Hopetech Women’s Enduro proves a huge success story

The podium finishers at Gisburn Forest
The podium finishers at Gisburn Forest
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Gisburn Forest was again the venue for the second annual Hopetech Women’s Enduro – the biggest all women’s mountain bike race in the UK.

The event was organised by Barnoldswick-based bicycle and component manufacturer Hope Technology, in conjunction with local race organisers PMBA.

Over 300 women raced down three stages at the popular mountain biking venue, with competitors ranging from National champions through to novice riders.

Hope Technology’s Brand Manager Rachael Walker was delighted with the day and said: “When we started this event last year, we never thought it would quickly turn into something so big.

“The event sold out in a matter of weeks.

“It’s amazing to see so many ladies thoroughly enjoying a day out racing and hopefully it will encourage more to join the sport.”

Riders travelled from all over the country to compete, despite the less than favourable weather forecast.

The event also attracted large numbers of spectators, and the final stage looked more like a World Cup race with spectators lining the track, cheering riders on with cow bells.

Walker added: “It’s a very family friendly event, with all the riders encouraging each other through the stages and we will certainly be back next year”

The race consists of an 11-mile loop, with three stages of differing styles.

“Homebaked” was the first stage, a tight stage, with slippery roots and a superb rocky staircase feature.

The second stage “Long Way Down”, started near the Whelpstone Crag and crossed rocks before a fire-road uphill sprint to the new trail, with big sweeping berms and off camber trail centre gravel.

Stage three, “the Hopeline” saw jumps, drops and tight berms.

A total of 247 women raced on the day, with the elites recording some of the fastest times.

Martha Gill (Elite) was the overall fastest and elite winner on the day in 6:09.21, closely followed by Katy Curd (Elite) 5.19 seconds behind.

Third fastest was Megan James (U21) in 6:21.30.

The fastest three of each category, including the Grand Veterans (50+) finished in the top 36 overall.

Karen Van Meerbeeck was first in the veterans (40-49), and eighth overall.