Mini Enduro R1 / Welsh Gravity Enduro R2
Lewis Bradley gets wet and muddy as he rides two races in one at Bike Park Wales
The first round of the Mini Enduro was combined with the second round of the Welsh Gravity Enduro Series. It was held at one of the world’s most famous bike parks that is Bikepark Wales, situated just up the road from our Tredz store in Cardiff!
As always, I go up and help set-up the course. This includes taping the tracks, putting up transition signs and helping out with sign-on, so that racers can get their number boards and be prepared the day before the race. The race was held on the Saturday because of the volume of visitors the park receives on a Sunday.
The three stages would be a mix of two red trails and one black trail so challenge us and push us to our limits. This was great as it has a mix of everything!
Stage 1 – Hot stepper
- Medium length trail (3-4mins)
- Variety of tight turns and drops
- Mix of terrain, gravel before going into natural terrain.
- Hard to keep speed and look ahead because of the density of trees.
- “Full-on” downhill track
- Big features including drops and a big step down
- Very fast and flowy Easy to make a mistake or go off-track
- Very short (under 2mins)
- Longest trail of the day (about 4mins +)
- Very rough from top to bottom
- Technical features
- Fast but very bumpyHard to keep speedEasy to puncture or snap wheels
I decided to go early and get some practice in before racing in the afternoon. I decide to practice stage one, two and the lower half of three as I thought they were the key sections that would test myself and the bike to its limits. Practice went well and I was looking forward to getting racing. Only one run on each stage so it was all or nothing!
The weather changed from sunshine to cold and rainy conditions for racing, this would make some of the more natural sections on the stages a little more challenging. Stage one went well and I put a solid time in, it wasn’t too fast but I held my lines and kept it smooth to the finish. Putting the 4th fastest time in my category. Stage two was my favourite of the day, I set off well and was pushing. I did have slight issue with my goggles, I couldn’t see out of them because of the mist that built up inside, but managed to hold on and make it to the finish with no errors. I knew I could have gone faster in the lower sections, I put in the 3rd fastest time in my category, putting the pressure on the last stage.
Stage 3 was a bit of a mare for me, after a few corners in a could feel that my rear end was pretty loose, I knew that somehow I had lost pressure in my rear tyre but it felt worse. I didn’t push too hard as I knew a puncture would mean in me coming in last, after dribbling down at a moderate pace and getting pretty loose. I realised that I had manage to crack my carbon rear wheel, resulting in the lack of pressure in my rear end.
I had the 7th fastest time but this bumped me to 5th overall after all three stages. Although I was gutted, as I could have had a podium finish, I was happy to keep my top 5 streak running and coming away in one piece.
I’m now looking forward to round 3 of the Welsh Gravity Enduro Series at Cwmcarn in two weeks time and hoping to get on the podium, 3rd time lucky hopefully! Especially after winning there last year!
See you soon,
Many thanks to the following photographers
Main image - Malcom Melville
Race day pan shot - Track & Trails
Final image - Doc Ward