Last weekend our man Ollie Hooper dropped in on the Mini Enduro at the Forest of Dean. Here’s his report!
When you think of racing in the Forest of Dean in mid-October you’ll probably conjur up images of biblical weather, torrential rain and freezing cold winds ….not this time! Conditions couldn’t have been better. Chris Roberts and the Forest of Dean treated us to loamy corners, dry roots and fast flowy trails. I couldn’t stop riding all weekend!
All four stages had a great mix of fast flowy sections, long sprints (which seemed to go on for much longer than you expected!) and corners which had so much grip you could hit them with as much speed as you wanted.
Stage 1 started with a long pedal over awkward roots and stumps hidden under the layer of loam. After the sprint the stage then dropped into a trail which has been used for previous Mini Enduros. There were a few tricky corners to start then a fast off camber section into some fast flowy corners which you could hit with some mad speed!
Stage 2 was one of my favourite stages of the weekend. Starting with a very long pedal it then took a hard right hand corner into some sweet corners then dropped into another sprint along a fire road. After the sprint the trails got steeper and faster. You had to try and navigate yourself around some stumps before being hit by off camber roots which would normally have no grip but because of the dry conditions seemed to have more grip than the mud! Near the end of the stage there was a small huck/jump into the finish which caught a lot of riders out going in way to fast and over shooting into the ferns.
Stage 3 was a short sub-minuter consisting of a short pedal over roots and stumps going into some small jumps and then dropping into a variation of Corkscrew. The bottom section was fast, flowy and corners which where very fast and smooth.
Stage 4 was the longest of the weekend and the most brutal! There were some awesome corners and every single root that could have been exposed was! The hardest part of the stage was the finish with a long flat sprint over roots and rock making it almost impossible to carry any speed.
Chatting to a few people it seemed that everyone was looking forward to racing and loved all the brutal stages that Chris Roberts had put on. The point that most people made was that they really enjoyed the chilled out atmosphere which these races have. You have a time which you need to be at the top but this is always really easy and no one is ever late. Then when you get to the top you can go in what ever order you like you you can ride around with your mates and have a great time!
Racing felt like it went reasonably well for me, I tried to stay on my bike, have fun and ride as quick as possible to try and keep up with all the senior boys. Being my first race in senior I wasn’t expecting a good result just trying to have fun riding around with a few of my mates.
Something that I really liked about this race was that as soon as you got to the bottom the results were out and you could see where you had come and there wasn’t any waiting around near the end of the day getting cold.
Waiting around at the end for podiums it seemed that everyone had an awesome time riding around and racing with their mates. Cheers to Chris Roberts and all his team for putting on another awesome event! I’m looking forward to trying to get to some of the Winter Downhill races which Chris puts on starting in December.
In the Pro Men category the Welsh Dragon Leigh Johnson rapped up another win closely behind local and Wideopenmag’s own Charlie Hatton then coming behind then in 3rd was Andrew Cooper.
In the Senior Category Charles Jones coming back from a broken wrist injury took first closely followed behind by .7 of a second was Ajay Jones then not far behind them was Simon Wakely.
In the Junior Category Ruairi Phelan took the win by over 10 seconds showing that he means business moving up to Senior class next year. Arran Jones took 2nd place then another 5 second back was Ben Townsend.
In the Elite Women Rachel Gurney took the win by 8 second and then Sally Evamy.