Race Report & Video: Hope PMBA Enduro Series Kirroughtree8 September 2021 | By billy1979
Well that's a wrap for the PMBA Enduro Series for 2021, and what a fantastic finale they had at Kirroughtree. The only Enduro series that offers races across three nations, England, Scotland and Wales. Kirroughtree, one of the 7 Stanes, is the perfect setting to bring the family and encourage a weekend of riding and racing. With superb facilities like the café and the amazing Breakpad bike shop, showers and dark skies that make you feel like you are in outer space, it really is a race not to miss!
2021 saw one of the biggest turn outs of racers being entertained by the PMBA Enduro Series, with a big turn out women racing and of younger riders. In fact everywhere you looked there were chaperone riders escorting the 11yrs-16yrs old category, since the PMBA Enduro Series is a strong supporter of the young up and coming riders. A whole third of the field were born in the 2000's and 2/3rd's of them were under 16 year old on event day.
Many good family stories from the PMBA Enduro series. In 2019 Matt started riding the events with his son Adam, Younger brother Danny was 3rd in the Kirroughtree kids race in 2019, but this year was just old enough to race the main event having turned 11 a couple of months ago. Great to see families racing enduro's together, and Danny was the youngest on the hill at the weekend.
Top event everyone we rode with loved every minute of it - Matty Garside
Kirroughtree is famed for being a more grass routes race the more competitive riders can still get their teeth into. The local trail crew work hard at creating the trails and year on year the series has something new and fresh to use, again famed for the fresh loam and rocky bedrock. Stages 2 and 4 were particularly ones to look out for.
Stage 1: The big JC (Includes Big Trees)
Also known as “long loamy and steep”, certainly tested the riders pedalling, stamina and power. That classic Kirroughtree loam, plenty of roots and some short but immensely technical or steep bits to keep the riders on their toes.
Stage 2: Lost tourist
A whole new top section from even higher up the hill and finishing with the classic “chopper”, this brand new stage amazed the organiser how well the build team worked the elevation.
Stage 3: Doon hill
A classic PMBA Enduro stage mixing an off piste start and finish with a mid stage trail centre sprint over iconic bedrock features including my favourite photo rock.
Stage 4: Dragonfly
Another all new stage, fresh Kirroughtree loam no doubt hides some rooty goodness, tight and twisty fun. This one became more challenging as the day went on and the riders cut through the loam exposing hidden roots and rocks.
Stage 5: Snap Chat
So well known is the last stage that its probably known better to the locals as “Stage 5” than as “Snap Chat” Well ridden by the locals you needed to pace yourself at the start and pick your way through the massive rooty holes in the first 10% of the stage, then off the brakes and let rip. Lower bit is where it gets really steep, hold it together and send the #KSDrop before a few steep turns in a tight rut to the finish.
This weekends race was no ordinary Enduro though. The loop if ridden in order was a good 15 miles and approximately 1900ft of climbing this would be a tough day in the saddle to practice then race in the one day, so it was decided to run this as a mashup. Stages 1-5 could be ridden in any order as many times as the riders liked. Mess up a stage and you could loop round and try again. Many riders grouped the stages together, so started with stage 3 then onto 4 and 5, stop back at HQ for lunch and carbs, then onto 1 and 2. So it wasn't uncommon for me to spot riders taking on the same stage more than once. If riders did this, then their fastest times went to their total time.
The weekend saw some incredible racing with a big turnout of riders, both women and men, plus a great turnout of younger riders too. Even though Kirroughtree is all about a family event and weekend, it was a physical and tough race with plenty of rocks and roots to wrestle the bike over, narrow trees and many uphill hard on the pedal sections.
The overall 3 fastest men put on a superb battle with barely 30 seconds separating them across the 5 stages. Local boy Josh Hurley (21-29) took the win with a stunning 11:28.35, next fastest of the day went to Matt Crewther (U21) in 11:55.00 and third fastest of the day went to David Houston (30-39) in 12:01.04. That was some tight racing for sure.
The women also turned up in force and put on an awesome race with the highly seasoned racer Jess Stone (21-34F) taking the win in style in an incredible 13:23.48, you could clearly see her experience going through the technical stages. Second place went to the youngest woman and local legend Katy McGowan (U16F) in 15:06.26 and third fastest went to Sian Dillon (21-34F) in 15:34.72. A big shout out to Kate Woodall and Emma Graham breaking into the top 10 fastest women in the 35+(F), who took 1st and 2nd fastest respectively in their category too.
I loved the mash-up format, though I only opted to redo one stage, it was mega to have the option to do them again and in any order. Tracks were very physical but incredibly fun! - Jess Stone
There’s so many highlights from the weekend, but to see 4 U16 women racing and 67 U18 men racing is certainly testament that the PMBA Enduro Series is a strong series at supporting the up and coming younger racers. I’d love to shout out many individuals, but simply cannot in these reports. To have a look at a full run down of the results and see where you placed head over to roots and rain, the hub for everything mountain biking.
So that’s it for 2021 and the PMBA Enduro Series. 3 very different races across 3 nations. We saw the Epic at Graythwaite, a challenging EWS qualifier and BNES round, followed by the Welsh downhill style mega gravity style even at One Giant Leap in Llangollen also an EWS qualifier and BNES round, and finally the infamous Kirroughtree round in Scotland, pedal, roots, loam, rocks and roost!
Already planning is in force for 2022, so keep your eyes peeled on the PMBA Enduro Series Facebook page and also their website. This Enduro Series is simply going from strength to strength.
Hope PMBA Enduro Series returns IN 2022
- Gisburn Forest 2/3rd April 2022
- Graythwaite 28/29th May 2022
- Llangollen 13/14th August 2022
- Kirroughtree 10/11th September 2022
- more rounds TBC
Big shout out to all the marshals and medics, the Breakpad Bike Shop and the amazing café at Kirroughtree. Finally (he’ll hate this!), but a big shout out to Kev Duckworth and a virtual round of applause for keeping these races alive through 2021, it cannot have been easy in these globally challenging times, on behalf of all the riders, without your efforts and your strong team, we wouldn’t be racing!
Finally massive thanks to Andy Cole for supplying some mega imagery to go with this report and Ben Gerrish for another banging video edit.