Story by Kevin Novello Photos by Art Pepin
How did the first Sprint Enduro go?
It went awesome! And in a lot of different ways. Everyone that tried it seemed to love it, whether they were a motocrosser, Hare Scrambler, Enduro rider or J Day regular. People left saying that they wanted to do more. I honestly didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know how a die-hard enduro rider or MX’er would like it, but the feedback was great. It was also a lot less hectic and chaotic, which seems odd with three different tests going on at once, but overall it went very smooth. Everyone seemed to like the laid back atmosphere.
What were some of the challenges in putting it on?
Logistically it was a bit of challenge with scoring and the layout. We had 18 people working checks and doing back-up – which was the bare minimum. It was harder to staff because we had to have sweep riders on each of the three courses at all times throughout the day. Track-wise it was a decent amount of work getting three tracks ready. We didn’t have to do any grooming but still spent a lot of time trimming trail. We then went through 22 bundles of stakes and 40 rolls of ribbon, so it was much more costly in the way of supplies and man hours.
We also tried to keep it simple by having all three starts and finishes within close proximity to one another and have each test be about 10 minutes long. When we ended up test riding the woods loop, it was about nine minutes which meant the other tests would be slightly shorter because we had them inside the woods loop. I understand why the Euros use one test loop instead of three, but at the same time, I could see it getting old riding the same loop 10-12 times.
I also think the word “enduro” may have scared some people. However, they seemed to take it on faith that I would put on a good event and make it fun.
Is there anything you would do differently?
The C riders wanted more tests. We should have had them do three tests instead of two but we weren’t sure of what to expect for turn out or how long the lines would be. So instead, we bumped the number of laps to four for the afternoon race. We’ll have it fixed for next time.
What were some of the factors behind wanting to put on a Sprint Enduro?
After doing World Enduro and riding those tests and then seeing what they are doing over in England, it seemed like such a cool form of racing to have here. It really works with my view of J Day racing where riders push the envelope and the spectators get to watch it. It’s also nice to have something for riders that don’t necessarily want to deal with a 40 person start or complicated rules. Some people like racing the clock as opposed to banging bars.
What will riders find appealing about this form of racing?
I think the laid back atmosphere will appeal to a lot of people. It was much more laid back than a typical J Day event. Again, some guys just like competing against themselves and riding the pace they are comfortable with. I also think that this style of racing will entice other J Day riders, MX’ers and guys that don’t want to register their bikes and go through the hurdles of competing in a traditional enduro. This should also appeal to entry level riders who don’t want to deal with a mass start and just want to go at their own pace and test the waters to see how they stack up.
What are the odds that we will see a series here in New England?
I honestly don’t have an answer yet . I’ll look for some feedback and see how people feel about it after some time passes. There ‘s also only so many dates in a season. We won’t overlap with another J Day and try hard not to conflict with a NETRA Hare Scramble. Saturdays may be an option, too. There will most likely be at least one next year. But as far as a full series, right now I’d put it at about 50/50.