The One Industries Mini Enduro just made it’s welcome return to the fantastic venue of The Forest of Dean (UK). The event (as ever) was officially a one-day affair, with the four short stages to be practiced Sunday morning, and then raced from 12-noon onwards. Many, myself included, opted to go for the two day option of ‘unofficial’ practice all day Saturday followed by less practice and a more relaxed affair the following day.

Off-piste, off-camber roots and lots of fun was the order of the weekend.
Off-piste, off-camber roots and lots of fun was the order of the weekend.

I’d made a very unusual solo trip down, it’s so rare to not have a mate in the van with me, although I did have my four-legged friends to keep me company. I was pretty excited, as I arrived, one because this is one of my favored venues and two because this was my first try out of the new Enduro Mag full awning race set-up. It was time we started to make more of our presence felt at the UK races, so it was with a great sense of pride that my mate Coynie and I set up our race area regalia bang in the middle of the pits.

The quiet before the storm, our set-up during Saturday's practice.
The quiet before the storm, our set-up during Saturday’s practice.

All during the week the weather had been forecast to be a piss-fest, so mud tyres were packed ready for the big change. Saturday itself was warm and sunny, so need for the big rubber nobbles thankfully, as Coynie (recently converted to enduro racing) and myself hit the trails to get a full day’s practice. The great thing about the all-day Saturday’s practice is just how long you can ride for, spending ages on each stage. We did stages 1 & 2, then after a big lunch break we were out till 6pm just having fun, it didn’t really feel like practice, just two mates messing about on bikes, exactly how it should be.


Stages had been changed a bit from the usual, with Charlie Williams on the trail creation as usual, but stage one was definitely the riders favorite; fast, rooty, flowy and off-piste. A few went down on stage one, with the roots on the lower part catching them out, sending them face planting into the soil; Airshot’s Charles Jones being one of their victims. Stage two was a tad more pedaly at the top on the off-piste bits, then flat out down the stone trail-centre part called ‘the corkscrew’, following this was a fast blast through the larger trees of the old part of the forest. Stage three was great fun too, more peaty rooty stuff, sending riders out mid-way onto a loose fire-road. I tried to hit the fire-road pinned, the front wheel washed and the hard stone really did bite me, so much so I needed a good five minutes sat down waiting for the bruise pain to subside! After the fire-road was a nasty short climb into some very off-piste unused track, then back down the big open final drifty turns of the last few corners. Stage four was the one that got the non-pedallers bitching, the first half was flat and had some climbs too, all single-track and grueling. The second half of stage four was a fast and balls-out quad track, just pin it to win it stuff till the end.

Ladies podium.
Ladies podium.

We kipped on site after a pub meal, Coynie in his motor and me in the back of the van. I had such a shit night’s sleep, my big raw meat looking bruised hip was on the side I sleep on, so waking up was constant, made much more annoying by the sound of the rain pitter pattering on the van roof for the first few hours. Luckily the wet stuff had well and truly done-one by the morning, as other mates and all the one-day competitors arrived; by race time it had all but dried out. It was back to fast rolling and grippy, suiting my High Roller 2 – front & Rock Razor – rear combination I was trying for the first time. Coynie and I headed up and managed a blast on one and two but both were feeling quite tired after maybe over-practicing the previous day, Coop had got there real early, and after opting for the one-day practice/race he was out on his own, pinning it round to get the trails memorized.

Racing was soon underway, as we all turned up timing chips fitted to forks and did our thing throughout the stages. I had my normal thing of feeling tired and wooden on the first two stages, riding nowhere near as good as in practice, but better on the last two. The day was great fun, real small transitions made even more enjoyable by the usual catch up with the mates you only tend to see at the races, banter was a must. I managed my ominous Mini Enduro Freddy fourth, but our own fast test bike blaster Andrew Cooper took 2nd in the Elites, nice one Coop!

There's me pretending to be Coop in the Elite podium!
There’s me pretending to be Coop in the Elite podium!


Category winners were E-bikes – Paul Tett (Race co cycles/Ebike Power) Grand Vets – Neil Small, Women – Maddy Brown (Pedalabikeaway) Hardtail – Tobius Pantling (Orange) Under 18 – Jack Sowden (Bad Ass Bikes/Intense) Vets – Chris Blackmore (Bike Motion) Masters – Gareth Hopkins (Team Skene) Seniors – Lewis Day (Drover Cycles) Elite – 1st Mike Grey (NS Bikes) 2nd Andrew Cooper (Enduro Mag Trail Team) 3rd Andrew Titley (Bad Ass Bikes/Intense)


Words: Jim Buchanan Pics: Craig Hinch

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