Its race day and the final brief is being delivered!
For those who had been anxiously waiting for Rnd 1 of the POC Scottish Enduro Series at Laggan Wolftrax, it was Saturday and the waiting was finally over and it was time to see what could be delivered. The mighty Laggan always packs a punch, with a compact and varied selection of trails it’s always hard to anticipate what the day will hold.
Organizers had anticipated that after an unseasonably warm winter, a winter where there had been as much, if not more mountain bike adventures than snowsports, that riders would be fit, eager and ready. Back that up with a fortnight of dry days and a strong (drying) wind. The scene was set for the trail gurus to deliver the near perfect storm.
"Wheelie exciting" Fraser Kelly could hardly contain his excitement on the way to stage 1. So much so he even forgot to tie his helmet.
On winning the Grand Vet Male category Alastair MacLennan reported when asked about his day. “It was like a fairy tale, and aye like Cinderella, I did get to the ball, but that pair of ugly b****** made it pretty damned tough” referring to the amazing Steve Bradley, AKA “Evil Grandad” and his ever-willing accomplice Lindsay Carruthers AKA “He made me do it”. Steve and Lindsay and far too many others to mention had put in an immense amount of effort in trail preparations over the winter and when the weather gods played ball and the stars were aligned. They delivered, Oh my did they deliver. One hell of an enduro, no complaint on too short a day in 2019. It's fair to say all riders , organisers and the Laggan Crew have huge respect to their efforts and their ongoing commitment to trails in the highlands.
A road Less Trave
These trails don't build themselves you know! It's winter and they are there.
Polly Henderson and Jess Stone clearly stated their early season intent, smashing stage wins on every stage in their respective categories, finishing the day with just over one second between them. In the masters female category Anna Riddell showed good early season consistency with four stage wins out of five. With some close racing in the female short category, a category which saw the top three taking one stage win each. We are looking forward to seeing some great racing as the series goes forward.
Anna Riddell, consistent all weekend!
It is often said that if you choose to take the road less traveled, it can sometimes be a bumpy ride along the way, but if you're doing it for the right reasons, then the reward is so great. This certainly described the transition to the opening stage of the 2019 series. At three miles, nothing to salvage, that said the four false summits before reaching the summit of Dun da Lamh did test some riders resolve. At 565m, clear view for miles, the opening reward was just about to begin. The stage itself followed a rocky ridge before joining a fast flowing walking trail and then diving into the boulder-strewn damp forest section stage before the steep swooping turns to the end.
A road less traveled?
It was so high, so clear that rumors had it you could see tweed in the valley!
Joe Barnes went for the kill on stage one, taking 11 seconds out of Lewis Buchanan who after a troubled practice day on Saturday was riding the early stages blind. Joe, who has never been beaten at Laggan and had won 9 out of his 10 Scottish Enduro Series appearances took three stage wins to secure victory on the day. Lachlan Blair who was consistent all day was rewarded with second, with Lewis taking a hard-fought third, after more minor mechanical frustrations on the final stage. With 42 seconds separating the top five after 28 mins of racing it is going to interesting at the sharp end of the series in 2019.
Killing it on stage 1!
Blind racing, IBIS/POC Buchanan knew he had his work cut out!
Stage five was always going to be a talking point “Evil Grandad” at 3.85 Km in length, with 185m of descent and 18.4m of accent it squeezed itself into meeting enduro criteria. The stage itself boasts some of the finest built trails in Scotland. Utilising the huge number of rocks slabs the trail builders squeezed every ounce of pleasure out of the gravity on offer. Liam Moynihan, crushed the field on this one taking over 40 seconds of second place race winner Joe Barnes. Senior category winner Ben Balfour grabbed a very creditable fourth overall in this stage.
Slabs the size of coffins and vistas bigger than the imagination = the trail builders dream!
Stage 5 required a special food station.
As always Christian and Graeme and the team at Laggan Wolftrax did an amazing job over the weekend, Laggan is one of Scotland’s top riding destinations and after a magnificent weekend of discovery the Scottish Series is now set to return to the Tweed Valley. Rumors of what this round of the series might hold are starting to percolate out, the Innerliethen round is always a cracker and for 2019 it is fitting that this round hosts the Rnd 2 of the EWS European Series. With already a number of riders signed up from outside the UK there is one thing for sure, that if Rnd 1 is anything to go by, there is going to be Great Racing, on Great Stages, with a Great Bunch of people! The POC Scottish Enduro Series keeping UK enduro international in 2019. Does life get any better?
Next up the Valley of Truth.
If you are thinking of racing at round 2, then we would urge you to enter now as entries will sell out. Remember if you raced at Rnd 1 you are now one of an elite group eligible to entered into a prize draw to win a pair of the New DT F535s from DT Swiss courtesy of our good friends at Bascamp Bikes.
Thanks to Steve Bradley, Brodie Hood and Trevor Worsey for the Pics (these guys are awesome)