Last year the Welsh Enduro Series rounded off their season in the blight of Storm Brian, and there were some nervous faces spinning up the first climb after that ordeal. Luckily weeks of warm, dry weather and some superb trail work by Rhys Butler and his team(family!) meant everything was running in great shape. Despite being a one day event, Saturday saw the beautiful riverside camping field fill with riders eager to make the most of the dusty conditions.
Stage one, Sparrowhawk, was a long sweaty climb away from the start, but was totally worth it with a brand new, loamy feel that reminded me of Super-Morzine trails from 10 years ago, when best kept secret wasn’t an ironic name. From the bottom of that it was a bit of a push/slog back up to the spin over to stage two – Goshawk. Tight switchbacks down to a minute and a bit of slightly uphill bleak sprinting before a second blast down some steep rooty turns to the finish.
From there it was another steady but lengthy climb back over to stage three, Heaven and Hell. After last year’s plasticise filled mess, it was running at an outrageous pace, with tight, swoopy moves to make all the way down. A short transition found you at the top of Steep, the fourth stage than landed you, via dark, twisty roots and a scary fast couple of corners in the braken to Rhys’s back garden!
The hot sun and great trails made for a brilliant, friendly vibe out on the trails, with everyone cheering each other on and hands as sore from fist bumps and high fives as hanging on. Matt Simmonds took the overall from Dan Atherton, who was on a rare digging break to shred and hand out the prizes. Phil Roberts came in third.
Massive thanks are due to Rhys Butler, Sian and their family for their hospitality, trail building and use of the fields. Thanks also to Adrian Bradley and the WES team of marshalls and medics for more faultless organisation, timing and logistics, and to all the event sponsors for their prizes. The next round heads to the wilds of Coed Llandegla in June. See you there!
Pics by Doc Ward, Tom Laws and Andy Taylor
Full Results and plenty of photos to buy over at Roots and Rain.