To celebrate the return of the Red Bull City Scramble to Auckland we take at look at some of the globe’s greatest Enduro hotspots…
Following the success of the 2009 Red Bull City Scramble the event returns to Auckland this weekend. The Enduro race is the brainchild of local hero Chris Birch who returns to New Zealand fresh from completing the Dakar Rally. Birchy has dreamt up a few fresh obstacles for the Auckland Enduro challenge to test himself and 99 other bikers to the max. The action will take place at Auckland’s T Pier on Westhaven Drive and the urban environment will be transformed into the traditional tricky terrain associated with the sport of Enduro. A maze of tyres, broken paving slabs, rocks, logs, walls, pipes and palates create a teasing Enduro track.
Dating back to 2004 the world most daring Enduro riders have been coming to Sibiu to take part in Red Bull Romaniacs. The gruelling Enduro challenge came to life thanks to Martin Freinademetz, a former multiple World & European snowboard champion and another Dakar veteran. Martin took one look at the Carpathian Mountains that surround the ancient Romanian city of Sibiu and immediately saw the Enduro possibilities of the region. The prologue stage of Red Bull Romaniacs is always staged along the main street of Sibiu before the action spills in the nearby rocky mountain sides and thick forests.
The 2012 edition of Enduro classic Hell’s Gate took place outside the medieval Tuscan town of Braga. Bikers were well advised to take a pre-race pilgrimage to Braga’s cathedral to pay their respects to its 3.5m high statue of Saint Christopher. Who better to talk to than the patron saint of travellers before staring into the depths of hell. The winner of Hell’s Gate in 2012 was Graham Jarvis but he was followed home by Enduro’s rising star Jonny Walker. Jonny has vowed to return to hell next year despite being punished by the course on the outskirts of Braga, “It was a long day with five laps in the morning before the main race and that last hill became impossible to ride. I had to be pulled up it by spectators. But I’ll be back next year to win this race.”
The Nantmawr Quarry in the normally tranquil town of Oswestry is the proud home of The Tough One, a formidable test for even the most experienced Enduro riders. Among the unique features that mark out The Tough One as a race only for the most fearless bikers is the start line. Every competitor must scramble up 200 metres from the bottom of Nantmawr Quarry to collect their bikes before the Enduro riding even begins. Then the bikers are plunged back down into the quarry on their bikes at top speed and avoiding the big boulders becomes the number one priority. At the end of the race the riders get together to compare not just their times but also their battle scars. One more thing, the race takes place in Wales in the middle of winter so remember to pack your thermal underpants.
The annual Erzbergrodeo at Ezberg does not discriminate against age or experience. Factory riders go head-to-head with amateurs in this Austrian race as they attempt to tackle The Iron Giant. 1500 entrants battle out the prologue stage before the 500 starting berths are decided. The Iron Giant tests bikers stamina, courage and riding skills in this ultimate two-wheeled challenge. The general feeling among the world’s best bikers is that this race in Austria remains Enduro’s toughest single day race.
L’Enduropale du Touquet remains among the aristocracy of global Enduro events. The town of Le Touquet came to the fore the in the roaring 1920s when well-to-do Europeans would come to the French seaside town to enjoy their summer holidays. Fast forward half a decade and the godfather of Enduro, the one and only Thierry Sabine, arrived and saw the potential for an off-road bike race on the region’s beaches. The race attracts about half a million petrol-crazed fans, if you fancy getting involved there is no charge for parking road bikes at the circuit, no charge to camp with the thousands of other fans along the beach and best of all, no charge to take in the action. What are you waiting for?