One month ago we were at Bike Park Wales for Round 2 - Mini Enduro at Bike Park Wales. This weekend we returned to the Mash Up format for round 3 of the Haibike Welsh Gravity Enduro® Series at Cwmcarn near Newport, South Wales. The race was another sell out with 300 riders ready to send their bodies and steeds down the 3 stages or if you were on an E-bike down 3 and up 1! Cwmcarn has always been a favourite of mine and many a rider. For this round we would be using the Cafall side of the hill, totally different in feel to the Twrch side with mainly hand cut trails and a decidedly natural feel to the stages.
Bird Cycleworks Stage 1: Heartbreak ridge into Riddler was the "pedally" one of the day and a fierce headwind didn't help matters. Starting in the shelter of the trees you were soon into the tangled log infested trail of Heartbreak Ridge which twisted, turned and dropped its way down into the first and only sprint of the day, The headwind was strong enough that Veteran Jess Gough was heard to say "I saw the grass growing" as he battled the onslaught.
Not aero but in the spirit of Enduro.
Once back in the trees the trail opened up. Careful line choice was key here to keep your speed!... just as you got your breath back there was a short sharp climb! Breathe! all down hill from here and with the MX gates removed it was straight into "Riddler" a swoopy, bermy and pumpy trail all the way to the finish.
The Mountain Bike Chalet Stage 2: A super short 2 minute transition and you were at stage 2 "Powderhouse" a sub 2 minute loamy fun stage that was repeated up to 6 times by some riders and thanks to the work of the Cwmcarn Trail Crew and PS Cycles held up very well with the fastest times coming at the end of the day! The busiest stage of the day.
Despite the weather, it was smiles all around and The Bike Doctor team were here in force
Bird Cycleworks Stage 3: "Pedalhounds" an old skool Dh stage from back in the day that was the riders favourite, It had everything! Roots, drops, Jumps, loam and fast open rocky sections, I wish all stages could be this good. For a "Trail Centre" stage it defies riders perceptions with 75% being totally hand cut natural trail.
Tracy Moseley on her way to another Elite Enduro win .
Leon Rosser has the series sewn up with 3 out of 3 wins for the series.
Ajay Jones with another 3rd place on the day.
Pedalhounds stage 3 has everything you could wish for from a Gravity Enduro stage.
So after 5 hours of live times and multiple runs completed it was time for the podiums!
Bird Cycleworks Elite men: 1st Leon Rosser 2nd: Rowan Sorrell 3rd: Ajay Jones.
Leon has won the series with a round to go but still needs to race the final round.
Progreen MTB Elite Women: 1st: Tracy Moseley 2nd: Ella Conolly 3rd: Evie Richards.
Nice to see 2 World Champions on the podium Evie Richards was the 2016 u23 Cyclocross World Champion.
Haibike E-bike: 1st: Dave Pickering 2nd: John Morgan 3rd: Tom Hicks.
Hope Junior Men: 1st: Evan Davies 2nd: Adam Campbell 3rd: Ben Townsend.
Bird Junior Women: 1st: Hattie Harnden 2nd: Meg James 3rd: Caja Parkes.
Pedalabikeaway Senior Men: 1st: Cai Grocott 2nd: Kyle Fletcher 3rd: Lewis Bradley.
Progreen MTB Veteran Men: 1st: Carl Jennings 2nd: Chris Blackmore 3rd: Jess Gough " I can see the grass growing".
Progreen MTB Grand Veteran Men: 1st: John Cobb 2nd: Rich King 3rd: Mike Hodgson.
Mudhugger Master Men: 1st: Dan Pardesi 2nd: Andy Weames 3rd: Ryan Bevis.
Race Co Cycles Hardtail: 1st: Tomas Kupstys 2nd: Luke Machin 3rd: Mason Pritchard.
Bird Masters Women: 1st: Amy Thomas 2nd: Anna Cipullo 3rd: Elizabeth Gath.
Bird Senior Women: 1st: Alicia Hockin 2nd: Kelly Guy.
Bird Veteran Women: 1st Janet Clarke 2nd: Alison Frazer 3rd: Nicole Doughty . (Apologies the photo was too blurry)
36th place winner Matt Lakin taking home a brand new pair of FOX 36's #fox36th.
72nd pace winner Mark Everson winning a fully catered holiday to the Mountain Bike Chalet in Les Arcs.
Well! that was round 3 and with one round remaining at Eastridge on the 23rd of April it is all to play for.
Full results are HERE
Photos are HERE
Doc Ward Photography
Dave Price Photography
Massive thank you to all the marshals on the day, I've said it before and I'll say it again..."Without you there would be no race" with that in mind... If you want to get involved in a Gravity Enduro® race then come along and marshal! it's a fantastic way to meet like-minded people and spectate with the bonus of getting paid and lunch too! for more info email Charlie at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also huge thank you's to all our sponsors, Action Sports Timing, Natural Resource Wales and you the riders for supporting the series!
See you all at Eastridge for the Final...