Last weekends 4th round of the Welsh Enduro Series will go down as one of those events that you just had to be there to believe it happened.
The race was shortened from 4 stages to 3, which was a pity, but definitely the right choice. As the forecast was 50mph winds and howling rain!
We were treated to a brand new venue in Aberangell. With some never before raced (or even ridden by the majority of people) stages.
Stage 1 involved a fair amount of pedaling but had some very nice cheeky natural tech rewards, hence the name the perfectly apt name “Heaven and Hell”
Stage 2 was also aptly called “Steep” It was. Very! But it was nice to race a trail just like the ones we used to build 10 years ago, steep, tight and tech. With a layer of loam on top that ended with a wet field dash!
Stage 3 “Steeper”. Well this was unreal! Pure steep hand cut trail with lots of off-camber turns. Not everyone’s cup of tea in the wet but a treat for those that could handle it.
Ride.io tester and all out nice guy Tom went all out and ran a full DH spikes! Most people looked at him like he’d lost his mind. Wasn’t long before their looks turned to jealousy though! Stages 2+3 were called Steep and Steeper and were quality proper welsh tracks! This was a proper test of man and machine. Tyre clogging clay made an already tricky stage into something that left most people on their arses! Everyone seemed to loved the challenge though but there were a few that complained (“this isn’t racing” and so on). As Matt Snape said. “There’s a start, a finish and a timed track taped out, so it’s on!”Chloe CAINS choose to bail the bike and run down here, much like 50% of the entire field who walked this bit! It was mega hard.
There were quite a few hardtails in the mix. I’m not taking it away from them (they’re bloody heroes!) but to be fair the slow speeds and tight nature of the track probably meant it would have been not bad going. Dare we say it even beneficial in some bits Compared to a 160mm 29er boats struggling to get round tight turns out there! Just check out those eyes! Some serious focus was needed on these brutal conditions!
Even though it was a slop fest most opted not to wear goggles as the woods were so dark, and speeds were not in the flick mud in your eyes pace.
Dan Farrer getting on the inside line of this tricky compression. 5th in Masters Men, Those flags were used a lot this weekend. I don’t think many managed all 3 race runs without a crash!
Ride.io team rider Leo Houseman hucking a root gap on stage 2. Full enduro! Leo loved it, but a savage crash on stage 2 ruined his chances and gave him a nice ‘kankle’!
Here’s what Buds (Co-Organiser) had to say after the event –
“Mike Marsden (Co-Organiser) summed it up well in an earlier post with two words……character building!
It was certainly a challenge with Friday nights rain and then Brian making an appearance today…….glad he did not beat us but he gave it his best!
Huge thank you to the competitors for braving the conditions, and still smiling at the end…..I don’t think we will see such challenging conditions again in my lifetime……hope not anyway!”
“Rhys the Landowner has put in so much time and effort into the trails and believe me they are awesome trails although today they were at their brutal worst!
Thanks Rhys on behalf of the MTB community for your hard work and welcoming us all into your garden to slide through!!
We need more Landowners like Rhys to get new venues and trails so we don’t ride the same places year after year…
As always the Stage Managers and marshals are the unsung heroes allowing us all to race our bikes……thanks to all.
Sorry the conditions did not allow us to do podiums as it was more important to get everyone on their way home safely but we will sort everything when the results are in”.
Here’s what the series Overall winner had to say on Instagram.
The weather was appalling, and it’s an enormous credit to Mike, Buds, and their tireless team of marshals, as well as Rhys and the Dyfi locals that an event went on at all. It was great to see so many people pushing themselves in some of the most challenging race conditions available.
Top 3 Results.
There was no chance of a podium as the weather was insane!
Luckily Pro Cat winner Emyr Davies local bike shop sponsor <The Framed Bicycle CO is very very good at photoshop…..
You might have missed it but Emyr Davies WON the last round of the Welsh Enduro Series at the Dyfi last weekend. I think…
1st Emyr Davies
2nd James Flinders
3rd Callum Russel
1st Alexandre Storr
2nd Ben Smith Price
3rd Theo Cryer
1st Jonathan Weaver
2nd Sonny Robinson
3rd Gruff tomos
1st Ashley Mullane
2nd Jamie Powell
3rd Peter Heyward
1st Marcus Jones
2nd Scott Stephenson
3rd David Gregory
Grand Vet Men
1st Gary Allen
2nd Chris Cooke
3rd Jeff Wherlock
1st Jennifer Hoare
2nd Heather Kay
3rd Cheri Mills
Full results, and the series overall can be found at – Roots And Rain HERE
Massive thanks to Doc Ward for his photography this season – You can buy some of his images on roots and rain here OR visit his website here