Team Wideopenmag’s Chris Hutchens takes us through what we can expect from the second round of the Scottish Enduro Series as it heads to Innerleithen.
It’s been over 4 years since the EWS visited the Tweed Valley. 2015 saw the best enduro riders in the World descend upon the Borders town of Peebles. Hutch gives us his preview as the Scottish Enduro Series heads to Innerleithen.
Hundreds of riders and just as many fans swarmed into the town like locusts to the fields. All in search of those valley trails and the excitement of racing at the top end.
EWS’ Continental Enduro Series heads to the Tweed Valley in only a few weeks. Innerleithen this time hosting the second round of the EWS Continental Series. Round 1 of the European Series only took place at the end of April with veterans Robin Wallner and Anita Gehrig taking the top honors in Macanet de Cabrynes in Spain.
The series sits one tier below the main World Series and is developing a stepping stone for riders aiming for the EWS. It’s gaining some bigger names and regular EWS podium riders as well. There’s also a number of riders committing to the Continental Series over the main EWS series. Will we see more riders do this, reducing travelling and cost?
The Innerleithen round will be no different in attracting the best riders in the World and the event is drawing in factory riders and many from overseas. This sort of event ensures a European, if not Global reach and helps to push Innerleithen and the trails up and down the Tweed Valley as some of the best in the World.
As ever the No Fuss Team continues to help push the Scottish Enduro Series and enduro racing in Scotland and are great custodians of bringing such high profile events here.
With another huge entry due, some additional race goals for many (EWS points) and guaranteed sun (Frazer has this under control he ensures me…) it’s going to make for some amazing racing. Here’s what you need to know, plus some predictions based on the rider list so far.
The weekend will follow the usual practice Saturday, race Sunday format. The fairly casual format at the Scottish Enduro Series events will continue with open practice all day on Saturday to give riders plenty of riding opportunity.
Sunday racing will go ahead based on your selected start times when you sign on. Riding with your mates surely can’t get better, especially when you put 20 seconds into them… down one track.
What should you expect on the day?
Last year there was 1800m of climbing at the Scottish Enduro Series at Innerleithen. That’s not a jog in the park… This equated to over 20 minutes (this time is for the fastest riders remember) of racing. There’s just enough time to get some last minute training in. Things will be pretty similar this year. With the event doubling up as a SES round and the Continental Enduro Series it wouldn’t be right not to have a huge day in the saddle.
Tracks will be spread out around the valley and incorporate a few of the classics and some steep trails as well. Probably wise to get some fresh rubber on. I’ll be opting for some Goodyear Newton STs.
Who’s Racing? Who do you need to watch out for?
We’ll hopefully the locals such as Mark Scott will be racing. Lewis Buchanan will be sitting out due to injury as well but will be helping out around the paddocks, sadly Ruaridh Cunningham is out of action just now but wishing him healing vibes.
This leaves the likes of Christo Gallagher to make his mark as well as riders such as Ben Balfour who put in an outstanding performance at the Vallelujah race earlier this year. Some Elite riders will also be travelling from various nations such as Milan Mysik who’s bound to want a strong result. Will we see round 1 winner Robin Wallner on the start sheet? Let’s hope so. My prediction though is that if Mark Scott makes the start line he’ll be hard to beat on home turf.
There’s a healthy female entry list as well. Local Jess Stone has had some strong results of late and will be putting some home advantage to good use I’m sure. Louise Ferguson, who’s also had some podium action this year, will be challenging for the top spot as well.
Polly Henderson could be a rider to watch, not just at this race but in the future. She’s just off the back of winning the U21 British Nation Enduro Series round in The Lakes (No Fuss host the next in Kinlochleven later in the year) where she put in over 1 minute to the next closest female rider. Impressive.
Jess Stone gets my bet for the win right now. Let us know if we should be watching out for anyone else on our Facebook page.