Hard enduro is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a hard (difficult) version of enduro (endurance) offroad motorcycle racing.
Enduro is short for “endurance”. It’s worth remembering that enduro is a race to the finish. There are no prizes in hard enduro if the rider does not “endure”. There are no points for skill, finesse, or style – only getting it done faster than everyone else (within the rules).
Hard enduro is fairly easy to understand. Essentially, a challenging course is laid out over extreme terrain, and riders using enduro motorcycles compete to see who can complete the course fastest. Usually, several checkpoints are set up to track and record each competitors times (on the day or overall race times), ultimately showing who’s has the fastest combined time.
The actual style of hard enduro is a “rallye” in that racers go from set point to point with timed stages. There are time penalties (time added-on to a racers’ total time) for certain things including missing the course track (shortcutting or getting lost), arriving too late to a checkpoint as well as other things.
The course is usually laid out with markers like plastic tape, painted indicators, or signs so racers know where to go. In some races, GPS is used by the racers to follow the route. Often, both these types of navigation are used in a race.
Hard enduro is so-called due to the course terrain. Whereas other, more traditional enduro events are certainly “off-road”, hard enduro puts riders and machines on tracks that many would find difficult to simply walk. The highest (gold) class riders will traverse obstacles such as rocks, streams, very steep hills (both up and down), forests, sand, extreme mud, and other very difficult conditions. In some races, even buildings or man-made structures are used as course obstacles. Races are held in all-weather from hot and dry to cold and wet.
A hard enduro race will last several hours and can be one or several consecutive days. Some famous enduro races will have riders racing ten hours a day for four or more days. The level of rider skill and fitness, along with the capabilities of the motorcycles are pushed to the absolute limit, making hard enduro one of, if not the, most demanding motorsports available.
In many races, a prologue event is held before the main race. This event is a shorter race (often only 30 minutes) to determine the racers’ starting positions. The prologue can consist of a shortened part of the main course, or a man-made obstacle course with jumps, positioned rocks, logs, fast sections etc., often in a multi-lap circuit style. This makes the event easier to watch for spectators as it is completed in a much more condensed area.
There are several competitive levels in hard enduro and they are named differently depending on the series organizers or championship but for ease, we’ll use the ones often referred to in the European races. Atom and Iron are the two newer levels for beginner racers and these are followed by recognizable bronze, silver and gold classes.
The classes are differentiated by the course route more than the allowable time. Whilst an Atom or Iron rider will have offroad obstacles to negotiate, the Bronze to Gold riders will encounter extreme terrain with escalating difficulty by class. Thus, the riders compete in a class with other riders with similar skill and endurance levels.
The motorcycles used are enduro-style offroad machines made by several manufacturers including Sherco, Honda, Beta, KTM, Husqvarna, and Gas Gas. They are similar to Motocross machines but have different suspension set-ups, wheel size, gearing and come with lights for nighttime riding. Both two and four-stroke machines are used, but often with a higher number of two strokes usual in a race.
On this website, you will find races all-over the world. Some of them are large and famous international events and others are more local races. You will see different race series and be able to connect with races that interest you.
See you at the start line.