Video & Race Report - Gisburn Forest PMBA Grassroots Enduro Weekender6 April 2022 | By billy1979
Last weekend saw the start of the PMBA Enduro Series with an opener at Gisburn Forest. It's been 3 years since they entertained the racers at this venue and it was clear people wanted to return here, incredibly the race sold out in minutes when it went live on SiEntries. Gisburn is described as the grassroots event within the series and this year taking in only official trail centre stages, with the main event on Sunday letting riders race down the downhill tracks. Gisburn itself is located in the beautiful Bowland fells in North Lancashire and forms part of the Super 6 trail centres in Northern England, England's answer to the 7 Stanes in Scotland. With Gisburn, Hamsterley, Whinlatter, Chopwell, Grizedale and Kielder.
For the PMBA Enduro Series, this was no ordinary weekend though. They put on 3 races throughout the weekend as part of their #EnduroForAll aims. This was the evolution of the U10's event ran in 2019 at Kirroughtree and Filling the gap that the loss of the Hopetech Women's Enduro's that ran in 2017-9. A 3 stage Womens and 8-16 kids race on the Saturday as well as an U10s race that was free to enter. The latter consisted of a single stage along a trail called 27 Berms, and saw U10s racing on balance bikes to full blown full suspension rigs.
The atmosphere at the U10s race was utterly amazing. It's not the first time the PMBA Enduro Series has hosted an U10s race, and I very much doubt it will be the last. If you just watched the video above it probably melted your heart. It was a sight to behold, seeing the children shredding down the trail on their balance bikes, with parents desperately trying to keep up running behind. There were 101 U10s racing this event, and it's superb to see the PMBA Enduro Series supporting such a race, for this is where the future of the sport lies I suppose.
The women and kids race saw 129 women racing on the day with 90 boys racing in U11s-U16s. This race was smaller than the main event on the Sunday and followed in the footsteps of the amazing Hopetech Women's race from previous years that the PMBA Enduro Series had run. This was slightly different in that it ran the same 3 stages but the format was a mash up. No morning practice, then racing in the afternoon, but an all day race where you could ride in any order as many times as your legs would let you. Mash ups do often split the racers opinions, some loving them others not so much. But with this format, if you make a mistake and lose time, then you can just head back up and try again, ideal for a grassroots event with so many novices.
The overall fastest woman of the day went to current National Champ Jess Stone 21-34 (F) in a superb 6:21.02. Second fastest woman and hot on Jess's heels was Katy Kaos McGowan U16 (F) in 6:58.52 followed by third place Madeline Moorhouse Smith U16 (F) in 7:10.29. Jess took the overall 3rd fastest time of the day, only pipped by 2 other male U16s. Also a shout out to Katy for breaking into the top ten overall fastest of the day coming in at 8th fastest, is there no stopping this girl?
The U16 year olds boys race was a hotly contested affair. The top fastest 20 times went to the U16s with the exception of 3 U13s. The fastest male of the day went to Olive Andrews (U16) in 6:07.09, with Orin Thomas (U16) in second with 6:20.78 and third fastest to Hayden Plotkin in 6:36.23. Less than 30 seconds separated these 3 across the 3 stages, some race! A huge shout out should go to PMBA Ambassador Sam Pilling (U13) for breaking into the top 10 and coming in at 9th fastest of the day. Also to Woody Clayton (U13) and Alfie Barden (U13) for breaking into the top 20 fastest.
The main event was the same mashup format but across 5 stages. If you're familiar with Gisburn Forest, these were stage 1 Home Baked, stage 2 Long Way Down, stage 3 Hull Gully, stage 4 the Downhill Line and finally stage 5 the Hope Line. A mix of red and black graded trail centres that are within the infamous figure of 8 cycle route.
The main event on the Sunday was round 1 of the PMBA Enduro Series' races which runs across the three nations, the only enduro race series that covers England, Wales and Scotland. This was the "grassroots" event of the series and therefore stuck to the familiar trail centre areas. Previously there's been "off piste" sections, but Gisburn had also seen significant storm damage over the winter.
276 riders competed in the Sunday main event with many women and U16 kids competing in both days. The fastest overall male of the day was the always consistent and super fast veteran (sorry Ian, I had to get that in) Ian Austermuhle (40-49) and the only man to break under the 8 minutes mark in 7:59.50. Second fastest of the day went to Michael Tait (U21) in 8:07.50 and third fastest went to Liam Clement in 8:11.10. That was one hot race with just 11 seconds between the top 3 riders.
I especially loved the mash up set up for this time of year; It makes it for a more social day out and no queues waiting in the cold ! The tracks were brilliant and many thanks to all the Marshalls ! - Jess Stone
The Women's race overall top riders had a familiar feel to Saturday, with Jess Stone 21-34 (F) and Katy McGowan U16 (F) hitting the top spots in 8:53.60 and 9:52.90 respectively. Third fastest woman went to Emily Smith 21-34 (F) in 10:11.40. There's always far too many riders to give a well earned shout out in these reports, but to have a look at the full results and see how you fared against the others, head over to roots and rain.
For the Saturday results head here and for the Sunday results head here.
That's a wrap for this report. Talk about a fully committed race weekend from the organiser Kev Duckworth. Not just the one day Enduro race but 3 races totalling 650 entries. It's hugely satisfying to see organisers providing and promoting the younger generations into this type of racing scene, for these are the future of this sport and so far the PMBA Enduro Series has seen some significantly good riders taking on the world stage.
To find out more about the races head over to their Facebook. For more specific information, news and all sorts head over to their website www.pmbaenduro.co.uk . Next up is another epic mash up race at One Giant Leap at Llangollen on 1st May 2022. This one is now sold out, so keep your eyes peeled for entries from other riders becoming available. Sadly the Graythwaite and EWS qualifier has had to be cancelled due to extensive storm damage that has taken out many of the trails, and despite a huge amount of effort and support from the forestry team there, it simply cannot run now.
Trails in Article
Gisburn Trail Centre in the North East corner of Lancashire with almost 30km of high quality mountain bike trails and singletrack with amazing panoramic views.