After a wild opening round in Dunkeld and a short break, where was better for the second round of the Scottish Enduro Series to be held than Fort William, the ‘Outdoor Capital of the UK’ and home of British downhill which was always going to produce a scintillating race. Waking up on Saturday morning I had to have a double take out the window as blue skies and sun stretched their way over Cow Hill and Ben Nevis, was the weather actually going to play ball this weekend?! Almost…
Five stages taking in everything from the downhill track, the xc world champs track to the classic rut fest of Allt a’ Mhuilinn. Riders were tasked with a diverse variety of stages and terrain to race, but the real talking point of the weekend was the organiser’s decision to stick a large section of the red downhill track in, which required a rather hefty hike-a-bike mission across an open moor side and up a valley side. We all love a bit of an adventure though and it was largely well received once riders received their prize in the epic descent back to the finish area.
The Dudes of Hazard call Fort William home and the trio of Joe, Liam and Ferg were always going to be the boys to look out for on the stages and results sheets come Sunday evening. There were a few other contenders who could get a say in however, BMC’s new singing in Lewis Buchanan was a danger man having killed it in the two opening Enduro World Series Rounds whilst guys like Sam Flockhart, Ben Cathro, Gary Forrest and Chris Hutchens would have their eyes set firmly on the podium.
Sunday morning and race day. The weather had changed for the worse with winds picking up, temperatures dropping, and rain showers passing through. The rain wasn’t heavy enough to significantly change the stage conditions, perhaps making Stage 4 (Allt a’ Mhuilinn) a little greasier, but the top of world champs and the loose sections of gravel on the likes of the red tend to be a little grippier in the wet.
Meanwhile in the women’s, Fiona Beattie and Kirstin Moynihan were looking to use their knowledge to good use and were pinned out on track all weekend. When race day came around they were both right at the sharp end, but it was Eilidh Wells and Fiona trading stage wins before ultimately Eilidh proved too strong on the long final stage of the day. Great racing with the top three separated by only sixteen seconds after five stages!
Lewis Buchanan came out all guns blazing going 1st, 1st and 2nd in the opening three stages before he hit trouble and a serious mechanical took him out the game. No mech and chain for large sections, somehow Lewis still salvaged a 4th overall! Joe Barnes was always going to be the one to watch, these were his local woods and he didn’t disappoint taking the win and schooling the field on stage 4 by nearly 6 seconds.
A top weekend of racing was had by all with five really diverse stages and a crazy hike-a-bike mission across an open moor a valley side! Next up is Glenlivet in a couple of months, see you there!
Full results can be found on sportident.co.uk.
For more information visit the Scottish Enduro Series-Website.
Words & Photos: Ross Bell
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