Team Wideopenmag’s Chris Hutchens gives us his preview of the fourth round of the 2019 Scottish Enduro Series on his old stomping ground of Pitfichie.
Pitfichie is the most Northern enduro on the Scottish Enduro Series calendar and serves up an absolute delightful mixture of trails at the venue with a rich downhill race history.
The series heads there for the fourth round on the 27th/28th July and is due to be a belter with freshly groomed trails.
While this venue has held downhill races for years, fewer in recent years for some reason, enduro only took advantage of the trail network in 2017. After some scoping with the team from No Fuss Events I convinced them it would be a great location for a race and the large riding scene in the North East would rally behind it. With some time on the hill helping to prepare the venue I’ll comfortably say that this was one of the stand out events that year. Smiles all round after some tantalising stages.
The venue is so different from the last round in Kinlochleven where Joe Barnes took the Elite men’s race. I didn’t have any luck and enjoyed a 10 hour drive South after racing for 30 seconds. Check out my report here.
Pitfechie is, obviously, bang on top of a huge lump of granite near the small village of Moneymusk. The various hills that the trails span across have varying thicknesses of soil on top of the rock. Don’t worry though, while Radon (the radioactive isotope, not the bike brand) might be present you should be fine. The rock pops through onto the trail a lot with many of the tracks littered with slabs and many sharp edges. This place can bite. Pack your tyre defenders.
Postcode: AB51 7HH (This will take you to Monymusk)
Closest Town: Inverurie
Best Nightlife: Aberdeen can be a good night out for the granite enthusiast.
The last few years have seen six stages feature with upwards of 13 minutes of racing. It’s a sizable day out and you’ll know you’ve had to pedal, especially after the Devils Staircase descent. This is a real leg burner of a trail however balances things out with the other fast and in places technical stages.
Over the last few months I’ve been keeping an eye on the work of the Aberdeenshire Trail Association. They’ve been busy, especially on Saturdays. With a load of work going in to improve the trails I’m sure the race on the 28th of July will enjoy some of the graft of the volunteers. Thanks in advance.
While there’s likely to be some touch ups to the trails I guess that some of the same tracks will remain for 2019. Check out the videos from the last few years.
The trails at Pitfichie are generally pretty narrow, especially on Green hill where the track will meander through the heather before dropping into some steeper sections to finish. The tracks away from the DH trails are more earthy and means there’s a little more grip around. You can see the team have been digging in berms here over recent weeks.
On the DH tracks there’s loads of scope to mix the trail up here depending on the taping. What you can guarantee to find is sniper rocks. You’re likely to catch a pedal or suffer a puncture on this side of the year so choose your tyres carefully. A tyre insert isn’t a bad idea either.
The most physical track will need you to keep a solid flow from top to bottom but also crank hard on the pedals. Last minute training is advised.
So which big names will be at Pitfichie?
Well I know a certain Miss Katy Winton will be heading North to race after a trip to Norway. It’s great to see one of Scotland most accomplished female riders getting behind the regional series.
Previous winner and factory rider Lewis Buchannan is back from injury and getting back up to speed. This will be a great place for him to unleash the speed.
Wideopenmag’s own Christo Gallagher won’t be present after suffering an ankle injury in Switzerland last week.
Still not sure whether to race?
With only a week and a half to go, the long range forecast predicting unusually high temperatures in the area (high teens) and amazing trails guaranteed then get yourself on the start list.