The Ae Endurofest and British National Enduro at Ae Forest

NewsPosted on 28th June 2023

Race report: Hope PMBA Enduro / British National Endurofest at Ae Forest

Last weekend saw round 3 of the Hope PMBA Enduro Series entertain over 550 riders across literally all ages, from under 10s to super grand Vets (over 60s) at a brand new to venue for the PMBA at Ae Forest. Let’s see how the weekend unfolded.

The way this race weekend was run, you’d have thought that Kev and the team had been running events here for years, but last weekend was a first for the Hope PMBA Enduro Series at Ae. But lets face it, the team have been running events for almost 10 years now. Ae Endurofest was a very full and adventurous weekend, combining the most grassroots of events with the highest standard of national enduro racing. All at a new venue, however It’s also important to recognise and praise the Ae Forest team for their support and help at the weekend and leading up to it, as well as the local “badgers” getting stuck into trail prep. A quick scan on Roots and Rain and you can see there’s previously been 63 events held here, going way back to May 1999. Looking through these events, there’s often great numbers of competitors, but last weekend saw the Hope PMBA Enduro smash that with 561 racers over 2 days, and 10 stages.

The early starters just, but only just managed to beat the worst of the rain

The weather over the weekend was most challenging, with a spate of great weather leading up to the event and dry dusty trails, the heavens finally opened and heavy rain hit the trails on the Friday afternoon and evening, but Saturday was mostly dry and humid. For the Sundays racing, many riders tried to get their start times as early as possible as rain was forecast from lunchtime onwards, and boy did mother nature deliver, with streams seen running down some trails. But I did hear quite a few riders saying how much fun Ae was to ride in the slop.



As the rain set in the trails turned slimy and slippery

Over the weekend it wasn’t just about the third round of the Hope PMBA Enduro Series and British National Enduro, but another of the Hope Women’s enduro series and the Hope Academy races. On the Saturday there were balance bike races, U10s races on one stage and a 3 stage young rider and Women’s Series race. The weekend was packed with biking goodness. Stage 3 of the main event was the newly crafted Omegaman and since this race was a mash up format, it saw racers going up and down the hill multiple times it was enjoyed so much. Even though Omegaman has been “tamed”, it was hugely popular on the day, I had a chance to ride it on the Friday evening and on the Sunday, in hefty rain and it seemed to be pretty damn weatherproof.


Omegaman looking prime over the weekend

The main event was an epic 6 stage enduro across some of Ae’s finest trails, raced in order on the Sunday, with a chance of practicing all stages on the Sunday. The layout of the race and positioning of the race HQs meant racers could carry minimal kit and pop by their base throughout the day.













A great turn out from the Infantry and all the other armed forces.

Amazing weekend racing at Ae forest! It was amazing to have an enduro race at Ae again and hopefully this is the start of many to come! Massive thanks to Kev at PMBA and the Ae locals for putting on a brilliant event! Was great to see so many kids lined up for the academy race on the Saturday! Ending the day with trail coach and hope academy putting on a fun event for the children and adults to get involved in before the academy podiums. Ae’s finest of natural descents and deadly pedals put on a show for some interesting racing ! The rain and midges came in true Scottish spirit to add its own little bit of spice to the race. Didn’t seem to dampen the spirits of anyone racing! Well done to everyone that took part and again a massive thanks to the PMBA and Ae team for such an amazing event. See you next year hopefully – Lee “Sketchy” McIver

Lee "Sketchy" McIver top 9th of the day and 2nd in category

At this point I’d usually do a run down of the fastest times for the men and women, but with so many different races and categories, this would turn into a war and peace epically long write up, but here’s some honourable mentions. Billy, Leo and Matilda for their first ever races in the balance bike race, but also a big shout out to Deya taking on her second ever race, the first one being Gisburn earlier this year. The one stage U10 was won overall by Juan Jimenez in 1:47.19, what a cracking time!! The girls fastest was Lois Lanzi in a brilliant 2:00.95, it’s this type of race that can give the younger riders the passion to pursue the sport into the future. In the Academy and Hope Women’s race there were 40 males and the fastest went to Alexander Bootland in 3:47.87 and the Women’s series race were 51 women with the fastest going to Rebecca Preece in 3:59.41. A big shout out to Emma Graham who was having so much fun on stage 3 she did it 5 times, but she was beaten by one extra race run by Tom Groom. This weekend was all inclusive of mountain bikers and there were 37 Ebikers racing across the main 6 stage event. With Jamie Harris taking the fastest male in 14:03.04 and Alexia Desile taking the fastest woman in 17:39.85.

Emma Graham on race run 3 of 5 race runs on stage 3

For the full Sunday round 3 race and BNES the overall fastest time went to Henry Timewell U18 in a staggering 13:12.20. Less than 30 seconds separated the top 10 racers across the 6 stages. The women’s overall went to Becci Skelton in 16:33.34, she looked consistently fast all weekend. Hollie Vayro U21 breaking into the top 5 fastest, with Katy McGowan U16 in the top 10 fastest. Across all the age categories especially the U21s, there’s so much talent coming through the sport. This weekend also saw 16% of racers being women. Over weekend there was 171 U18s making up 30% of the competitors. This certainly is #EnduroForAll. For a full run down of the results and more photos, head over to Roots and Rain

This weekend wasn’t just all about racing. The Hope Academy put on some amazing activities and challenges for the younger riders (but many big kids got involved), run by the trail coach crew, these sessions were greatly received.


Big kids

I almost grabbed my bike and joined in

One stand out moment from this whole weekend for me was standing alongside Anna Fletcher who had raced on the Saturday and was marshalling the Sunday. Biblical rainfall and pretty dire conditions, then a distant woman’s voice singing , getting closer and closer and pitch perfect, it was Izzy Blackman!! She sings to help the nerves, and at 11 years of age she is one hell of a rider (and singer), having completed this race and the recent Graythwaite epic.

Pitch perfect Izzy

Pitch perfect Izzy

11 year old Izzy taking on another huge fully blown enduro race

So that’s a wrap for this write up, another outstanding race brought to you by Kev and the incredible team behind the Hope PMBA Enduro Series and Ae Forest bike shop and local team. As Sketchy says, let’s hope this is an opening for more epics at the forest. I feel it should also be mentioned that this year has seen an escalation of bike thefts and races being targeted for this criminal enterprise. The community rural and wildlife crime units were patrolling and aware of these issues and really did go above and beyond to show a presence, so no bikes were stolen this weekend. Also a big thanks to some of the marshals who went around on Friday and Saturday evening warning the riders of the recent thefts and advising riders to lock up the bikes.

Brad rode fast all day, but faster when the conditions deteriorated

So looking ahead, the next race will be the fastest trails of the series at One Giant Leap, Llangollen on 12th and 13th August, this is one not to be missed!! Then there’ll be Kirroughtree on 2nd and 3rd of September, this will not only conclude the PMBA’s race series for 2023, but will also be further Hope Women’s races and Academy races. Kirroughtree is an amazing destination and race weekend, really suited for families, with an excellent bike shop, cafe and top quality showers. To keep track of everything PMBA head over to the website. The series Facebook can be found here and is always great to keep track of up to date information.

Omegaman, a fast and furious trail

Words and pictures by Jerry aka
Epic video edit by Luke aka Badger Productions