Best of the Best: Enduro Racing

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The 2014-2015 Motorcycle Enduro season began Labor Day weekend and concludes in May. Enduro racing has been in existence, on a global scale, since 1913 when the first ISDE (International Six Day Enduro) took place in Carlisle, England. The United States is divided into a number of divisions incorporating a number of series in this particular form of motorcycle racing. In the southeast it’s SE&TRA, the Southeastern Enduro & Trail Riders Association along with a new Full Gas Sprint Enduro series. Competitors range from pro level riders (who are sponsored by manufacturers, bike shops, gear and after-market companies) to A, B, and C class riders, women, and youth. Annually, riders have an opportunity to ride in both national and divisional events. Top riders compete in the AMA Racing Rekluse National Enduro Championship Series with races throughout the U.S.

At any one event, 500-600 riders sign up to race over a timed 70 +/- mile off–road course. It’s called endurance racing for good reason; events can last up to eight hours; some races are two days long. The course incorporates single-track woods trails, water crossings, hill climbs, tight wooded sections, ruts, log crossings, roots, and rocks. My sons describe it as “varying degrees of gnar to shred.” As I said, competitors ride in these conditions for eight hours, without retracing any part of the course. And they convincingly say it’s fun. Apparently, it’s fun to wallow in lactic acid and, there’s really not a delicate way to put it, spend the following week sitting on a donut.

Racing begins on a minute row with six riders. What this means is- if you have 600 hundred riders you have 100 rows. The first row would begin at 8 a.m., the second row at 8:01, the third at 8:02, etc. Your time begins on your minute. The race consists of six timed sections varying in length. Each rider’s time is recorded at checkpoints at the end of each section. The object is to ride like you stole something and complete the race in the shortest amount of time. At the end of the season, scores from all races entered are compiled to determine a rider’s regional and national rankings. Trophies, cash, and sponsors reward top riders.

Enduro racing has been a part of our family life since before our children were born. Today, my husband and sons compete. Both sons have successes in regional and national championships; all three are competitive by nature. But really, for them, it’s all about bike preparation, physical preparation, camping, weekend adventures, shredding gnar, and having fun- donuts and all.

There are a few things spectators, interested in attending an Enduro outing, need to know. All races have spectator access on foot and by vehicle, with spectator maps provided at the start area. Some events are free and others have a small fee to support local riding clubs. Dress for mud and dust; bring a folding chair and picnic. It’s a family event.

Just giving a little shout-out to the fam…Go Pack!

Upcoming regional races:

Sumter National Enduro, Sumter, SC February 1

Cherokee Enduro, Greensboro, GA February15

Full Gas Sprint Enduro, Gaston, SC February 21-22

Sandlapper National Enduro, Salley, SC March 1

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