Race Report & Video: Hope PMBA Enduro Series - Llangollen5 May 2022 | By billy1979
It was back to Wales and one of the 3 nations that PMBA Enduro covers during their race seasons, England, Scotland and Wales. The venue was the awesome One Giant Leap at Llangollen. You’ll have to excuse me here, but as a rather poor rider myself, I always find the approach to this venue a tad on the intimidating side. For me, it’s like, “how the hell can people ride down a hillside this steep?” and then on top of that at race pace.
Llangollen is normally a downhill race venue, but Kev and his team, plus the team at one Giant leap put in sections that traverse the hillside giving a little respite from the steep sections, and force a little pedalling in the name of enduro. This is one hell of a gravity style event, with steep berms, drops and jumps literally everywhere. There’s always a characteristic smell of burning brakes at the bottom of the stages. This is always an eventful race and never disappoints.
This weekend was a mash-up format. 3 Stages that could be raced in any order as many times as you could fit in between 9.30am and 4.30pm. With the race HQ just at the bottom of the hill and camping also there, riders could stop off and refuel on carbs and liquid throughout the day. Also available were Vittoria tyres and Llangollens local MTB bike shop Bear Trax; who were kept busy throughout the weekend giving tech support. Furthermore, it gave riders the opportunity to check the live timing throughout the day and potentially better their times. On Saturday there was a chance to ride the stages ahead of the race with a small fee that enabled there to be medics and marshals on site to help and aid any riders.
The 3 stages were Ride the Lightning, which started lower down the push uphill. This stage had fast flow with some tricky rooty sections and into the woods with bluebells.
The middle stage was Einherjar which started at the top of the hill next to stage 3. This one started quite mellow traversing the top of the hill, then boom, it went vertically down the hill starting with carnage corner and into steep and tight berms, again mellowing out a little by traversing the hill and into the wooded area.
Finally stage 3 starting again at the very top of the hill didn’t give riders much warm-up before you were hitting freshly refreshed jumps and gap jumps, then into super fast steep chutes and berms and finally traversing lower down the hill and into the finish arena.
I normally comment and report on the fastest overall riders in the men's and women's races. This is simply because the PMBA Enduro Series has 12 categories to get through including a hardtail category and the first top 5 riders in each category. That would make for a very lengthy write-up. As always the complete set of results can be viewed on the hub of all things mountain biking Roots and Rain.
So the fastest woman on the day, remembering that the fastest stage times recorded throughout the day are the ones that counted, was Corrina Brisbourne 21-34 (F) in a staggering 9:02.74 and the second fastest went to Emily Ashwood 21-34 (F) in 9:55.37. The third fastest went to the young upcoming legend Katy Katy Kaos McGowan U16 (F) in 9:58.30. In total it was a pretty good turn out for the women with 26 competing on the day.
The men's race was a fiercely closely fought race with barely 60 seconds separating the top 50 fastest riders! The fastest rider of the day went to Riley Scott (2-29) in an incredible 7:17.02 taking on stage 1 three times, stage 2 twice and stage 3 once. Second fastest of the day went to Joshua Brazier (U21) in 7:28.50 and third fastest went to Sam Shucksmith (30-39) bringing in his experience and challenging hard in 7:33.31. A big shout out to James Hughes (40-49) and the only vet to break into the top 40 fastest riders taking 5th fastest of the day in 7:37.36. Also kudus to Omer Human (U18) from Israel, who won his category in his first taste of British racing. He is here warming up for the first round of the world series when EWS hits Scotland in a month.
Next up for the PMBA will be a return to Llangollen and One Giant Leap for a full-on 2 day event and 5 stage epic. This race will take place on 13th and 14th August and is a round of the British National Enduro Series (BNES).
Words and Photos: Jerry Tatton AKA JWDTphotography
Video: Ben Gerrish - HDDN Media