It’s hard not to prefer the sprint enduro format after seeing how much fun they are to ride. The fouled plugs worked tirelessly to put this one together and it showed. Even the rain couldn’t spoil this one!
Kearney, Ontario is about 15 mins north of Huntsville and would be home to this new race on the Off-road Ontario Schedule. It’s not very often a race has the full support of the town it’s held in, but in this case the fouled plugs were welcomed with open arms. The land is conveniently located right next the local Legion where riders could get breakfast, dinner and drinks. This Legion would also be host to the award ceremony following the race.
The morning met us with some pretty heavy rainfall. Luckily the venue has some decent cover from the rain so we were able to stay dry during the riders meeting. 115 riders would make the trek up the Kearney and I doubt any would leave disappointed. Spectators would be in luck as well since much of the second test and endurocross section were visible after only a short walk from the parking lot.
There were three different tests set up for the Brush Axe sprint enduro. Test one was a fresh cut fast single track, test two was a GP style MX test in a sand pit and the third test featured technical single track and endurocross. The format for the day would have the majority of riders completing each of the three tests, three times. Pro, expert and vet AA would ride these tests four times. There were no transit sections between tests so anytime you were riding, you were racing!
Test 1 – Single track
The first test was mostly single track and it was fast! The trail would open up just enough to get some speed going before turning tightly over and over again. The first run through was super slippery thanks to the rain. Throttle control and a keen eye would save your butt here as rogue stumps were everywhere. By the second and third run through, the rain lightened up, ruts started to form in the corners and the trail got even faster. There was a small collection of logs right near the finish that made things quite interesting for riders that were pushing for those last few seconds.
Test 2 – GP style sand track
You either made up time in this test, or you lost it. Staged in a sand pit, this test favoured the motocross riders. This is where we were glad to have all that rainfall. Corners developed deep lines very quickly and if your front wheel ventured out of this line, you’re most likely going down. Wallrides and switchbacks would really test the riders sand riding skills. The loop ended with two long straights that allowed riders to really open it up. The smell of burnt clutch plates really filled the air on this one.
Test 3 – Technical woods and endurocross
By far the most fun test. I could make a lap of this loop and ride it all day. Although the rain made the first attempt quite slick, it tacked up really well as the day went on. Starting with some mud holes and surprise rocks this test really tested your grip strength. Some surprise climbs would excite the more technical riders. Luckily the fouled plugs made sure each hill had multiple lines to avoid bottlenecks. To make things even more interesting, some of the climbs had a pile of logs at the bottom that were just waiting to steal your traction and ruin your momentum.
At some point during this test, riders that raced the Mexican 500 would start having nightmarish flashbacks at this point. The dreaded tire section would be up first up in the endurocross section followed by the “big log”. They also built a log matrix around a corner, a double with a couple bridges across the top and a big drainage tunnel to go up and over. This type of riding although dreaded by some makes for some really exciting riding. I’m glad the fouled plugs included these features. Riders that may not have finished at the front of their class could still go home a winner if they tackled an obstacle that day they had never seen before or never attempted.
There’s much to love about the sprint enduro format. What I like most is how laid back it is. You can go back to your truck, make changes to your bike or even spectate between tests.
The fouled plugs are now responsible for one of the best races of the year. The Brush Axe certainly lived up to the hype. The boys will have some serous work to do next year to one up this event.
Thank you to the fouled plugs, Off-road Ontario, GP Bikes and all other race sponsors for making this event happen. Thanks also to Jill Carney for the photos and Facebook live videos throughout the event.
Most of all Thank you everybody for reading!
Check it out from the riders perspective: