Video & Report: PMBA Enduro 2021 - Graythwaite

1 June 2021  |  

After what feels like an interminable wait, welcome to the first race report for the PMBA Enduro Series in 2021, also being the first round of the British National Enduro Series and an EWS qualifier. With huge expectations on the organisers' shoulders, in what has been an incredibly challenging time (I refuse to say the "C" word), did the weekend live up to the expectations? Did "The Epic" deliver? Read on.

PMBA Enduro 2021

2021 has seen record numbers racing at Graythwaite. Organisers still find themselves being forced to use territory and venues away from Forestry England outside of test events. Graythwaite Estate provides the perfect location at the south western side of Windermere in the Lake District, it's a privately owned estate with ample space for camping and 5000 acres of private forest for the stages. For the second year in a row, the social side had to be toned down a little, with no race arena or brands and company stalls available. Who remembers the earlier events and the KS Drop into the finish arena? These times will surely return, but the restrictions at the moment did not deter a record number of over 600 riders.

This year was a huge contrast to last years September Graythwaite round, the only round for the PMBA Enduro Series. Kev and his dedicated team of trail builders have been incredibly busy repairing, creating and calming down the stages. Then you can add this to the completely contrasting weather over the weekend and it was game on for a mega weekend of racing. This is not to say this was an easy weekend in the saddle, far from it. With an approximate 14 mile loop and over 3000 feet of altitude gained and lost its called "the epic" for a reason. For the fastest riders this was approximately 12 minutes of racing, middle of the pack about 16 minutes and the less rapid of racers 21 minutes. This venue is private land and therefore not accessible through the year when no races are taking place, so the stages feel raw and technical with fresh loam, rocks, roots, steep in places and hard on the pedals uphill sprints. This is a World Enduro Series qualifier for a reason.

PMBA Enduro 2021

This year also saw many elite/world class and international riders come and compete, and boy did that make for some incredible racing. The first top 20 places were only separated by 60 seconds! The world rankings are now looking tasty following on from this race. Greg Callaghan's win for 125 points puts him 15th, and Reece Langhorn 25th. While Bex Baraona ends up 10th with her win and a total of 8 women end up in the top 25 from the weekends points. In the Mens U21s Jayden Randell lands 10th with his win, with Alex Storr 21st. Womens U21 2nd place and PMBA Enduro ambassador Polly Henderson Racing now sits in 10th with U21 winner Emily doing her first enduro outside the Tweed Valley ineligible for points.
In the masters Ian Austermuhle goes 11th after his win, James Hughes 16th and Mat Wright 20th while Tracey Moseley goes 3rd after her Masters win.

So Greg Callaghan (30-39) took an outstanding win in 11:56.20 across the 6 stages. 21.45 seconds behind him was an outstanding effort from Jayden Randell (U21) and winning his category, Jayden also took the fastest time on stage 3! And third fastest was Reece Langhorn (30-39) in 12:19.48.

PMBA Gravity Enduro 2021

The women's race was competed by a stacked field of 40 women and Bex Baraona 21-34 (F) put in another outstanding performance taking the fastest time of the day in 13:41.99 and beating 90% of all other racers! Close behind her was Chloe Taylor 21-34 (F) in 14:26.41 and the third fastest went to Tracy Moseley 35+ (F) in 14:31.04. That was some close racing on the Sunday for sure. An absolute shout out to the amazing Katy McGowan U16 (F) who is in fact only 11 years old taking the 15th fastest woman on the day out of 40, mixing it with one of the most stacked women's fields we've ever seen outside of an EWS. The future is bright for the sport for sure!

For a full rundown of the results head over to roots and rain, or EWS for positions in those slightly different categories

U15 Boys
1st - Freddie Dixon
2nd - Harry Thorpe
3rd - Adam Garside
4th - Jack Shuttleworth
5th - Oliver Andrews

U18 Boys
1st - Dominic Platt
2nd - Michael Tait
3rd - Henry STEPHENSON
4th - Dougie Bishop
5th - Tom Campana

U21 Men
1st - Jayden Randell
2nd - Alexander Storr
3rd - Jake Ebdon
4th - Josh Nobble
5th - Daniel Cope

21-29 Men
1st - Kelan Grant
2nd - Christopher Gallagher
3rd - Archie Box
4th - Lewis Ranger
5th - Luke Williams

30-39 Men
1st - Greg Callaghan
2nd - Reece Langhorn
3rd - Sam Shucksmith
4th - Joe Smith
5th - Adam Brayton

40-49 Men
1st - Ian Austermuhle
2nd - James Hughes
3rd - Mat Wright
4th - Chris Pearson
5th - Leon Rosser

50+ Men
1st - Dan Bishop
2nd - Jonathan Tarr
3rd - Joe Ward
4th - Darren Howarth
5th - Richard Barrett

U16 Girls
1st - Katy McGowan

U21 Women
1st - Emily Carrick-Anderson
2nd - Polly Henderson
3rd - Harriet Harnden
4th - Amber Hull

21-34 Women
1st - Bex Baraona
2nd - Chloe Taylor
3rd - Jess Stone
4th - Martha Gill
5th - Emily Ashwood

35+ Women
1st - Tracy Moseley
2nd - Becky Cook
3rd - Emma Birtles
4th - Katy Sunter
5th - Maxine Filby

So the PMBA Enduro Series has kicked off their year with a bang. Even though this is a very challenging race, the buzz and euphoria from the event is off the scale. With great work done by Kev and the crew, the trails have been "slightly" tamed from previous years. The weather was certainly very different and challenging for a different reason. Blistering heat on the top of stage 5 and 6, mostly dry trails with the exception of some greasy roots and slimy rocks. For more information on upcoming PMBA races head over to their Facebook pages or their official website. The next planned races are Llangollen and then Kirroughtree, but keep checking back for updates, especially due to the chaos that has occurred over the last 18 months or so.

Environmental impact

PMBA Enduro have been enacting some more environmentally friendly ways of working, and this event saw a few great steps. Was this the first enduro event to be run on solar power? A 2kw solar array and 12kwh lithium storage powered the timing systems, one of the catering outlets fridges and coffee machines, as well as all the event essentials, like charging marshal radios and heating water for the marshal flasks. Even now the same solar system is powering several washing machine loads of marshal vests. Racers took hemp based string instead of single use plastic zip ties for the number boards, showing they care too. Two out of the six stages were marked with biodegradable plastic tape, and 1 other used hemp based paper tape down 1 side. Maybe these are only small steps, but they are in the right direction.

Words - Jerry Tatton (JWDTphotography) and Kev Duckworth
Photos - JWDTphotography
Video - HDDN Media - Ben Gerrish

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