A new UK series has just been announced for 2013, offering exciting Enduro racing in a more compact format. The new Mini Enduro series will be led by Chris Roberts, who has been organising DH, XC & 4X Mountain Bike Events for over 15 years. His experience is unquestionable; however it is his speciality for alternative events that he is famous for, pioneering Snow X, Urban downhill, Pump Track, 4X and Mini Downhill events that have since been introduced all around the world. In the past few years, Chris along with Scott Beaumont have been making the headlines through 4X racing, creating the Euro 4X Series and the new 4X ProTour – replacing the 4X World Series. We had a quick chat with Chris about the new format and how it differs from other events going on in 2013!
ENDURO: Your new Mini-Enduro series is already generating a lot of interest? What can riders expect from the new format?
CR: Mini Enduro is the new fun exciting way to race enduro on a mountain bike. It’s aimed at new riders to the sport and we also have the Pro am category for the more established racers. Our 661 Mini Downhill races have been running for the last 5 years, they are always very popular with a great friendly atmosphere we want to do the same with the Mini Enduro races. The stages are timed live just the same as our downhill races and we aim to give you the same great day out racing your bike.
ENDURO: What type of rider are you aiming the format towards?
CR: All sorts of riders, from complete novice to the hardened racer, which is why we have created the Pro-am category for the more experienced racers.
ENDURO: Will the event be run over weekends, with Saturday practice and Sunday racing, or are you going to make it really mini and run it in one day?
CR: The race will run on one day, it will be practice in the morning and racing in the afternoon, this may change depending on location but we want this to be turn up on Sunday and race.
ENDURO: Can you give us any clues on the locations for the events yet?
CR: Not yet, we have some cracking locations lined up but still contracts to sign. These range from bike parks to some super forests stages.
ENDURO: Effective timing is all important these days, what have you got planned?
CR: Live timing on each stage, it’s the same Tag Heuer Professional timing system we use for our downhill races. We will time riders down to 1/1000 of second so it should be more then up for the job! I think this will set the standard for timing enduro races in the future.
ENDURO: Will you be using the same format across all the events, same number of stages etc?
CR: It’s hard to say at the moment, 3 stages seems about the right number but it all depends on the locations and what’s possible with the terrain. Everyone needs to practice the stages first so we need to factor that into how far people ride in a day. This will be quite a full day of riding with practice and racing but nothing that the average rider cannot do.
ENDURO: Are you planning on having a championship run over all the events?
CR: No this is about fun without the pressure of racing for series points, there is the UK Gravity Enduro series if you want to win a Championship.
ENDURO: Enduro seems set to explode in 2013, what is it that you think makes Enduro so popular in the UK?
CR: There are a lot of factors which are pushing enduro forward, trail centres popping up everywhere, the Uk gravity enduro series has shown there is a demand for racing Enduro and the development of bikes over the last few years where we now have bikes that can do pretty much anything. There are also a lot of old downhill racers who have done that and got the T Shirt who are now swapping the DH bikes for new Enduro bikes.
There is also the fact most people have a day job and need to go to work on Monday morning, where they would have raced DH in the past Enduro is seen as a much easier/safer option to race. The young kids will still be racing DH & 4X but for the older guys this looks like a much better option to race at the weekend and still go back to work on Monday morning.
Enduro: How are you finding getting sponsors on board for the series? Is the industry starting to believe in the future of Enduro?
CR: Yes there is interest in Enduro and that’s because it’s the media & industry baby at the moment, in effect a brand new market pretty much like it was with downhill 15 years ago.
Chris Roberts riding in Leogang