On Saturday 24 July 2010 a record 140 armour clad adrenaline junkies
from all over the UK will take on the gruelling challenge of The Hope
Endurance Downhill, the toughest downhill mountain biking endurance
race on the UK calendar, at Nevis Range, Fort William in the Outdoor
Capital of the UK.
Riders of this full-on, flat-out, no-compromise charge down one of the
roughest, longest and most physically punishing courses on the UCI
Mountain Bike World Cup circuit will need bucket loads of physical
strength and stamina, quick reflexes, superb bike control and an
unerring eye for the right line as they tackle the 2.82km track (with
555m vertical descent) as many times as possible in six hours! Can
anyone beat the record 18 runs set in 2008?
In this major test, for even the most experienced of downhill elite,
racers will have to tackle a succession of big jumps and bumps, wooden
boardwalk, sharp berms, drop-offs, rock slabs and technical natural
sections on this internationally revered downhill track; all the way
from the top gondola station (at 655m) to the magnificent finish
section at the Nevis Range car park (100m).
Frazer Coupland from organisers No Fuss Events, said: 'There were some
fairly major modifications to the track for the 2010 Word Cup. It will
be interesting to see how they will affect the endurance racers. 2010
will see our largest field for this event since we began in 2008 which
is fantastic news as the calendar is now jam packed with events for
the downhill market.'
The Le Mans style mass start is another challenge that most downhill
racers are not used to. It involves competitors, dressed in full
armour and helmets, sprinting 100-metres along a forestry track to
pick up their bikes. They then have a tough uphill ride to about
three quarters of the way down from the top gondola station where they
join the track for the first run down. The clock is started when the
first rider gets onto the gondola for the first time.
Spook from no Fuss was keen to emphasise what a great spectacle the
Hope Endurance Downhill race is: 'This is a fantastic event for
spectators too. There is great access onto the course from both the
top gondola station and the Nevis Range Car Park. With excellent
spectator viewing points the length of the course and a restaurant and
a café, friends, family and hard core downhill fans will be able to
soak up the adrenaline fuelled atmosphere in style, whilst cheering on
the riders as they complete this awesome challenge.'.
The Hope Endurance Downhill not only tests physical endurance and
technical riding ability, it also tests reliability. Participants will
only be allowed one bike and a list of itemised spares to see them
through the whole event. At the bottom of each run participants have
the opportunity to enter the tech area to carry out any running
repairs, replenish fluids and to take a breather. There will be time
penalties for riders who have to change wheels, forks, bars, frames
and other major components. Also participants will not be allowed
assistance in the maintenance of their equipment from outside the tech
The Hope Endurance Downhill is the second event in organiser's No Fuss
Events' search for the ultimate mountain biking endurance all-rounder
- The King Of The Mountains. To be in with a chance of being crowned
the first ever King of the Mountains riders must take part in three
challenging but fun open mountain bike events in the 2010 No Fuss
stable - The Benromach 10 at Kirroughtree (10 July), The Hope
Endurance Downhill (24 July), and the new Orange Tour De Ben Nevis (11
September), a no frills, 61km point-to-point mountain bike stage race
that circumnavigates Ben Nevis.
These brave warriors, riding each race as a solo or in pairs, will not
only have to cope with energy sapping and heart pumping endurance,
they will also need lighting quick reflexes, superb bike control in
all conditions, nerves of steel whilst negotiating some of Scotland's
remotest trails and an unerring eye for the right line if they are to
pick up the ultimate prize.
Neil Arnold, Marketing Manager form Hope, said: 'This is a great
concept, and really is an all round test for any mountain biker, not
just hardcore cross country or downhill riders - you need to be able
to do most things well to be in with a shout!'
photos Janos Schmidt