The first UK EWS Qualifier of the year looks set to live up to its name, when the Epic Hope PMBA Enduro kick starts the British racing calendar at the end of the month.
Taking place on May 29th, the race will mark the sixth year that the PMBA Enduro Series returns to Graythwaite. It’s fair to say this venue is the biggest race in their calendar and 2021 will be no exception. There’s an unbelievable thirst to get between the tape this year, with the drought of 2020, people just want to get racing. Graythwaite has the advantage of being on totally private land therefore the restrictions and limitations of using Forestry England land is not a headache for Kev the organiser behind the PMBA Enduro Series. This event also doubles as the opening round of the British National Enduro Series and comes with EWS qualifier status for some nice early season points.
There will be challenges to face as the country starts to come out of restrictions etc, so no large gatherings at the event village or the KSdrop into the event village. But they managed to pull off a great round last year, even though the weather gods threw everything at them. Who will ever forget the biblical rainfall leading up to and during the event last year?
With national events only allowed from 17th May in the UK, this will be one of the first and there’s a whole host of big names taking to the start line. Nothing beats that feeling when you are flying between the tapes and this has brought out a range of the country's best enduro and downhill riders. Scanning down the entry list we find EWS stars like Katy Winton, Joe Barnes, Lewis Buchanan (Norco Factory Racing), Becky Cook, Bex Barona (Ibis Enduro Team) and Martha Gill. Devinci Global Racing’s Greg Callaghan will also be in attendance, as will Chain Reaction’s Kelan Grant and Elliott Heap. How will the series regulars like Polly Henderson, who was fastest woman in 2020 and Ian Austermuhle perform? Christopher Hutchens is on the list and in 2017 described a version of this year's stage two as "eye watering technical" so he's an advantage of knowing what this event can serve up along with team mate Christopher Gallagher after his senior win last year.
Reece Langhorn was last year's masters winner, can he do it again? With so little racing over the past year maybe it will be somebody like Jess Stone with so much experience that will find the groove to win against all these other ladies. However if experience will out then the first lady of enduro Tracy Moseley has that covered and already had a lap to give some feedback. Sam Shucksmith has already been in action and taking the top step in the regional Southern Enduro event, will that have sharpened him up and give him an edge? It’s going to be a huge race with, six stages across 20km and over 1000 metres of climbing. Think you’ve got what it takes? If you want in there are an extra 50 places going live at 9pm GMT on Wednesday 12th May – click here for more information.
Please note that under current COVID restrictions spectators are not permitted at the event.