When I think about hard enduro little tingles run through my small bits. I am sure it is much the same for you lot out there (though I know none of you will admit it out loud).
However, when I think about Stadium Super Enduro, stranger things happen. My mind is immediately corrupted with visions of a dystopian battleground where the two-stroke smoke is so thick you could cut it with a sickle.
I think Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome and the back of my mind resonates with that chant: “two men enter, one man leaves; two men enter, one man leaves”.
I think Hunger Games and I pray that the odds are ever in the favour of each and every rider whose eyes are fixed on the first obstacle that they are about to hit hard, with the throttle pegged to the stopper. Worse…… I think Squid Games and we all know how that ended.
The first round of the Australian Superenduro Championship (https://superenduro.com.au/) will not end the same way as the Squid Games – of that, I am sure. But I am willing to bet one of my small tingly bits that it will be every bit as exciting.
Such an epic event is for the Australian dirt bike racing scene, and riders are coming from all over Australia and halfway around the world to get amongst it.
From the farthest reaches of our wide brown land, WRD has already packed the toiletries and trailers for two of their top riders, both of which are now bound for Ballarat. Darren Rudling has been smashing it at the gym over the summer in prep for 2023. But fire bans, which mean riding restrictions, over here in W.A. have all but kept him off the bike. Regardless, he is singularly focused on the track and whatever elements need to be negotiated to deliver a win.
Wade Ibrahim on the other hand? Well, Wade pulled a Kevin Costner and went all “Field of Dreams” on his property in sunny Victoria. He has created his very own super enduro play pen in which he is currently honing his enduro X skills. He full intends to go all “Running of the Bull” on the rest of the field at Ballarat.
Yes; Ballarat becomes the Thunderdome on the weekend of the 25th of February for Round 1 of the ASC Series. The overwhelming interest in the event has led to somewhere around 80 riders entering. As a consequence, the organizers have sanctioned a Pro, Expert, Intermediate and Veterans class.
Eds Note: To be fair the Veterans could just about be called “Those slightly older than those that are a bit younger”, as many of these ‘V’s could smoke the bulk of the litter on any given day of the week. These lads have nitrous in their lungs and nails cursing through their veins. But insurance dictated only 2 x 10 on the gate in each class, so a line had to be drawn in the sand.
And don’t be thinking this sand pit is only for the boys. Twice Australian Hard Enduro champion Cheyenne Jones will be banging her front tyre on the gate as will 24-year-old Queensland racer Ebony Nielsen.
The format is, for want of a better word, bloody thoroughly well-considered. The organisers are working toward matching the racing format of the World SuperEnduro Series. But in recognising that ASC is in its infancy they have gone for a format that balances track time and spectator content with flexibility and workability.
In short, they want it to work and work well. These guys are not trying to walk before they can crawl but DAMN, they can crawl and crawl well!
There are two Moto rounds and three Sprint rounds. Qualifying (the day prior) determines what class each rider competes in. The Hot Laps determine the starting positions for the first Moto. This’ll keep the first Moto safe and clean. Moto 2 is a reverse grid that will throw the cat among the pigeons and make the top riders work hard for the flag. Sprint rounds are then dialled into the mix to wind it up for the crowd. Sprint rounds mean the riders must keep it pinned until the crowd’s heads all pop completely off. It is going to be epic.
Nerves are going to bouncing like valves and I am fairly confident that not everyone is going to start the day the right way up. Even with the full spec WRD / Bunbury KTM underneath the cheeks to give him all the confidence in the world, Wade Ibrahim reckons that sitting on the blocks at a Super Enduro is more intense than waiting on the start line at Erzeberg!!!!
Says the Bull “It’s so short and intense and one mistake can cost you big time; damage to the bike and injury”.
For sure a crowd does something to you and only the best and most composed riders are going to be able to disassociate themselves from the spectacle and race the good race, from start to finish. I am certain at least one or two of the riders will feel a little like the cow that was lowered into the Raptor pen in the first Jurassic Park!
Let’s see what the best of the best and all of the rest will bring to Ballarat. Stand back. Round 1 of the ASC will go off.
The Australian SuperEnduro Championship will be held at the Ballarat Showgrounds, Vic on the 25th of February. More info is available at: https://superenduro.com.au/