Enduro is a form of motorcycle sport run on courses that are predominantly off-road. Enduro consists of many different obstacles and challenges. The main type of enduro event, and the format to which the World Enduro Championship is run, is a time-card enduro, whereby a number of stages are raced in a time trial against the clock.
Although the term enduro often applies to any type of long-distance, off-road motorcycle races, its true technical definition usually refers to a set of rules, varying by the events' governing body, that specify exactly when a rider should arrive at certain pre-defined locations along a prescribed route. The object of the event is to arrive at those locations exactly per the defined schedule, with early or late arrivals resulting in penalties to the riders' scores. This sort of event is not technically a Race, but rather it is a Time Keeping event.
In a true enduro timekeeping event, riders leave together in groups called, in the USA, "rows," and each row starts on a certain minute. For example, if in a particular Enduro the first row leaves at 8AM, and a certain rider's row is scheduled to leave at 08:20, then the event's Key Time is 08:00 and every rider on Row 20 (usually 4 riders per row) has as his/her minute 20, because his/her start time will be 08:20. To be "on his/her minute," a rider must arrive at certain non-disclosed locations known as checkpoints along the route at the prescribed time, which is the prescribed time for Row 0 plus 20 minutes. There are different types of checkpoints, such as known checks, secret checks, emergency checks, start checks, and finish checks, and points are calculated differently depending on how late or early a rider arrives at each type of check. For example, emergency checks are used to break scoring ties and points are calculated depending on the number of seconds that a rider is early or late, whereas in a standard secret check, points are calculated based on the number of minutes that a rider is early or late.
There are also special tests which are sections which may be walked only, not ridden, before the event where, during the event, the distance between the 'test-start' and 'test-finish' must be covered as quickly as possible. Electronic timing is used to separate riders times by thousandths of a second to determine a result in the case of a tie. This is the part of the course that often attracts most spectators. Other spectator points are usually 'bog-holes' or awkward and difficult stream and river crossings out on the 'open' part of the course.
There are very specific rules governing where race-sponsors may place checks, and what types. The rules usually refer to a distance from previous checks, or minimum distances for certain stops such as fuel stops. The careful placement of checks to confuse riders is part of the appeal to Enduro enthusiasts. A good Enduro rider is as familiar with the rules and possibilities as the race organizers, and therefore can predict where checks may or may not be, and rides accordingly to ensure that he/she arrives at the next check as close to his scheduled minute as possible.
Riders in the USA use "Roll Charts" (which are provided by the race organizers) to guide them along the course. A roll chart is a small paper scroll, Template:Convert wide, that has all of the turns and known checkpoints listed. As the rider traverses the route, he/she advances his roll chart in sequence with the mileage listed on the odometer, and uses the markings on the chart and the trail to both navigate the course and to "stay on his minute." Not all checks are on the roll-chart, though. For example Secret Checkpoints are those which help to create scoring differentiation between riders by adding unpredictability to the route. They are called "secret" because they are unknown to the riders until they come upon them, as they don't exist on the roll-chart.
In recent years, Enduro Computers have become popular with some riders. Enduro Computers are small instruments that are attached to the bike's handlebars and that have a sensor/sender/magnet combination that calculates revolutions of the front wheel and sends the data to the computer. Once the roll-chart data have been entered, the Enduro Computer tells the rider a variety of information to remove the guesswork from roll-chart reading. Enduro Computers come pre-programmed with the Enduro rules (depending on which rules are being used), and once programmed with the roll-chart of a particular event, can tell the rider when to expect an upcoming unknown check, speed averages, how much faster or slower he/she must ride to "get back on his/her minute," distance travelled, speed, etc... Using an Enduro Computer removes the guesswork from Enduro riding, and by using one, the mental part of the Enduro competition is greatly reduced. Many people have likened Enduro Computers to cheating, while others consider them to be boons to the sport. Either way, using an Enduro Computer absolves the rider from having to learn the specifics of the rules, all of the possible circumstances that could be encountered during a race, etc... Some people consider that to be a bad thing, and most top riders use both a standard roll chart (which they know how to use very well) and an Enduro Computer, just in case the computer somehow breaks during an event. In Britain, the 'long-distance' enduros, whilst declining, are still run to the form of time-card events.
Throughout a day there will also be allocated periods for refuelling and servicing the machine. Penalties apply for not meeting defined times or for outside-assistance when not permitted.
A world championship course must be at least 200 km and a maximum of 30% of its length can be on asphalt roads. American Motorcycle Association rules governing course length and other course variables (i.e. speed average changes, terrain types, etc...) are different, and the rules of the regional sanctioning body can also affect the ultimate composition of an Enduro course.
Enduros vs. ralliesEdit
Casual observers often confuse the two different types of events, enduros and rallies, but within the international off-road motorcycle community, the term enduro refers specifically to time keeping events. Rallies, on the other hand, are simply a course that has a start and finish, and the competitors try to race to achieve the fastest time from start to finish. Such courses may be shorter than the total length of the race, in which case the course is repeated several times, with each repetition being referred to as a lap. Such courses may also be very long such that competitors never cover the same ground twice.
