The team have been competing in the Army and British National Enduro Series sponsored by the British Enduro Mountain Bike Association (BEMBA) which has seen the team racing in various locations across the UK, from the Southern Enduro in Minehead to the Scottish Enduro in Kinlochleven whilst also taking in South and North Wales along the way. On average, over a race weekend the team can be on the bike for approx. 6 to 10 hours climb from 2,000ft to 10,000ft and cover over 40 miles of undulating challenging terrain.

 

The 6-race series started back in April with the Welsh Gravity Enduro Series hosting the Nationals in Afan, South Wales. Dry, dusty, steep, technical trails saw the team get off to a good start. All those that attended finished the race, not without a couple of mishaps though, SSgt Dave Bailey cracking a wheel rim on the first stage and a couple of falls from Cpl James Fahy and LCpl John Atkin (this being there very first taste of Enduro racing). 

Race two the team travel to Graythwaite in the Lake District hosted by the Hope PMBA Enduro team, not only the National series race, but it was also the Enduro World Series (EWS) Qualifiers which meant some of the best racers in the UK were in attendance. Another tough weekend with changeable conditions, unfortunately WO2 Paul Birkbeck had to pull out of race day after injury in practice and Cpl Luke Smith damaging his mech required a quick component change prior to the race.

Race three was hosted by the Southern Enduro Series in Minehead, the most popular of the series and subsequently only SSgt Dave Bailey and Cpl James Fahy managed to purchase race tickets as they sold out fast. With dry conditions and a long ride out to the first 3 stages before heading back towards the main arena for the final 4 short fast stages saw both riders finish with no mishaps. 

Race four held by the Scottish Enduro Series in Kinlochleven was the shortest race with only 4 timed stages, with two crashes on stage 1 in practice, SSgt Dave Bailey was forced to bail .out of the Sunday race. However, SSgt Lee Marshall, Cpl Luke Smith and Cpl Karl Welsh all completed the harsh conditions Kinlochleven had to offer, with no mechanicals for the team this time the event took the hit, with timing on stage 3 going down and no times recorded throughout the whole day making it a 3-stage race.

Race five the team returned to Scotland for the Tweedlove, Transcend Bike Festival, the Whyte King and Queen of the Hill in Tweed Valley, arguably one of the toughest races of the season with a weekend of tough climbs and steep technical descents, with no other than Danny Hart (UCI DH) returning to defend his 2018 title, this made an epic weekend of racing.

Race six was hosted again by the Welsh Gravity Enduro in Machynlleth, North Wales with 3 of the 8-man team participating in the final race over a new course with 80% natural trails it was extremely challenging but rewarding. The race concluded with the overall individual and team winners being presented their trophies.

 

This season has been a huge learning curve for a newly formed team with lots to reflect on over the winter months and develop for the forth coming 2020 season. The team have shown huge commitment in their first competitive season resulting in an overall National position of 58th and within the Army competition the team successfully finished 4th overall with notable individual achievements from Cpl Welsh 9th overall and Cpl Fahy finishing 46th who in his first season has greatly improved over the course of the season improve his skills in his own time by attending further coaching sessions.

National Standings

Individual

 

21-29 Men (242)

Cpl Luke Smith 82nd

 

30-39 Men (421)

Cpl Karl Welsh 81st

SSgt Dave Bailey 128th

Cpl James Fahy 141st

LCpl John Atkin 164th

 

40-49 Men (262)

SSgt Lee Marshall 97th

WO2 Paul Birkbeck 138th

 

Team (78)

RLC MTB Enduro Team 58th

 

Army Standings

Individual (61)

Cpl Karl Welsh 9th

Cpl Luke Smith 23rd

SSgt Lee Marshall 32nd

SSgt Dave Bailey 33rd

Cpl James Fahy 46th

LCpl John Atkin 52nd (Deployed mid-season)

WO2 Paul Birkbeck 54th withdraw due to injury)

WO2 McNaney 60th (withdraw due to injury)

 

 

Team (8)

RLC MTB Enduro Team 4th

 

 

Locations

 

Round 1, Afan, South Wales

Round 2, Graythwaite, Lake District, North UK

Round 3, Minehead, South UK

Round 4, Kinlochleven, Scotland

Round 5, Innerleithen, Scotland

Round 6, Machynlleth, North Wales

 

Posted: 22/10/2019