What is Enduro 2?
Enduro 2 is the Blue Ribbon category of the three principal classes in the FIM Maxxis Enduro World Championship. It permits the entry of machinery of up to 250cc two strokes and 450cc four strokes. Enduro 2 bikes are denoted by their white front and side numbers on red backgrounds. After winning the 2008 Enduro 2 World Championship title Yamaha returns to Enduro 2 competition with the revolutionary WR450F four-stroke.
If motocross racers are short-distance sprinters enduro riders are the marathon runners of the off-road motorcycle world. While motocrossers race around closed circuits consisting of man-made obstacles and jumps, one of the greatest challenges faced by an enduro rider is the need to perform on all off-road terrains. Riding a motorcycle through mostly unknown, natural terrain – stones, mud, sand or hard-packed ground – is an enduro rider’s greatest pleasure.
The most predominant type of enduro event is the one run at the Enduro World Championship (EWC). An international series consisting of 16 races based on 8 events, which run over a period of 3 days from Friday evening (Super Test) to Saturday (Race 1) and Sunday (Race 2). EWC rounds are held all-over the world, from the dusty paths of Agadir in Morocco, to the muddy forests of northern Europe. The World Enduro Championship (lately renamed to EWC) was first organized in 1990, replacing the FIM European Enduro Championship, which had been contested since 1968.
An enduro race is a time-card event, where riders arrive at pre-determined locations following a specific time-schedule. Any early or late arrival to that location is penalized and this extra time is added to the rider’s overall times from the special tests. Special tests are the battlegrounds of riders during an enduro race. They can be made of any kind of off-road path, single trail, forest road, grass-field or any other terrain. The route is clearly marked with coloured ribbon from start to finish and always closed to any kind of traffic. The distance that has to be covered during a racing day is close to 250 kilometres, divided into 3 to 4 long laps. Every lap contains an enduro test, a motocross test and an extreme test.
Riders enter special tests alone, with small time margins between them and are racing in a time trial against the clock. The rider with the fastest time from the culmination of all special tests will win the race. EWC features three major classes (Enduro 1, Enduro 2 and Enduro 3), along with three separate categories for junior, youth (125cc) and female riders. Apart from being fit and able to perform for almost seven hours per day, enduro riders also need to be prepared to recognise any changes in the terrain, adjusting their riding techniques and changing their riding lines accordingly. Plus they should always take good care of their motorcycle.
Before the first day of racing in each round, they are only allowed to walk, but never ride, the special tests. In average, each rider will walk each special test 3 to 4 times during the days leading up to a race. Experience plays a key role in enduro racing. Usually Pro riders need to have previously completed a multi-year “apprentice” in enduro racing before they can gain consistency and be on the hunt for a title.
An enduro motorcycle should be registered as street-legal, in order to compete. Riders have to take care of their own motorcycles during a race and need to be able to fix minor damages. At the end of each day they have to change tyres and perform a series of basic maintenance tasks in a restricted time limit.
While the EWC is being held throughout the year and each rider solely represents himself and his team, the “Olympic Games” of enduro take place once a year and are known as the International Six Days Enduro (ISDE). The ISDE is the oldest off-road racing event in the calendar of the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM), the governing body of the sport. The ISDE has been held since 1913, bringing together riders who represent their national teams.
There are six riders in the World Trophy team, four riders in the Junior Trophy team and three riders in the Women’s Trophy team. The race runs over a period of six days. In 2014, the 88th edition of the ISDE took place in San Juan, Argentina. While there is an average of 80 participants in each EWC race, the ISDE usually sees more than 400 riders at the starting line. The 2013 ISDE held in Sardinia had a record pre-entry of 820 riders! The 2016 FIM ISDE will take place in Navarra, Spain on October 11 to 16.