Race Report: BikePark Wales Mini Enduro.

Our roving enduroist Ollie Hooper was out racing the Bike Park Wales Mini Enduro opener this weekend. Winter bit as Ollie opted to ride his winter bike, an original DMR Trailstar in the Hardtail category.

This weekend gone saw the opening round of the Mini Enduro series take place at BikePark Wales alongside the second round of the Welsh Gravity Enduro Series. Our man Ollie Hooper was there racing his hardtail and keeping it real despite the inclement conditions.

BikePark Wales Mini Enduro Welsh Gravity Enduro Ollie Hooper WideopenmagHere’s what Ollie made of his Mini Enduro experience: 

It’s that time of the year again!

At this point in the season most people have done one or two races, some happy that they are either really fit on the bike or need to do some last minute training to get them back to full fitness .

For me this was my first race of the season and a change. Just before the winter started I decided to build myself a winter riding bike. An old school steel DMR Trailstar was my choice, £30 off Pinkbike, resprayed by myself and most of the components from old bikes. I have been riding this bike on and off through the winter so decided to take the plunge and race in the Hardtail category.

BikePark Wales Mini Enduro Welsh Gravity Enduro Ollie Hooper Wideopenmag
As well as the weekend warriors, it was really nice to see a few Pro faces such as this dude. Josh Lewis AKA LooseDog.

The Mini Enduro Series is one of the most popular race series of the year. The chilled out race format and quality trails makes it a must for all abilities.

Bike Park Wales was the chosen venue to kick this race series off and the start of the enduro season. BPW now one of the largest bike parks in the UK and has a wide range of trails to suit top level Pro to the longest blue run in the UK. A great venue to host the opener of the great series.

The 4 stage race was reasonably tame compared to the year before, only using blues and a single red run brought a mixed reaction from the riders. Many riders said that it didn’t test your skill level as much, just who can pedal the hardest for the longest period of time! For me I really enjoyed the chosen trails, on a hardtail I don’t think I could handle a black run!

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The weather played a huge part shaping the race. A bitterly cold wind was howling through the valley all weekend making conditions really hard. I think I experienced every kind of weather condition throughout Saturday. Snow, sleet and rain combined with the wind made it so hard to carry on pedalling to the finish of each stage.

BikePark Wales Mini Enduro Welsh Gravity Enduro Ollie Hooper Wideopenmag
The final stage… At this point I just wanted to get to the finish so instead of pedalling, I thought aero-tucking would be the best idea!

Finishing the day at the BikePark Wales cafe in front of a nice warm fire was the highlight for me. Catching up with a few old faces which I haven’t seen since the end of last year and hearing how they got on racing is always a highlight of racing (most people complained how unfit they are though!)

All in all a really good day for me. Really enjoyed racing in the hardtail category, talking to some new faces I haven’t raced with before. I managed to grab 5th with a flat tyre on one stage which counted me out for a top position.

BikePark Wales Mini Enduro Welsh Gravity Enduro Ollie Hooper Wideopenmag
First thing in the morning snow has settled on the ground over night making the hard packed trail super sketchy.

Number one spot in my category went to Tom Dunn smashing it on his massive 29er compared to my tiny 26inch bike!

“1st Mini Enduro of the year, turned out to be another great race by Chris, Charlie and the team! Some flat out and physical tough stages, plus battling with the snow and hail made for a rad day. Can’t wait for the next one.” Tom Dunn, 1st Place Hardtail.

I managed to catch up with the winner from the first round of the Welsh Gravity Enduro Matt De Villanueva while practicing some of the stages.

“1st Mini Enduro of the year and round 2 of the Welsh Gravity Enduro Series. I was hoping for nice weather after Afan and wasn’t disappointed even then sun came out for a bit. Got there nice and early to ride the stages in the morning. After riding them in the morning the stages where good but I knew it was going to hurt. I will was right it was a hard race but fun. I will definitely be doing more another great race from Chris and Charlie.” Matt De VillanuevaBikePark Wales Mini Enduro Welsh Gravity Enduro Ollie Hooper Wideopenmag