It was always going to be a great race, the big mountain environment around Kinlochleven provides some great trails that can standup 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 Classic Kinlochleven Shot
Andrew Dodds from DT Swiss who were headline sponsor for the race said “This was a great event for DT Swiss to support. The atmosphere was laid back and friendly, the trails trying and technical and the weather was properly Scottish. I've taken part in several of No Fuss Events as a racer and it's brilliant to see their ethos carry over into this EWS Qualifier Round.”
It was a bit wintery at times.
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 all the 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 one the 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.
Heading backtowards the tree line
Stage two was 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.
A bit of safety leg deployment.
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 where path gets tighter and line choice is restricted to the big ruts sculpted by the years of motorcycle trials action.
That's a big rut
Joe Connoll took the win with Ian Amstermuhle only eight seconds behind, these were the only riders to break the 14minute 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.
Chris Hutchens taking the hardtail category.
Chris Ball from the EWS was at the race and reported “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 ranking points and to all the riders who braved the conditions and got out there.”
Chris styling it on stage 3.
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.
Spook Munro from No Fuss Events said “The Sportident Air system really has enhanced our events in 2016 with another faultless set of results and some really close battles. It has been the perfect race to end our busy 2016 calendar”
For Full Results here
The next enduro for No Fuss Events is the legendary Macavalanche and of course the Scottish Enduro Series kicks of again in March. Both are filling fast and 2017 is already looking like it will be a belter.
Thanks to Fraser Laing and Sean Duggan for the use of the images.