After the end of another successful Winter and Spring Series, Gorrick MBC returned to Swinley Forest for the annual Enduro. Usually the event is held over two days, with competitors trying to complete 100 miles within the allotted time. However this year the event was forced to run on just the Sunday, with riders completing between one and seven ten mile laps, so more of a metric 100 this time around.
The condition of the course was threatened by the previous week’s wet weather, but after a few laps it started to dry out, with just some isolated muddy sections and large puddles remaining.
The first group of riders setting out were completing the maximum seven laps across a gruelling course. The first five miles consisted of steep ups and downs, then a brief recovery section which turned into a muddy slog toward the remaining three miles of fast and flowing singletrack. From then on the remaining riders set out at intervals down to the one lappers, who started at 12:30.
The first rider back home from the seven lap event was Jamie Newall in a staggering time of 6:15.38 followed 17 minutes later by Scotsman Colin Shearer. Alan Tilling came in 30 minutes later. Everyone who completed this course was ultra-fit, with even the last finisher, Andrew Smith, taking only 8:37.31 to complete 70 miles.
Only one woman finished the seven lap event – Lydia Gould would have placed sixth in the men’s event with her impressive 7:28.27.
The five lap challenge was a strange event. On the face of it 50 miles did not seem too hard, but many riders were wishing that they had taken the three lap option. Despite a shaky start Mark Harris managed to battle back and foil any attempt by Craig Lawrence and Ross Fryer to take the victory. In the women’s category Jackie Roberts took another Gorrick title by coming home almost an hour ahead of Sue Taylor.
“Three laps, please” proved to be the most popular quote of the day with 83 riders on the start line waiting for the signal to go. Andrew Boyd put in consistent lap times and won his second Gorrick event this year. Close behind were Jimmy Finch and Matthew Wex, who both led the race, but didn’t have enough left in the tank to finish the job. Gorrick regular Caroline James took the honours in the women’s event.
The two lap men’s race looked more like a sprint than an enduro to Ian Field who came in well ahead of the pack. Tim Short was six minutes shy of the National Junior rider, with the rest of the pack trailing by another 15. Kate Brooker dominated the women’s event and took the victory by 20 minutes.
The fun one lap riders were the last to depart and Tim Wick came in first for the men, with Tina Clay snatching the lead from Louise Linsell to come home first woman.
Despite a few showers and the muddy conditions the weather in the main behaved itself. The event was certainly very difficult and whether you did one lap or seven, there was still a great feeling of achievement at the end of it. The only part that riders would change was wishing that they had done more training to go faster on the course – roll on next year!