Enduro racing, as the name suggests is a sport that requires a strong mind set as the terrain travelled can be very tight and twisty threading yourself between trees or travelling at speed along a forest road or wrestling your dirt bike through bottomless peat bogs, maybe struggling up a seemingly impossible hill that goes on forever or plunging downhill where the back wheel is hell bent on overtaking the front, all of which can happen inside the first half-hour of an event that can last all day, two days or all week.
How does enduro work ?
The object of the enduro is as follows. Lets say you have a 200 mile course, either multi lap or single lap, with 8 – 10 time check points along the way. At the start of the day your bike is scrutineered and then parked in a closed control away from the riders, you are only allowed to collect your enduro bike 10 minutes before your start time. Next you get from the organizers a list of all the times you need to be at each checkpoint, you then add these to your designated start time and this is the time you need to be at each checkpoint during the event, for example, lets say your start time is 9-00 am and the first check has a 35 minute time allowance, you should arrive at the first check at 9-35, the next check has a 20 minute time allowance therefore you should arrive at check 2 at 9-55 and so on. For every minute you arrive late a penalty of 60 points is awarded against you, so for example, if you arrived at check 2 at 9-57, you have already lost 120 points AND you have to adjust all of your other ETA’s to accommodate the lost time. On top of all that, interspersed along the way you will encounter special tests within the course that are timed usually in the form of a motocross type going or a cross country dash. You will forfeit 60 points per minute taken. Oh by the way, if you think you can claw back time by speeding on a road section on your enduro bike, think again because you will incure 60 points per minute for clocking in too early.
If you finally arrive at the last check-point 61 minutes late on adjusted time, you are deemed a non finisher on account of the fact that you ” houred out” as they say.
Another peculiarity of this dirt bike enduro sport is the fact that only the rider can make repairs to his/her machine with the tools they carry, usually in a tool bag ( bum bag ) that is worn around the waist, any assistance from their crew can mean expulsion from the event, the only assistance a crew can give is topping up with fuel, oil, water ( in the radiators ) and air in the tyres if they have been changed at the end of the day of a multi- day event.
What reward does the enduro rider get, apart from a very dirty dirt bike?
When all said and done, the rider with the fewest points against him/her is the over-all winner. There are usually class winners as well as gold medals given to those who finished within 5% of the winners total and silver medals given to those that finish within 65% of the winners total. All other finishers receive a bronze medal.
Another form of enduro is a race called hare “n” hounds which is similar to a motocross in as much as it is on a closed circuit which must be continually lapped, but the main difference is the rider must stop at the end of each lap to register their progress and to get as many laps registered in the allotted time, usually 3-4 hours the winner being the one with the most registered laps. This type of enduro, particularly in the UK, cater for solo motorcycles of all engine capacity, either trials,motocross or enduro. They also have classes for outfits (sidecars) and quads
And finally on the subject of dirt bike racing, we have the Rally Raids which are VERY long distance the most famous and well known being the Paris-Dakar. This event originally started from (yes you’ve guessed it) Paris in France and worked it’s way south into the African continent winding it’s way through some of the most demanding and rugged terrain in the world, and finally after 14 days, with only one rest day, finishing at the Lac d`Rose on the western coastal town of Dakar.
Each days enduro consists of a cross country ride to a special test or stage of anything between 100-200 miles that is timed. The riders have to rely on satellite positioning to find their way through the unmarked deserts etc. Again the rider with the fewest time penalties wins, Sadly, due to the arduous nature of the event, many riders have lost their lives doing what they loved to do best.
In the last couple of years, due to the unrest in parts of Africa, the “Dakar Enduro” has moved to South America where it has been heralded as a great success.