Well here we are 2015 race season is underway. 320 riders turned up for the first round of the PMBA Enduro series at Gisburn Forest. Four stages and an 8 mile loop awaited the competitors; many of the riders turned up on Saturday to get some practice in for the Sunday race, lovely sunny weather and great riding conditions, the stages were running fast and smooth. Race day Sunday was a total different story heavy rain had come in overnight and made things very slick under foot, Mudhugger mudguards and Onza mud tyres were hastily fitted ready for the start.

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The first stage was thirty seconds out of the carpark so a good warm up on the fire roads was essential. I was riding with the two young guns from TwoTwo Gravity racing, Matt Stuttard & Nial Oxley, I tagged along and warmed up as they did.

Stage One – Snake. The red run that runs you down towards Stocks reservoir. Fast flowing bends on hard packed ground with a lot of peddling between corners, this got the heart rate up and the lungs feeling like they were on fire. Just over two minutes of hard flog and stage one was done.

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Stage Two – LoaMUDaeddon. This stage was totally different; Kev had put a lot of time and effort cutting a new line in through the woods. This was a great run on Saturday but with the rain overnight had turned a section lower down into a bog-fest, fading light also made it difficult to hit your lines. The further you got into the stage things only got worse, large holes filled up with water and mud stopping you dead in your tracks. I decided to jump off the bike at one point and run with it, I think I did the 100 meters dash in about 12 seconds flat carrying the bike. I don’t think anyone made it through this stage clean, all three of us came out covered head to toe in mud as we had hit the floor at some point.

Difficult to hold your line here!
Difficult to hold your line here!

Stage Three – Home Baked. The run down Home Baked had a twist near the end. This stage started off fast and flowing, it was taped in such a way that allowed the experienced riders to take a more direct line hopping over fallen logs and roots. The course then turned sharp left back into the woods where large roots and divots were waiting to grab your front wheel. Hard work again, but enjoyable if you got it right.

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Stage Four – Gas to Flat. Started out at the top of the DH track, two large drop offs then a tight right hand corner, this was the meeting point for the photographers (some great action captured here). Further down saw a large off-camber section, in the morning practice many of the top riders were cutting straight across here “great to watch” but after 320 riders had road it, it turned into a mud bank and caught many competitors out, Matt and Nial didn’t deviate from their morning line, they hit it flat out with no problems. Just a final burst of effort was now needed to reach the finish, crossing the line feeling tired but jubilant at the same time.

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It was a fifteen minute ride back to the car park where we handed in our dibbers; this instantly gave you your stage time, overall time and overall position in your category. All three of us had massive smiles on our faces, Matt was first in Pro Elite, Nial first in Junior and myself first in G-Vet, doesn’t get much better than that!!!

A big shout to Escape Bike Shop & the series sponsors for supplying great prizes for all categories and being on hand to repair bikes all weekend.


Good times were had by all, PMBA put on a laid back approach to racing, in which you can ride with your mates or family members all day having fun and enjoying the friendly atmosphere.


Can’t wait for the next round, see you all at Grizedale 26th April – BRING IT ON!!!

Words: Howard Stuttard Photos: Nick Moor

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