Certainly part of the confusion stems from the fact that rallies and enduros share two pronounced qualities; they are usually lengthy compared to most forms of motorsport racing and they cover varying off-road terrain, usually without repeating any section of the terrain in the course of an event. Examples of such rallies include the Baja 500 and Baja 1000 which are promoted and administered by SCORE International and are amongst the most well known long-distance off-road races. Off-road races that span multiple days and that have different types of stages, some that are timed and others that are not, are generally referred to as rallies (or rallyes) or rally raids (a term widely used in the United Kingdom that is synonymous with off-road rally), examples of which include the Dakar Rally.
An enduro motorcycle is specialized for nature of the sport, with the deep suspension of a motocross bike combined with the features required to make it legal for the public road portions of the course. Engines are generally single-cylinder two-stroke between 125 and 300 cm³ (cc), or four-stroke between 250 and 650 cm³ (cc).
The World Enduro Championship and several other championships currently categorize enduro motorcycles into three classes; Enduro 1 (100 to 125 cc 2-stroke or 175 - 250 cc 4-stroke), Enduro 2 (175 to 250 cc 2-stroke or 290 - 450 cc 4-stroke) and Enduro 3 (290 to 500 cc 2-stroke or 475 - 650 cc 4-stroke).
Major events in the enduro calendar include the World Enduro Championship (WEC), the International Six Days Enduro (ISDE) and several national championships. The world governing body for enduro is the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM). In the United States, the national governing body is the American Motorcycle Association (AMA). In the United Kingdom, the national governing body is the Auto-Cycle Union.
World Enduro ChampionshipEdit
The World Enduro Championship (WEC) was started in 1990, replacing the European Enduro Championship, which had been contested since 1968. The championship is run under the FIM and generally consists of around eight or nine Grands Prix spread around the globe. These events are split into two days (and two different races), from which points towards the world championship are awarded. Each round includes a motocross test and an "extreme test", in addition to the enduro test.
The International Six Days Enduro (ISDE) has been held since 1913, and it is the oldest off-road event in the FIM calendar. The event brings together the best riders to represent their national team, and it is often referred to as the "World Cup of Enduro" or the "Olympics of Motorcycling".
AMA national and regional eventsEdit
The American Motorcycle Association is the primary sanctioning body for motorcycle races of all types in America. AMA series are often analogous to FIM series. The East Coast Enduro Association has multiple classes which are divided by bike type and rider demographic that allow a qualified rider to choose a class to compete in.
Each Class (A, B, C) is divided into sub-classes depending on machine type. Some examples include "C 4-stroke," "C-Veteran," "B 2-Stroke Light," "B 2-Stroke Heavy," etc... Generally speaking, there are rewards at both the event and season level for each sub-class (i.e., "I was the B 2-Stroke Light winner at this event...").
The following is a list of bike classes:
- Class AA - The most accomplished level of rider, same as "Class A,", but who competes for points as part of the AMA National Enduro Championship. For example, Mike Lafferty, who is the 7 time AMA National Champion, competes in the AA class.
- Class A - These are also the fastest riders, but they are not competing for points as part of the National Championship. Their awards are restricted to the AMA Region in which they compete. They are amateur participants, although they possess a skill level comparable to many of the AA riders.
- Class B - The is the second level of rider skill (one step up from the entry level C-class). Riders are "promoted" by the AMA when they have received a certain number of points (promotion points are different from the points that are awarded during a race; points during a race are bad, as the goal is to finish an event with as close to 0 points as possible, whereas title/promotion points are awarded at the end of each event depending on how well each rider performed - the dual use of the nomenclature "points" can often be confusing to outside observers, because the connotation of having points during an event is negative, whereas the connotation of having points relative to a rider's standing in a series is generally positive).
- Class C - This is the entry level where all new riders begin. All riders start off as C-Class riders and if they continue to participate in and finish events they will likely be promoted to B-class after 2 or 3 seasons. Exceptional riders will make the leap to B-Class after their first season because they will have accumulated the requisite points quickly enough.
Because of the variety of awards that are possible, riders are sometimes accused of sandbagging.
The popularity of enduro varies widely by continent, country, region, and even by event type. Some popular events are loosely categorized as enduros even though they fall into a category of off-road racing that is known as rally racing or rally raid.
In addition to rallying and rally raids, there are other off-road races that are very similar to enduros but that vary in that they are not necessarily timekeeping events and in that they are often sanctioned by other bodies than the primary enduro sanctioning bodies.
One example in the USA is the Grand National Cross Country, which more closely resembles hare scrambles than Enduros, but is on a shorter course of perhaps a few miles/kilometers in length that is repeated for several laps. GNCC is famous for the high level of ATV (four-wheeled off-road vehicles) competition in addition to motorcycle competition.
Notable Enduro ridersEdit
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