POC Scottish Enduro Series Rnd 1
Well that on was one hell of a weekend! Thomas Mitchell headed his race report with the "Trials and tribulations" how was it for you?
Headline Sponsor POC continue their support the Scottish Series and are sponsoring two categories in the opening round. Going into year three riders have an eye on the prize and at Rnd 1 in Fort William the first category to fight it was the Super Grand Vet Male Category, Local rider and well known for his attacks on anything vaguley abusing pensioners, Steve Bradley smashed out a clean sheet winning every stage and claiming the top spot. Steve was recovering from an illness for round 1 and therefore has sent out a clear message to Neil Buyers and Lee Dove who took second and third respectively.
In the Grand Male Vet Category it was another local man, Alastair MacLennan on his Nukeproof 29er (yes a 29er) that took the top spot, Alastair claimed the win on all stages, meanwhile the fight for second and third was a much more closely contested battle with Paul Barrett and Lindsy Carruthers of Basecamp Bikes trading for second and third spots. This is undoubtebly going to be a hotly contested category in 2017 and we look forward to watching the battle unfold.
Sick Skills ( do see what I did there?) at the other end of the field, the Junior Male category had attracted a massive field of 52, with the series organisers having lowered the age acceptance to 14 for 2017 this is clear evidence to any governing body that there is a need for a pathway to excellence. (In their absence we will do it for them). The guys at Dirt School will be pleased to see two BASE students on this podium. Corey Watson (I Cycles) managing to steal a good gap on Ben Balfour and in third just three seconds back Gregor Nixon. Big thanks to Ben Cathro for his ongoing support of the series.
Rider Power! Riders in the hardtail category which for 2017 is supported by our good friends at Ragely took an early decision and said it was one class so no Male and Female, Ros Newman was out to play with the big boys! AE Bike Shop rider and all round good guy Kevin O'Stroznik run out the eventual winner, Ros Newman aboard her all new Cotic smashed her way to second with Conan Finch taking a creditable third.
Cube the series supporting partner for the 2017 series, sponsored the Ladies Vet Category for Round 1. Julia is a super supporter of the series and all things enduro in Scotland. As always it was a delight to have Julia at the event, her enthusiasm and inspiration will soon fill this category.
Meanwhile in the pit of testosterone that is the Senior Male Category it was Murray Goodefellow who claimed the top spot! Bespoak the amazing crafters and up cyclers of whisky barrels backed this category for round 1 and it was fittting that a Spey man take the top spot. With only 14 seconds separating Murray, Tom Coles and Cameron Turnball, this is likely to be on hell of a category.
Hope are pleased to once again be supporting the Scottish Enduro Series. Racheal Walker from Hope said the "SES to us offers a good mix of testing and fun trails. The guys at SES put on events that we ourselves enjoy riding, which hopefully means other riders enjoy them too! We’re looking forward to a great year of racing." We do not think that Hope will be disappointed and supported the Vet Male Category for Round 1. Could it have been any flippen closer? Hardies Bikes Darren Scott took a splendid win, few would argue that it was Gordies close eye to detail and that final tune that took him home with the victory. Stephen Hardy and David Ogden took second and third places.
Having spent a year as a BASE student, Elena Melton earned this victory, Elena has an eye on the series and this must surely be the dream start. Category sponsor for Junior Females Rnd 1, Flotec Scotland's Mountain Bike Suspension Experts were delighted to see some awesome racing. Mikalya Parton took second on the home turf and first timer Naimh Doherty travelling north with the Dunoon Massive taking third in her first ever enduro, its going to be all about marginal gains in this one!
WTB were the category sponsor for the Senior Female Category. Whilst the girls might seem like a nice bunch, do not be fooled this is one of the most hotly contested categories for 2017. The Cycle Jersey Basecamp rider Eilidh Wells took the top step on Sunday with Go Where Scotland's Janey Kennedy making a statement of intent as she returns from injury and takes the runners up station. Local lass Kirstin Moynihan took third and will doubtlessly feature on the podium again this season.
Hardies Bikes sponsored the Masters category for Rnd 1. It is all about consistency in this game and with the top three separated by a mere 5 seconds at the end of the day this category is damned hot. Brad illingworth will be delighted that he was the only one in the top three to take a stage win and that was on the Blue Crane Stage 3. Neal MacKay on the top step had a class day with 2nds and 3rds on all the stages and a 5th on stage 5. Late entry Mark Maciver putting in a great performance to claim second.
In the ladies short course category Sally Fordyce was on fire with clean stage wins across the board. Lara MacKay and Jenifer Price took second and third respectively, with less than 2 minutes separating all 8 ladies in this category it promises to be great racing going forward. This category was sponsored Elavation Cycles and the team at the SES are delighted to have them aboard for what is going to be an amazing year of racing.
The short course men's category was another tight affair with battle between the Graeme's, Graeme Watters grabbing the victory by seven seconds from Graeme McCart with Stuart MacKay taking the final podium spot. Big thanks to Basecamp Bikes for supporting this category at round 1 and their all round support of the series.
The final category the elites was always going to be one to watch with Lewis Buchanan facing his first big test after injury so cruelly stopped his charge on the enduro scene in 2016. Local riders and EWS and World cup regulars were never going to surrender on home turf. Despite some mechanical issues Lewis was able to do enough to get the top step. Liam Moynihan had a steady day only losing on average a second a stage to the winner with Lachan Blair finishing in third. With just over a minute separating the top 10 it promises to get exciting.
For full results click here.
It was a great weekend and once again the Outdoor Capital of the UK delivered the goods, we are back in November for the EWS Qualifier in Kinlochleven. Round two takes the series to Pitfichie in the Nort East a new venue for enduro, entries are rapidly filling, so if you are thinking about it get it booked. Numbers are going to be restricted.
All photo credits to Ross Bell