Fort William is used to hosting the biggest names in mountain biking - and the first UK EWS Qualifier of the year was no exception.
Four hundred racers took to the trails in the shadow of Scotland’s most iconic mountain range to compete in the first round of the Scottish Enduro Series (SES), and some of the biggest names in the sport were on the start line.
Isabeau Courdurier was racing with a broken finger but still took a convincing win
The Pro Category took on five stages under a blazing sun, with the infamous Scottish mud replaced by dust. Two times EWS Champion Isabeau Courdurier (Lapierre Zipp Collective) was at home in the dry conditions and dominated the women’s race to win by an impressive 13 seconds ahead of Ella Conolly (Cannondale Enduro) in second with Bex Baraona (Yeti/Fox Factory Team) in third place.
Greg Callaghan on his way to victory
In the men’s race it was Greg Callaghan (Devinci Global Racing) who took a convincing win - also finishing the race with just over a 13 second lead. Scotland’s Christopher Gallagher rode consistently to finish second, whilst Elliot Heap (Nukeproof SRAM Racing) rounded out the podium in third. Top seeded racer Adrien Dailly (Lapierre Zipp Collective) took it easy to finish the day in 21st place.
There was a big turn out of amateurs in the SES 100 and SES 80 categories
However it wasn’t just the pros between the tapes, a huge amateur contingent also made the trip to Nevis Range. The first UK EWS Qualifier of the year saw a huge field tackle the SES 100 race in search of those all important Global Ranking Points, tackling the exact same course as the pro field. Meanwhile the SES 80 racers took on a slightly shortened course, racing four stages in total. E-bike and team categories also made their SES debut at the weekend, with a strong showing in both.
The stars of the future also got their chance to shine, with SES KIDS racing catering for two year olds on balance bikes right the way through to 16 year olds who got to experience some multi-stage enduro.
The Scottish Enduro Series returns for Round Two in the Tweed Valley on July 23-24. For more information about the Scottish Enduro Series click here.