Ollie Hooper reports from Round 2 of the Red Kite Mondraker Enduro series at Coed Trallwm (which he won!)
Photos thanks to Dan Wyre
After being told about the Red Kite Gravity Enduro by a friend, I made the journey to Coed Trallwm Trail Centre to race the second round of the series. The weather over the weekend was amazing, this made the trails dry, loose and very dusty.
The format of racing for this race was very different to other races I have previously entered. On the Saturday you got to practice 3 stages and then in the afternoon you raced those 3 stages and another blind!
I have never raced a stage blind before so this was a new experience for me. I really enjoyed this format as not knowing what was coming up kept you on your toes and you had to ride really smart to get a decent time.
We rolled up on Saturday morning to take a look at the trails and see what the Red Kite Enduro had to offer. After practicing Stages 2,3 & 4 it was apparent that it was going to be an awesome weekend of racing. The trails were very natural with off camber roots, stump jumps and lush loamy steep corners.
The Red Kite Enduro is a great race if you wanted to get into Enduro racing. The trails have a great mix of different terrain but as the racing format is so relaxed you can take your time going up to the next stage.
Simon Nash a familiar face in 4X decided to give enduro a go:
“The general opinion was that it’s a good crack with a relaxed atmosphere. It was a bit strange not having times to follow but that meant a lot less stress. The timing system worked well, the trails were mint and it was certainly more “downhill” than I expected.”
As well as seeing many new faces this event saw a lot of familiar faces including Peter Lloyd from the Whyte Enduro Team.
“I had a very mixed weekend of racing. I put in some fast times but in the end but had too many stupid little crashes which cost me a lot of time and any chance of a podium finish. The trails, weather and atmosphere all weekend were brilliant though. Steep, fresh cut loam; what’s not to like?”
After having some lunch we made our way up to 4 timed Stages. The event used a timing system that I haven’t used before. You could turn up at the top of any stage when ever you want and with who ever you want. This meant you could socialise with people from other categories! Also when you did get to the top you could go whenever you wanted and you didn’t need to leave a gap between the rider in front so you could ride down the stages in a train with your riding buddies.
So after completing the 4 timed stages we rode down to the cafe, scanned our timing chips in and instantly printed on a receipt were our times. Once we had compared times with fellow riders I found out that I was in 1st place after day one of racing. This was a huge boost but I had to keep my cool as closely followed behind me was Craig Perk.
On Sunday we had to complete the 4 stages that we raced the previous day, another 2 new stages and stage 4 twice. So in total we had to complete 7 stages over a 15 mile loop. Stage 1 was a completely new stage for everyone consisting of awkward tree stumps which were placed in direct line to you hitting your front wheel and going over the bars. Stage 1 was the shortest stage of the loop only lasting for 1 min 18 seconds.
As the day went on the trails got better and better, the stages got longer, steeper and much harder! Stage 4 was everyone’s favourite stage, a completely fresh cut top section was super steep with stupidly tight switch backs which you had to try and navigate yourself around. After completing the top section a short fire road sprint took you into another fresh cut section into the finish.
Stage 6 was also a highlight to me. A mix of trail centre and fire road which you could easily reach speeds up to 35mph! The fire roads led into super drifty corners which you had to take a handful of back brake, stick your foot out, slide into the corner and hope you come out the other side!
A familiar riding club, MB Swindon, were riding this race once again. I spoke to James Scott who I was riding the loop with on Sunday:
“After all the trail centre Enduros these days it’s great to have an antidote to them with the Mondraker/Red Kite series. Proper tracks – steep, fresh cut, tech, roots, drops, loam but still keeping a mid stage sprint or two. More please!”
After completing the loop, from the look on everyone’s face and comparing timing receipts, it seemed like everyone had a great days racing.
I was very happy to take the top spot after having a few spills throughout the day by a healthy 20 seconds. I am now looking forward to racing next weekend and catching up with a few old faces before the first national of the year.
The Red Kite is definitely an event that’s growing in numbers with over 30 more riders entering this round than the last. It’s defiantly getting more popular thanks to its chilled out format and great trails.
Thank you to the Red Kite Event organisers for putting the event on!
1st – Ollie HOOPER
2nd – Craig PERKS
3rd – Austin SALMON
1st – Luther GRIFFITHS
2nd – Simon WAKELY
3rd – Andrew COOPER
1st – Sean GROSVENOR
2nd – Jim BUCHANAN
3rd – Martin JORDAN
Grand Veteran Men
1st – Alan WAKELY
Sunday Only Senior Men
1st – Owain JAMES
2nd – Vini CRIGHTON-POLI
3rd – Curtis HOWELL
Sunday Only Master Men
1st – Jason POWELL
2nd – Lee TURNER
3rd – Sandy PLENTY
Sunday Only Veteran Men
1st – Giles AUSTING
2nd – John WARD
3rd – Jeff WHERLOCK
Sunday Only Grand Veteran Men
1st – Simon KIRKHAM
2nd – Dion THOMAS
3rd – Jimmy DOCHERTY
1st – Emma WAREHAM
2nd – Rachael SPANTON
3rd – Hannah ESCOTT