Ard Rock Enduro MTB Festival 2017

Aug 10, 2017 at 4:19
by prorideguides  

Ard Rock Enduro Festival 2017 has been and gone again, turning a tiny Yorkshire Dales town into the epicenter of epic enduro riding and setting social media alight for several days afterward.

With over 4,000 competitors attempting four separate races and 15,000 visitors from all over the UK, Europe, and even Australia checking out a 40% bigger expo and bike demo area, Ard Rock was bigger than ever this year. The real win for everyone though was that it still kept the same awesome grass roots ride hard, relax hard vibe that’s seen it become the ‘must do’ aggro riding event in the UK calendar.

Ard Rock Enduro MTB Festival 2017

Comments like "it's the Glastonbury of mountain biking", and "It's the best ride ever to the best social ever", fill message boards while an army of photographers upload over 70,000 glory snaps and a good few gory ones as well.


Ard Rock Enduro MTB Festival 2017

Sitting in the stunning Yorkshire Dales amphitheater of Swaledale, with steep rocky hillsides rising all around, Ard Rock is legendary for its multi line, totally natural, take no prisoners, only rideable on the weekend baseline, but each racing stage has its unique character.


Ard Rock Enduro MTB Festival 2017

The suck you in, spit you out transition from friendly flat grass to savage loose rock verticals and evil wooded rock garden of Stage 1 sets the uncompromising go hard or go home tone. The steep switchbacks, tyre trashing geology and relentless arm exploding stepped steeps of Stage 2 then leave you no doubt that this is going to be a day to remember.


Ard Rock Enduro MTB Festival 2017

The epic transfer to the 'top of the world' moonscape of the Stage 3 start is a real test of resolve for many and we still can't decide whether the tiny pub at the halfway point in Booze (yes really) is a help or a hindrance. The two old dears behind the pumps certainly do a roaring trade on the first weekend August of every year though.



Ard Rock Enduro MTB Festival 2017

The Mega Avalanche style scree and quarry block top of three spits you out onto flat out spin and tuck trail down to the end of stage food stop. Another long grind or push climb took riders to a remodelled faster, more flowing Stage 4, before a killer carry out and transition across to Stage 5 that had a lot of Ard Rock veterans cursing. Any thoughts that adding another stage (and inevitable crawling climb) was a mistake were replaced with wild whoops and hollers as they blasted the berms, banks and multiple air time sections of the new full gas run, with riders on the push up adding their own critical input and encouragement.


Ard Rock Enduro MTB Festival 2017

For once Joe Rafferty and his track team had taken the forgiving option and it was just a few minutes push and pedal to the top of Stage 6, so riders hit the final descent still buzzing from the previous one. Side knob ripping off camber corners, bigger than ever rock slab launch ramps, tight singletrack and an evil slanted dry stone wall drop finish mixed in with 45km of savagely steep terrain fatigue for an elated but exhausted finish for most riders.


Ard Rock Enduro MTB Festival 2017

Great news then that the expo area had a top quality food court to complement the full menu of Stu and Brenda from the awesome Dales Bike Centre. With bellies filled and beer in hand, charity auctions, swag hand outs, as well as live bands and DJ's kept the levels of stoke topped out each night, with a proper crowd surfing mosh pit to a Rage against the machine cover finishing Saturday night in fine style.



Ard Rock Enduro MTB Festival 2017

Emergency repairs courtesy of SRAM's massive World Cup support truck plus Shimano and Hope service centres took care of mechanical trauma. Demos from 16 different bike brands including headline supporters Santa Cruz sat alongside booths showcasing nearly 50 brands of clothing, componentry and media brands. Add kids try out laps to reinforce the totally family friendly feel and head to head racing on the Maxxis pumptrack (won by Jono Jones from DMR) and even those not fast enough on the keyboard to get an event entry this year still had plenty of reason to rock up to Ard Rock.


Ard Rock Enduro MTB Festival 2017

Above all though, it's the atmosphere of the Ard Rock that makes it such a genuine must-do event. The meet-ups with old mates, the beers with new friends you've shared the shred with on the trail, the inevitable near miss or 'where I did this' tales that grow into the months of banter as riders get ready to go even 'Arder next year. All underlined with super slick organisation that manages to negotiate truly stunning, one-time access private land courses, with exceptional safety cover, high energy entertainment all weekend and still puts your times in your hand literally as you cross the finish line.



Ard Rock Enduro MTB Festival 2017

For those who want to how their times compared to Enduro winners Kelan Grant (Nukeproof Wide Open) and Rachael Walker (Hopetech) or whether they were one of the 831 six stage finishers of the weekend who got beaten by the tandem then check out the results on roots and rain. For those who want to check out the hard chargers, fly eaters, dead sailors and wipe outs to find out what they missed get flicking through the photos on Roots and Rain.



MENTIONS: @prorideguides
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16 Comments

  • + 2
 Such a good time. The only thing that let it down was the terrible, most overpriced, under cooked chips from that Yorkshire Food Tent.. yuk. That and a lack of non-meat food selection. Other than that it was the best. Deffo doing it again.
  • + 4
 Haha! Grim weren't they? I went to the Buck Inn in Reeth. Chicken Curry and a lager for £8. Winner winner, chicken dinner! There's only so much bread and meat combinations to be had. Still, best UK MTB event I know of!
  • + 2
 First year and didn't train just expected it to be easy. Couldn't have been more wrong, given me the bug for next year to get some training in, I was pretty much satisfied with getting round it without an off or puncture.
  • + 2
 Such a good weekend, I think I will be commandeering multiple PC's on works network to give me the best chance of tickets again next year
  • + 4
 Best event of the year!
  • + 1
 So the Grim Sweeper beat over 800 riders this year? Did it have Guy 'I ride this bike by myself with a trailer full of bricks to make it even heavier' on it again then?
  • + 1
 nah the grim sweeper was Chip on an Ebike, Guy and his Daughter competed and did quite well.
  • + 1
 3rd Time there and it just gets better and better...and harder and harder to get a ticket!
  • + 1
 How much does the course change? I rode last year and aside from the addition of stage 5 it looked pretty much the same this year, I missed out on getting tickets this year but I'm less disappointed having now seen the route.
  • + 1
 @DC1988: stage 5 was new this year the rest were the same as last year , last year stage 2 was also new from the previous year

Stages are all still good and you can't really ride them outside this event

But it's just the whole weekend and vibe that makes it special
  • + 2
 @DC1988: each one had a little tweek here and there and thankfully no hike a bike out of stage 4 this year
  • + 1
 @fatduke: I'm not sure the hike up the hill the other way was much better like haha
  • + 1
 Awesome event, can't wait for the white knuckle ride of actually trying to get on it again next year!
  • + 0
 Tomorrow evening our Pinned TV edit will.be up from the event, check us out on YouTube guys
  • + 1
 Gets better every year, stage 5 was a nice addition to the event.

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