For the past decade, this side of the European pond the BEC (British Enduro Championship) has been to conduit for many young riders who aspire to world level. World champions Steve Holcolm, Brad Freeman, Jamie and Danny McCanney and the legendary David Knight have all cut their teeth at BEC level before moving on to greater things. Of course, not everyone aspires to or can be world champions but most want to challenge themselves. Down through the classes homegrown Irish riders have improved greatly through the TORC time card Enduros where a small band of dedicated workers put on excellent events added to by the Fastlane LX and now the slightly more extreme Proride series. All well run and good series however there is always the lure to pit the skills against a wider profile that the BEC can offer.
With the lifting of restrictions and the unfortunate cancellation of the first Home Enduro a band of 3: Angus Leonard, Jamie O’Keefe, Conor Dunne completed the administration task, entry applications and headed on the long journey south to Tiverton in Somerset venue of the EXMOOR Enduro Round one and two of the BEC. Unusually even for a BEC the programme contained a 20-mile loop 3 checks and three tests each lap of an 8-to-12-minute duration …. A MX, Extreme and Enduro test ridden 4 times on Saturday for the experts, 3 for the Clubman …… 3 and 2 times on Sunday. That is 21 tests for the Experts, 13 for the Clubman, a lot of test time on physical demanding and some technical terrain with one tight check …… not something the group are used to either walking or riding. All day Friday was spent walking as there are no pre-runs through the tests. It would be debatable if walking such test distances is entirely beneficial but many do so twice. It is the nature, length and number of tests that distinguishes a BEC from our own events. Given the number of riders the tests can change greatly during the event with ruts to corners and along the very fast grassy fields. Angus and Jamie rode the expert class Conor the Clubman all completing the two days tired but satisfied. Final results are not published to date (the one bad point to the event), suffice that none made the podium, acquitting themselves well nonetheless to a faster pace. Every day and every event are a learning curve.