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Brief History Of Enduro

 

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.

 

Time-keeping enduros

 

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: 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, 2–3 inches (5–8 cm) 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 help 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 the roll-chart doesn't show them.

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.