The first stop of the Big Mountain Enduro
race series presented by Specialized
kicked off this past weekend in historic Ironton, Missouri.
With hot and humid temps straddling the high 80s to mid 90s, it was an absolute scorcher of a weekend on and off track.
BME fired off the weekend from the sponsors village in downtown Ironton where locals kindly shut down two streets to accommodate the event which was home based next to the historic three story red courthouse scarred by the impact of cannon fire and still guarded by two civil war era cannons.
Familiar faces from the North American Specialized Enduro team, Maxxis Factory Racing, Yeti Cycles, Liv Cycling, KHS, Cannondale and many other teams fought it out on 9 total stages, each with about 600 ft of descent on average and totaling around 5,000 ft of gain and loss on trails designed and built Jagged Axe Trail Designs The newly formed e-bike category also saw many racers tackle the tough tracks, where "Sik Mik" Mick Hannah dominated every single stage for the victory.
Below the surface of this charming midwestern town and home of Shepard Mountain Bike Park
and the seeming benign green canopy of the rolling hills lay a monstrous variety of tracks and terrain that proved to be totally physical and brutally punishing to those who made mistakes. Many wheels and tires were taken as a sacrifice to the mountain this weekend by tracks that could simply be described as “a little dirt, in a sea of rocks”
The weekend was filled with tight racing in most fields due to small mistakes having big consequences on the overall standings.
Ultimately however, the Big Mountain Enduro at Ironton saw the two time EWS champion Richie Rude, racing for Yeti, take a commanding win over the rest of the pro field with 6 out of 9 stage wins and a 21 second lead ahead of his closest competitor and teammate, Kasper Woolley.
Bex Baraona, from Scotland and racing for Yeti, took the win for the Pro Women's field after 8 out of 9 stage wins with more than a one minute lead over her next competitor. See the BME Results page for full rankings.Final Results for Pro Men
1st: Richie Rude
2nd: Kasper Woolley
3rd: Nikolas Nestoroff
4th: Colton Peterson
5th: Shane Leslie Final Results for Pro Women:
1st: Bex Baraona
2nd: Kate Lawrence
3rd: Porsha Murdock
4th: Kera Linn
5th: Fiona Dougherty
Full Results can be found HERE
Big Mountain Enduro prides itself in equal payouts for men and women, in addition to offering tens of thousands of dollars of product prizing to its amateur categories that includes Specialized gear, Maxxis tires, FOX forks, Shimano pedals, POC protection and eyewear, Stans No Tubes wheels, Industry Nine hubs, DT Swiss wheels, FSA components and wheels and 10 Barrel Brewing beer (to those 21 and older). Also included in the amateur prizing mix was a Specialized frame won by the Groms category winner for this stop. This is part of a Specialized hook up where amateur winners at each round of the BME will walk away with a brand new Stumpjumper or Enduro frame. A different amateur category will be chosen at random for each event.
The next Big Mountain Enduro stop takes place in Big Sky, Montana on June 25-26, a favorite of those who race the series. Tracks at Big Sky are notoriously long, steep and raw.
Stay tuned for more updates later this summer from coverage of the remainder of the BME events this season.
Words by Dirk Badenhorst
Photos by Dirk Badenhorst, James Stokoe & Eddie Clark
Once racer galleries are posted, BME will notify racers on their social feeds. But for now, check out these photos highlights from BME stop number 1 in Ironton, MO.