Gisburn Grassroots race report – R1 2023

NewsPosted on 26th April 2023

Words and photos by Jerry Tatton (JWDTphotography)

Last weekend saw the Hope PMBA Enduro Series kick off their 2023 series with a grassroots racing weekend at Gisburn forest. Gisburn forest has approximately 30km of quality biking trails and is located in the North East corner of Lancashire. And boy what a huge and busy weekend it was with a total of 567 riders across the weekend and a total of three events.

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The weekend kicked off with the Hope women Enduro round 1 and Hope Academy Enduro round 1, followed by a free under 10s (U10) race later on in the day. Let’s have a look how the weekend panned out.

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The under 10 race was a sight to behold, and was taken quite seriously by some of the young racers. Nothing beats seeing young racers on balance bikes, shredding down a trail with their mums or dads chasing after them on foot as their chaperones. The atmosphere at the U10s race was fantastic with parents lining the side of the course cheering on the young riders. It’s great to see a race series run by Kev Duckworth incorporating under 10-year-olds. This was a free race in order to introduce younger riders into racing and we’ve all heard the phrase “start them young”. For this is where the future of the sport could lie, as Britain has always had a very strong cycling team, especially in the Enduro discipline of riding and racing. The U10s race was a single stage, ridden as many times as they could fit in and was on Gisburn’s 27 Berms Trail. Some of the speeds the younger riders were getting on this trail was awe-inspiring. These tiny racers were taking it dead serious and were keen to get on that podium spot. Don’t forget, you can view and use the free U10s race photo album on the PMBA Enduro Series Facebook page here

“Both of my kids entered the (free) Under 10’s kids race at the weekend; they absolutely loved it! The atmosphere was amazing with all the spectators cheering them on down the trail. The marshals were fantastic, getting the racers motivated to start their run and provided cookies once they passed the finish line. The amount of little riders all on their bikes and chatting with each other really helped the confidence of my kids. A massive thank you to all of the PMBA Enduro team for such a fantastic experience.”

Also on the Saturday was the PMBA Hope Women Enduro and PMBA Hope Academy race which took on 3 of Gisburn’s Trail centre in stages, Home Baked, Long Way Down and the Hope Line. The format of this race was a mash up, where riders could pick and choose which order to ride the stages and race them as many times as they could fit in or their legs could endure.It was great to see so many younger racers getting involved, but also 106 women, many racing for the first time, getting involved in a very heavily male dominated sport. Quite a number of the racers had also entered to race in both the Saturday and Sunday enduros. Jess Stone took the fastest time of the day across the 3 stages in an incredible 6:20.37, closely chased by Charlotte Kay in 6:25.62 with 3 fastest going to Kayden Theis-Taylor in 6:31.12. For a complete rundown of all the results have a look over at Roots and Rain

The main event, the Hope PMBA Enduro Gisburn Grassroots was held on the Sunday. A full on 5 stage enduro mash up. Again, no practice on the day or day before, but racing all day, taking on all 5 stages as many times as you could in which ever order you chose. The stages were Gisburn’s finest trails, Home Baked, Hully Gully, Long Way Down, the Downhill Line with a newly revamped off piste section and the Hope Line. As this is the series Grassroots event 95% of the race was on typical red/black mountain bike trails, so nothing overly technical and a great event to introduce newcomers to racing, however, this always brings out some of the more seasoned racers to start tuning in their racing skills for the upcoming years racing. In the women’s category, racing again was Jess Stone in a comfortable time of 10:36.90 followed by Madeline Moorhouse-Smith in 11:06.33 and racing again Katy Kaos McGowan in 3rd fastest woman in 11:08.74

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The men’s main event was an incredible battle for the fastest times of the day. With Henry Timewell going all out for the fastest time in 9:10.19 and hot on his heels was Lewis Carr in 9:14.16 with 3rd fastest going to probably the fastest vet on 2 wheels Ian Austermuhle in 9:15.27. This was some incredible racing!

That’s it for this race report, but before we wrap up, YOU MUST READ THIS!!! During Saturday night the event camping site was raided by thieves who helped themselves to 4 bikes! Stolen from tent porches and bikes attached to fences. This is not a unique occurrence, as bikes were also targeted by thieves at the recent event held by the Welsh Enduro, here’s more info from there. Please let’s not give these people any more chances to ruin our weekends, make sure in the future you secure your bikes and make it impossible for them to be opportunist and get away with this most vile behaviour.

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Next up is “the epic” across Graythwaite and Grizedale in the lakes. This will be the final race at the amazing Graythwaite estate as they will be re-wilding their land. If you’ve not entered yet or have never raced here, get entered now. Graythwaite is one of the hardest enduros in the UK and not one to be missed. To enter hit this link. For more information then head over to the PMBA Enduro Series website or Facebook. I really hope to see you all at the next round, if you don’t fancy the technical trails of Graythwaite, then you have Ae forest weekend or the super fast gravity style Llangollen.

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