With round three of the Scottish Enduro Series approaching, Chris Hutchens gives us his race preview for the Ae Forest event.
While the racing on the world cup circuit is in full flow there’s plenty of domestic events happening and national battles ongoing. None more so than at the Scottish Enduro Series.
With 2 rounds down and a season of racing still ahead how are things looking in the series points and what’s next on the calendar?
All to play for…
It’s true to say that Lewis Buchanan has found a flow this year. Solid EWS results and a wins at the SES sees him comfortably leading the mens series rankings. I’d put money on it that he secures the series title before the final round. That being said Joe Barnes took the first round win at Laggan and will be heading to Ae Forest for round three on the 16th and 17th of June. Expect a real battle between these guys.
Wideopenmag’s very own Christo Gallagher currently sits 2nd in the series with James Shirley in 3rd. I’m sitting back in 5th currently after a solid last place at round 1 but will only be attending a few of the rounds in 2018.
The senior womens’ field is getting stronger each year. It’s Janey Kennedy who ranks highest after round 2 with Kirsty MacPhee and Louise Haggarty closely behind in 2nd and 3rd respectively. Looking at the leader board it’s Louise Ferguson and Catriona MacDonald who also look threatening after finishing 1-2 at the first round and sitting out the second.
Elena Melton and Ella Connolly sit joint 1st with Niamph Doherty and Polly Henderson joint third. No single rider has raced every round yet. My money is on Ella right now as she gains experience and success at an EWS level. The future for girls racing is strong as these awesome ladies absolutely shred.
The junior men’s category is also sitting strong. More juniors are racing enduro in Scotland over downhill these days and is a sign of the change in attitudes to riding I think. Sitting out front with a good lead is Calum Johnson. A Borders kid who I’m sure will be taking inspiration from the many full time riders now residing in ‘the Valley’. Shaun Sangster chasing in 2nd and another Doherty name appears in the rankings. Tormod sits third but will no doubt be hoping for a strong race in Dunoon, his home trails in July.
That’s just some of the battles currently going on in the series. There’s plenty more along with some run away a performance such as Brad Illingworth in the Masters category. For full series rankings check out the Sportident website.
Return to Ae
It seems like an age since the SES was at Ae but flash back to 2016 and the final round. This is where I ‘famously’ crushed Michael Clyne in an arm wrestle and new Scottish Series champions were crowned.
As quoted in the video description, ‘“So much traction”, “So much dust”, “So easy”. These are all phrases that were not uttered once at this weekend’s grand finale of the POC Scottish Enduro Series in Ae Forest.’ it wasn’t the cleanest of weekends and I suspect it will be a little different for the 2018 round.
With Ae Forest being a regular over the years it was healthy to have a break in 2017. Local lads including Callum McCubbing have been adding to the trails and expect parts of these to be included for the weekend.
There’s always a good mix of natural and rough DH trails at Ae with some trail center thrown in as well. Word from Callum on the loop is:
“The loop is the same as a couple of years ago. Callum reckons it could be about 30km with one right pedally stage the rest are pretty downhill-orientated. Cut spike style tyres if it rains and tough casing will definitely help. Christo or Hutch could be in with a shout but Lewis Buchanan must be favourite. Polly Henderson could be fastest women if she is racing.”
My predictions for the race:
Lewis Buchanan will pip Joe Barnes with Christo G in 3rd.
Brad Illingworth will take the win AGAIN in masters.
Lewis Cochran will win seniors and be top 5 overall.
Polly Henderson will win juniors and overall, just.
Fiona Beattie will be the fastest women overall.
There will be dust.
Sadly I’ll not be at this event but will be heading to a more local event for me, The Malvern Classics. Time to try dual, 4x and also another XC race as well as Enduro. Happy riding wherever you are.
For full event details on round three of the 2018 Scottish Enduro Series, head over to the No Fuss Events website.