Undoubtedly the UK’s largest Enduro Mountain Bike event, it was once again a huge success providing riders and festival goers bang for their buck and an unforgettable weekend.
Somehow a year has past since the last Ard Rock event. Last year was my 2nd year to attend the event and it was huge. I was wondering how they could surpass the event in 2018 but it’s safe to say, in my opinion anyway, they smashed the ball out of the park, and put on the best Ard Rock Enduro to date. 2018 ArdRock Enduro sold out in minutes and would be an exceptional event once again. The flurry of clicking mouse’s across the country and people hoping for an entry will have led to mixed emotions. Those lucky enough to get an entry will have been like kids on the edge of their seat all year. Excitedly waiting to pack the van, a Volkswagen Transporter by all accounts, and head to the ‘remote’ village of Reeth in the Yorkshire Dales. There were sadly those that wouldn’t make the cut and would have to make other plans and look on in envy as riders took to the perfectly marked out stages twisting and carving their way down the rocky outcrops of the Yorkshire Dales.
The event has seen exponential growth, growing over the years, adding more races, bigger bands, more fields and well just a more explosive feel to the already fantastic atmosphere.
With 4500 riders across the 4 events plus the other family members, spectators, bike testers and industry people there must be in excess of 10,000 people. Most camp out in the expansive site that mixes family camping with standard ‘rowdy’ camping. What’s amazing is the atmosphere. It’s friendly, fun and positive. Everyone is there to have a good time. It’s competitive but relaxed. Being there to ride with friends, hit tracks you normally couldn’t ride and enjoy the atmosphere is what it’s all about. If you’re not enjoying cold beers then there are crepes, delicious pizzas and all manner of good food to get stuck into. This year the UK Foo Fighters headlined but also riders such as Zeb Co (https://www.instagram.com/zeb_co/?hl=en) and Alyssa Podesta (https://www.instagram.com/alyssapodesta/?hl=en) took to the stage and put on a real show. Music flowed all weekend between prize give away, raffles, pump track racing and the chance to hit the airbag.
The tracks this year were similar to last year. In the main event an additional stage was added in, increasing the total stage to 7. It’s a healthy sized loop at about 45km with 1500m of climbing (and descending). This might not seem much but temperatures were in the 20’s and made things a lot harder in the heat. Punctures were common, running wide on corners even more so. A mix of practiced trails on the Friday and some blind stages makes racing interesting for sure. Every year things are a little different so hitting the tracks at race pace is a challenge.
Racing was exciting but it would be two UK superstars that would take the overall male and female wins. Two names everyone is familiar with. Stave Peat and Tracey Moseley. It’s quite amazing to see them return and clean up once again. It’s testament to their ability and incredible fitness they still maintain despite not being ‘pro’ these days. I’m sure they ride plenty though! Congrats to them both. It must have been their years of WC racing and hitting fast grassy turns which were so typical of the old racetracks. Just check out the clip below!
I settled with a 10th in Senior after a couple of steady stages. It was young team rider Dan who would grab the Wideopenmag limelight and jump onto the sprint podium taking 2nd in Junior and 2nd overall on the 3 stage track. Now he’s coming out of recovery from a broken wrist earlier in the year his riding is coming together as the season approaches the final few months.
Make sure you’re keeping an eye on when entries go live for 2019. It will once again sell out in a blink of an eye but I wouldn’t let that stop you from going along for the weekend. There’s so many brands there with demo bikes and a chance to take them around the demo loop, head up and watch the endure or give the Marathon riders a shout around the 60km loop which differs to the Enduro loop..