities to buck riders over the bars. It was definitely a stage that demanded concentration and respect.
The early arrival of winter in the days prior to the event added a new and interesting dimension to the riding. The snow cover made line choice just that wee bit bolder than riders were used to. The snow conditions did not detract from the racing with the temperature not being quite cold enough to freeze the ground, although plenty cold enough to freeze fingers and toes.
Stage two was located on the bottom part of the Ciaran Path, a stage that hadn’t been used for a while and was quickly remembered for its demanding climbs mid stage and its amazing finish bringing riders back to the village.
The newly refurbished Ice Factor was the event HQ for the weekend, the provision of a great menu and quality coffee in a warm and relaxed atmosphere was exactly what riders needed before the final climb of the day.
The final stage of the race was the well known Loch Eilde Path; wide open hillside with a plethora of line choices and an almost perfect gradient on the first half before descending into the tree line. At the point the path gets tighter and line choice is restricted to the big ruts sculpted by the years of motorcycle trials action.
Joe Connoll took the win with Ian Amstermuhle only eight seconds behind. They were the only riders to break the 14-minute barrier.
The top twenty riders were separated by only two minutes. Chris Hutchens kept himself inside the top ten, finishing in ninth overall and winning the hardtail category.
In the senior lady’s category Roz Newman took the win in all three stages with Janey Kennedy in second and Nicola Fell in third.
What did the EWS bods think?
Chris Ball from the Enduro World Series: “Scotland excelled itself this past weekend, with fresh snow, eye-watering views and some of the most demanding trails in the world. No Fuss ran an incredibly relaxed and fun race in some of the most challenging conditions imaginable making it a trip to Kinlochleven to remember.
“Congratulations to the winners who automatically qualify for a place in the 2017 World Series, to all of the EMBA members who have scored valuable world ranking points and to all the riders who braved the conditions and got out there.”
In conclusion it was a great and memorable race, memorable in so many ways. Kinlochleven is always a great riding experience. The backdrop which is often described as Scotland fjord land is spectacular, with autumnal colours and snow cover it was incredible. The stages were always going to be a challenge and with the addition of the snow cover this added to the intensity. It was a pretty equal split to which was the favourite on race day between stages one and three.
Report from NoFuss Events.