Exciting Enduro Lures MTB Enthusiasts To KZN Champs

While downhill racing is often seen as a sport reserved for the brave hearted, the relatively new and exciting concept of Enduro offers everyday MTB riders the opportunity to get a taste of fast flowing tracks and catch some air for those who can.  This form of riding, or racing, just blows your mind – whether you are fast or slow there is a place you! So enter now for the KZN Provincial Enduro and Downhill Championships, sponsored by NMI-DSM, which takes place at Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg on 6 and 7 June respectively.  Now in its second full season at provincial level, the four-stage local championship Enduro will use approximately 50% of the stages as per the PMB MTB Festival held over Easter weekend. 
The remaining 50% will be made up of a combination of XCO tracks and lesser ridden trails in the area.  Enduro Champs event organiser Dave Drummond says:  ‘We’ve slowly been making the tracks a bit more technical as the series has progressed, and this race will be close to one of the more technical tracks of the year.’  The point of Enduro racing is to start at the bottom and pedal to the top of the mountain to the start. 
With no shuttle assistance on the day, the stages will be shorter than Easter weekend.  For this reason, trail bikes are suitable for the uphill pedal.  Participants will then tackle “stages” as would happen in a car rally, which are timed.  
More rally terminology is used when riders take an easy pedal in “untimed liaison” stages, which is where the camaraderie and social aspect kicks in.  Drummond says:  ‘The top competitors are all friends and chat amongst the riders between stages.’  The beauty of Enduro racing is that anybody can enter on any bike! 
The big drawcard is that it is every man’s (and woman’s) mountain biking.  Although technical, there is nothing on the course that cannot be ridden on a XCO bike, even a hardtail.  Drummond says:  ‘To be competitive though, and if you’re aiming for a podium place, then a trail bike is the tool for the trade.  Enduro riders need to pedal to the top of the next stage.’  
When asked what tips he had for those considering Enduro, Drummond said:  ‘If you’re thinking about it, do it.  You are almost guaranteed to have fun.  The focus is on fun!  There is a strong competitive element to it but rider enjoyment is the number one priority!’  Drummond reminds however that it is a fairly long day out, and riders should be self-sufficient:  ‘Each rider should carry their own basic spares and food and water either in a backpack or a few essentials in your pockets if you can last long.  The idea behind Enduro is to ride your bike over mountains.’  Sunday will see the racing move back to the traditional downhill and big hitters will take to the track with the fastest descender being crowned the provincial champion.
KZN Downhill Champs event organiser, Nigel Hicks, says that the course will be very much the same as the one used at the PMB MTB Festival:  ‘There will be a few changes up top and we will try and run the full World Cup track.’  As with the Enduro Champs on Saturday, the practice times for the Downhill Champson Sunday are from 08:00 to 11:00 with the final kicking off at 12:00 for both events.  
 
Event details:
Date: 6 and 7 June 2015
Province: KwaZulu-Natal
Location: Cascades MTB Park
Entries Close: 3 June 2015
Starting Time: 12:00
Registration: Cascades, 08:00-11:00 & Cascades, 07:30-10:30
Late Entries: Yes
Timed By: Elite Timing
ROAG Registration: No
Event Website: http://www.kznmtb.co.za

Online pre-entries are now open, and close on Wednesday 3 June. Click here to enter: http://www.roag.co.za/eventinfo.aspx?EventID=1469.  Late entries will be accepted at registration with a nominal charge of R50 in addition to the entry fee.  Entrance for spectators is free, and all are welcome to attend to watch some spectacular mountain bike racing.

For more information, contact Rebecca Van Der Linde info@kznmtb.co.za or Dellah Paul dellah@cyclingsa.com.
Photo: Enduro riders chat between untimed liaisons as they wait for the start of the next timed stage – the format of Enduro that will be seen at the 2015 KZN Provincial Enduro and Downhill Championships, sponsored by NMI-DSM, which takes place at Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg on 6 and 7 June respectively.
Photo credit: Gavin Ryan/Quick Pix