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British Enduro Championship (Round 1) and British Sprint Enduro Championship (Round 1/2)

British Enduro Championship (Round 1) and British Sprint Enduro Championship (Round 1/2) – by Cpl A Cross

After proving themselves at last year’s Army Motorcycle Championships, snatching the Number 1 Overall Rider’s Trophy and Best Novice, members of The RLC Team are keen to stay on top of their game. With more training and even more support from new sponsors, the team was more than prepared for its first event of the season, the British Enduro Championship.

Regarded as the “Premier League” of Enduro motorsport, the national championship is divided into sub-categories to ensure the competition is fair but also intense. The team competes in a variety of levels ranging from the “Expert Class” right down to “Sportsman” (Beginner).  The event takes place over a full weekend with competitors typically sleeping next to their machines in the van. The morning bursts to life with the sound of raspy race bikes firing up for the first time. Each rider is given a dedicated race number and start time, they must leave the start gate within 60 seconds of this time. Each rider must then complete a set number of laps (typically 6-8) in a time trial. After each lap the rider’s allocated lap time is reduced.  During this lap time, racers must not only complete a lap but also return through the pit, refuel the bike and take on-board whatever energy and water they have fetched along.

The team got off to a flying start, making great progress early in the race. Cpl K Hicks managed to maintain a blindingly fast pace all the way through to the chequered flag which saw him take eighth place in the Expert Class. The rest of the team gave their all as they battled their way round the 21 mile course. After a nervous wait at the finish, it became clear one rider had not made it due to a mechanical issue on the fourth lap. The event pushed both riders and machines beyond their capabilities.  After ten hours of hard riding the weekend finally drew to a close, tired riders and tired bikes loaded up for the long journey home.

The rest is only short-lived, only two weeks later the team was once again woken up on a cold winter’s morning after a rough night’s sleep beside a KTM motorcycle. This time we found ourselves at Round 1 of the British Sprint Enduro Championship. This is an Enduro event with a difference; instead of enduring 20+ mile laps through thick woodland, the riders compete in short 5-10 km fast paced sprint laps. Typically the track consists of a mix of classic Enduro rock and woodland areas along with also wide open Motocross style sections. The unusual format of the Sprint has made the national event highly popular and an excellent spectator sport.

The race got underway and the results started to flow back to the pits.  It was close, so close in fact that there were only four minutes between the top twenty riders! This event saw the return of Cpl H R Trimmingham after half a season out of action due to a riding injury, and he was keen to prove himself.  With only two minutes between the whole team it was competitive to say the least.  Cpl Trimmingham was the one leading, and with his cheeky grin he’s sure to remind us that it was his first race back.  Once more the weekend drew to an end with a great set of results, but this time with no mechanical problems or injuries.

 

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