Kinlochleven hosts UK’s first Enduro World Series qualifier
Last weekend saw the Enduro World Series Qualifier played out at Kinlochleven, in the UK’s Outdoor Capital. It was the first time that a series qualifier was held in the UK.
The format for the event, hosted by No Fuss Events, had been planned to allow for adverse weather that might be expected in November in the Scottish Highlands, with two big climbs and three fantastic stages.
Enduro stage one
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 then consisted of steep switch-backs, technical steps and some flat out traverses, with plenty of opportunities to buck riders over the bars.
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 did not detract from the racing, however, with the temperature not being quite cold enough to freeze the ground, although plenty cold enough to freeze fingers and toes.
Enduro stage 2
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.
Enduro stage 3
The final stage of the race was the well known Loch Eilde Path with wide-open hillside and numerous line choices, plus 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 20 riders were separated by only two minutes.
Chris Hutchens was inside the top 10, 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 Ball from the Enduro World Series was at the race. He said: “Scotland excelled itself 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.”
The winners automatically qualify for a place in the 2017 World Series.
Andrew Dodds, of DT Swiss, headline sponsors 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 the No Fuss Events as a racer and it’s brilliant to see their ethos carry over into this EWS Qualifier Round.”