The Fall And Rise Of Enduro
ENDURO RACING IS ALIVE AND WELL IN THE WESTERN CAPE - THANKS TO SMALL GROUP OF PASSIONATE ENTHUSIASTS.
AFTER YEARS OF TIMING WOES... ...and fading interest in enduro races in the Western Cape, things have been turned around – thanks to the crew behind the newly-formed EWC (Enduro Western Cape) committee.
So far, an unprecedented number of entrants have supported the 2018 season, consisting of a three-event series of races hosted at Hoogekraal, Contermanskloof and Jonkershoek respectively. For the first time ever, entries had to be capped (at 200), indicating a positive turnaround and signs that the sport is back on track and growing.
Enduro is the evolution of the typical mountain-bike ride with friends; just with official timing on designated technical sections (‘stages’), and bragging rights for whoever is fastest on the day.
Riding buddies group back together again after each stage, sharing the stoke and the mishaps of the stage, and then ride on to the next one at a relaxed pace.
A crucial factor in enduro’s renewed success is thanks to Daniel Dobinson and Harry Millar (from iRideAfrica) addressing the timing issues from past years. Over a period of five months, they developed a totally custom, endurosuited timing system, from scratch; doing everything from customising circuit boards, to writing the code, to combining everything into a neat and clean package.
The system’s robust and easy-to-use design doesn’t require any GSM coverage – or a degree in rocket science. Since accurate timing is one of the core elements of any race or event, this is an invaluable element. Hopefully, it will redefine endurostyle events in South Africa.
Enduro is a welcome alternative to the usual ‘lycra required’ racing disciplines of XC and marathon, which dominate the mountain-biking scene in South Africa. The camaraderie between enduro riders stems from the fact that the event format allows beginners and professionals to mingle and share experiences, while actually racing.
Uphills (‘liaisons’) are spent catching up on news, gossip and bike technology, and the short stages (usually only one to two kilometres) are spent going as fast as you can while keeping your body and bike in one piece.
Post-race atmosphere usually consists of banter, free ice-cold beer, checking out the vendor merchandise, a prize-giving, and a lucky draw to add the cherry on top.
Part of the attraction is that riders have time to take photos and rest whenever they choose, while still being able to enjoy all the exciting trails without anyone slowing them down. Experiencing new and exciting mountain-biking destinations is also part of the enduro ethos, and this entices racers to travel and challenge their skill sets.
"ENDURO IS THE EVOLUTION OF THE TYPICAL MOUNTAIN-BIKE RIDE WITH FRIENDS..."