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Epic enduro racing, stunning scenery, amazing riding and superb food and drink; THE MERIDA EX ENDURO is a three-day enduro race that has all this and more, taking in some of the best riding the UK has to offer.
Renowned for a mix of superb but challenging riding and hospitality that’s second to none, the fifth instalment returned to the small village of Allerford, nestled amongst the rolling Exmoor hills and a superb location for riding and racing – followed by top notch relaxing.
While the racing action was tight, with epic battles between riders playing across the entire weekend of 23 timed special stages yet coming down to a few seconds between podium spots, rider skill and fitness sometimes played second fiddle to plain luck, but while the racing is important, it always plays second fiddle to the most important job of having a good time.
All riders need to do is turn up and then turn the pedals, with everything from breakfast to dinner laid on, all with plenty of lubrication on hand; Bristol Beer Factory for the riders and Fenwick’s for the bikes.
As the event kicked off on Friday afternoon, the British weather threw a bit of a curveball into the mix. Heavy rain the evening before meant that the opening stages provided an extra layer of difficulty in the form of wet roots and slick mud, with the lack of grip proving an eye opener.
The riders gamely battled on through the opening six daytime stages, producing some tight racing straight from the off, despite the limited traction. The conditions steadily improved, with the sixth and most technical stage even providing some dusty loam to get tyres stuck into.
That was just as well, because when the daylight faded, the fun didn’t thanks to the inaugural EXPOSURE LIGHTS Night Stages, where the darkness put a fresh spin on ‘blind’ enduro racing before everyone got stuck into a big BBQ.
As day broke on day two, riders were greeted with blue skies and a promising start to day two, with the promise o
Credit: MERIDA BIKES