The 2019 BEMBA British National Enduro Series Round 1 is this weekend at Afan

This weekend sees the first BEMBA British National Enduro race of the 2019 Season.

Here’s everything you need to know about this weekend’s big mountain bike enduro race.

This coming weekend is a big one for British enduro racing.

After the demise of the UK Gravity Enduro Series mid-season in 2018, a group of enduro organisers formed the British National Enduro Series, with the backing of the British Enduro Mountain Bike Association (BEMBA).

After heaps of hard work, they’ve created a new national series and round 1 is this weekend at Afan in South Wales. We can’t wait.

Round 1  – Afan, South Wales

This weekend’s race takes place at Afan in South Wales. The weekend is a mash-up, double header taking in the  Haibike Welsh Gravity Enduro Series Round 1 and Lapierre British National Enduro Series Round 1.

The Mash Up is a fun, no-pressure, ride all you can event that’s fun for try-hards and the non-competitive alike. You can ride the stages as many times as you like to try and get your best time.

The BEMBA BNES race is a proper, try-your-best, try-and-be-a-national-champ-race. It’s a proper enduro with transition times and a competitive field with some fast elites.

The event will be based out of Bryn Bettws Lodge, which is also home to the Afan 4X track and Skills area.

The event postcode is:

Bryn Bettws Lodge
Gyfylchi Farm,
Port Talbot.
South Wales.
SA12 9SP

Event schedule

With two races taking place in one weekend, the schedule takes a bit of getting your head round.

Practice is open Saturday 13th only:

Stage 1: 09:15 – 17:00
Stage 4: 08:30-17:00
Stages 2, 3, 5, 6e: 08:30 – 11:25 & 15:35 – 17:00
(Stages: 2, 3, 5, 6e Will be closed for the Mash Up race from 11:25-15:35, only Mash Up competitors can access these stages during this time period)

Saturday 13th April is for getting Mashed

Saturday 13th April is practice for the BEMBA race and race day for the Welsh Gravity Enduro Series mash up.

There’s 3 stages and an eBike stage, over a 13km course with 500m of height.

WGES Mash Up Round 1:

11:30-15:30 on stages: 2, 3, 5, 6e

Stages 2, 3, 5, 6e are closed to all non Mash Up competitors from 11:25 – 15:35

Sunday 14th April is for the BNES

Sunday 14th is the big day, BEMBA British National Enduro round 1.

This looks like it’ll be a big one with 5 stages, a 34km track and 1000m of vertical.

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Riders will leave the race village in time and category order and have a certain amount of time to get to the start line of the stages. The organisers say that the times are relaxed enough that these won’t be a rush.

Who’s racing?

The race sold out well in advance, which is super encouraging for British racing.

There’s almost 500 riders on the list with absolutely loads of riders in the Seniors and Masters category.

The fastest man on the hill is most likely 2018 UKGE series leader Leigh Johnson. Leigh was well in the lead last year when the series was cancelled and looks set for more great rides this year. Anyone remember when he actually won a race with his pants round his ankles?

You’ve also got Sam Shucksmith who scored top 5 at Ard Rock, top 10 at the UKGE in 2018 and raced a packed season of Enduro World Series events. Wideopen’s Christo Gallagher and Chris Hutchens are also on the start sheet (Christo just podiumed at Tweedlove and is flying right now) as is Ross Hancock who won two UKGE races last year and the last Fort Bill Scottish Enduro.

For the female riders, we’re looking forward to seeing how young gun Caja Parkes goes after some impressive results. Francie Arthur, Alicia Hockin and Abigaile Lawton look set for a good battle this year – all with loads of races under their belts and plenty of podiums.

Katie Wakely also looks set for a top result, having won almost everything she’s ever entered, including the UKGE at the same venue in 2018. Catherine Hart should offer her some competition, especially after a 3rd place at Tweedlove earlier this month.

What’s a little disappointing is the lack of top brass, Factory pro riders. Aside from Leigh Johnson there’s none of the EWS regulars or full time, professionals on the sheet. The no-shows is anyone’s guess but a Scottish Enduro the same weekend probably doesn’t help.

Come on guys… People are working hard to create you a national series, get on board and support it!

Anything else you need to know?

The weather is looking good. Spectators are welcome (but please follow instructions from the marshals and officials). Racing should be tight with loads of fast guys and girls on track.

Last but not least, a thanks to the race’s sponsors for making the event happen.

You can catch up on the action on Saturday night on Wideopenmag as we drop out Trackside raw video from the race.

Anything else you need to know is on the Welsh Gravity Enduro website here.




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