A wild and wooly weekend greeted riders for the final round of the 2018 Scottish Enduro Series, doubling up as a European Enduro Series round.
The final chance for glory and redemption, to seal the deal on titles or have one final battle with close rivals, the finale of the 2018 Scottish Enduro Series headed to Nevis Range.
Team Wideopenmag’s Christo Gallagher and Chris Hutchens were on hand to document the madness.
For the final round of the 2018 Scottish Enduro Series the team at No Fuss Events found a way to up the ante and turn the race into a round of the EWS Continental Series as well. With this in mind, they set out to create an ambitious course for this weekend and the future.
Coming into the weekend, the weather was looking less than ideal with high winds and heavy rain forecast. No Fuss Events are no stranger to bad weather and neither are the Scottish racers, so there was seven stages laid out before the race and five would be chosen depending on how the weather went.
As luck would have it, the weather came ‘good’ and the team was able to run with plan A. Plan A involved using the gondola for the first time ever for an enduro race, but also using the quad chair to go even higher and start a stage some 900m from sea level.
The stages comprised of a mix of absolute classic Fort William trails like the Blue Crane and the awesome Top Chief black and also some brand new stages, which are set to become something a bit more established in the future. However, given the rainfall and number of riders this weekend these brand new stages became somewhat of a bog.
For some riders it was their worst nightmare and some riders favourite thing ever. Personally I enjoyed the battle of riding the stage, but can’t say I had any interest in racing these two stages, so I look forward to when they are more established trails.
Now to get down to the racing. Hutch had come up for the weekend from down in Bristol, but had a wedding to attend on the Saturday in Aberdeen, so skipped practice and came over on Sunday for a day of blind racing. He missed out on a day of lovely rain and cold weather, which I have to say I didn’t enjoy loads, but it was a decent day of practice nonetheless.
In the women’s race it was close battle between newly crowned U21 EWS champ Ella Conolly and Louise Ferguson, but in the end it would be Ella taking the fastest time of the day for the ladies, Louise in second and another junior women rider in third, Niamh Docherty. Things are looking good for the future of Scottish women’s racing that’s for sure!
In the men’s race, there was one rider who made a point of dominating the race and I thought this might be the case coming into the weekend. Ben Cathro managed to take three out of five stage wins and took the overall despite spending an apparently large amount of time on stage four on his back sliding down the open hillside.
Cathro’s win put an end to Joe Barnes Scottish Enduro Series winning streak, having won all nine of the rounds he has ever entered and finishing up in second at this round. Lachlan Blair rounded out the podium in third after putting down the fastest time on the final stage of the day.
For Hutch and myself there isn’t much to tell. If I’m to be honest my heart wasn’t in it this weekend and I wasn’t too keen on the bogs, so I pootled down into eight place. Hutch, despite riding blind managed to finish in 15th place. After a busy season for us both, we are both looking forward to some time off and to chill before getting ready again for next year.
So, that’s an end to the Scottish Enduro Series for another year and what a year it’s been. Somehow I managed to take the overall series, which is pretty cool. The team at No Fuss Events put on another amazing series this year and I can’t wait to see what they have for us next year.
See you in 2019!
Check out the full results from round six of the 2018 Scottish Enduro Series on the Sportident website here.