Racing -

Big Picture | The Muckmedden Forfar Funduro – Scottish Gold

As I cut left then right through the dry dusty singletrack I marveled at the unexpectedly amazing trail. A blind crest snapped into view but this was a ‘Fun’duro right – no danger? Surely there would be nothing too technical. Hitting the crest flat out I was suddenly aware that the ground had dropped away and I was in freefall! For the next few seconds after I reconnected with the ground and proceeded to merrily ride down the trail on my front wheel, I had some time to ponder over my predicament, “who would have thought this little hill in Angus would have such cool trails”, “this is quite spicy for a blind race” and “doesn’t the front wheel look big from an inch away”


The beautiful Reid Park would play host to the event, with 16.5 acres and 10,000 trees to dodge
The beautiful Reid Park would play host to the event, with 16.5 acres and 10,000 trees to dodge
Morning coffees were the order of the day
Morning coffees were the order of the day
'Hook a goody bag', the event was perfect for families
‘Hook a goody bag’, the event was perfect for families

After a cracking day at the Eliminator race earlier in the year, events maestro and head mucker, Aaron Muckmedden told me that if there’s one race that you do this year, make it the Forfar Funduro. I have to admit that despite living in Scotland for 5 years I had never been to Forfar, in fact I didn’t entirely know where it was, and I was even more dubious as we entered the event car park as the hill looked pretty small for an enduro, even a fun one.

As registration rolled on, the young guns started to session the lower slopes
As registration rolled on, the young guns started to session the lower slopes
The wood fired pizza oven was fired up in preparation for 200 hungry riders
The wood fired pizza oven was fired up in preparation for 200 hungry riders
You would not mess with this banana
You would not mess with this banana
As with all Muckmedden events, there were plenty of wee rippers
As with all Muckmedden events, there were plenty of wee rippers

However, the event was being hosted by the excellent Angus Cycle Hub and Muckmedden so I knew we would be well looked after. Right from the off the fun factor was being turned up to 11, with a live band blaring catchy tunes from the bandstand, and like a blast from my childhood a ‘hook a duck’ tombola stand. The beautiful park was bristling with riders setting up their bikes, catching up with old buddies and hunting for good coffee. This was to be a ‘funduro’ aimed purely at fun and giggles without the ‘checking out the completion’ carpark stares that have become all too common at other events. Any last ‘serious’ vibes were lost as three giant bananas wheelied round the grassy pits, this was going to be a great day.

The Forfar funduro was wrapped up inside the Angus Cycling Festival, run by the Angus Cycling Hub and many families were in attendance. It is great to see so many kids getting stoked on the sport, and the oganisers had put a lot of time into making the events as spectator friendly as possible.

Riders were released in waves of 20, keen to see what the funduro had in store
Riders were released in waves of 20, keen to see what the funduro had in store
With a blind run down the first four stages excitement was high
With a blind run down the first four stages excitement was high
The trails mixed high speed sections with cheeky technical features
The trails mixed high speed sections with cheeky technical features

After climbing to the top of the small hill, we were expecting a pretty pedally (may I say it boring) stage – well smack us in the face with a kipper as we could not have been more wrong. The trails were simply outrageous fun! Even though each stage was only around two minutes long, every second was filled with riotously good features, fast berms, big compressions, blind chutes and awesome step ups. It required maximum concentration to ride flat out, but could easily be navigated by someone new to the sport. They were the sort of trails you could happily ride all day, each time finding more flow while simply trying to hang onto it.

Full gas into the blind corners
Full gas into the blind corners
The trails were amazing, everyone was grinning like a loon
The trails were amazing, everyone was grinning like a loon
The team had certainly been busy with the tools
The team had certainly been busy with the tools

Stages One, Two, Three and Four were all to be repeated twice, once blind and then once again a little hotter. All featured amazing riding, from the surprise ledges and chutes of Stage One to the mind-altering straight line, tree-dodging racetrack of Stage Four. The team had obviously worked super hard, with huge wooden structures dominating some of the stages. The quarry terrain that characterised the lower half of the stages was filled with ‘sporty’ lines and shin whacking slate. There was plenty of pedalling to do at the start of Stage Two and Three too, and all out in the open so the queuing riders could witness your pedalling prowess, or your feeble efforts.

Conditions were excellent for Scotland, dry as a bone
Conditions were excellent for Scotland, dry as a bone
We were impressed with the Angus trails
We were impressed with the Angus trails
Smashing into the quarry
Smashing into the quarry

Stage Nine took the riders back into the main arena, and caught many by surprise with a couple of cheeky rocky drops, before a new wooden bridge that must have been built by someone with a good sense of humour, mercilessly firing you out on a bank that defined off-camber. After a delirious ‘enduro line’ sprint over an open corn field and a ‘thread the needle’charge over the bridge it was over…

Spirits were high on the transitions
Spirits were high on the transitions
I had a cracking day, the team had certainly put the fun back in enduro
I had a cracking day, the team had certainly put the fun back in enduro
Stage 9 held a few cheeky surprises
Stage 9 held a few cheeky surprises

But there was still more to come, and the best had been saved for last. Two by two riders lined up for the final dual slalom, one lap on each side. Descending into a busy arena, racers pedalled their socks off of to finish first on the fun stage. After the grassy slalom came a couple of grassy banks that could be hucked, and then a charge to the final ‘road gap’ booter.

While everyone tucked into post-race pizza the atmosphere was buzzing. We have done our fair share of racing all over the world, and second for second, we would happily agree that the trails in Forfar were a rival to the best of them, what a great surprise. While the rest of the enduro world was getting their fix from the Enduro World Series in Spain, something really awesome was going on in Angus. The team put on a great show.

Spectator or a secret liaison?
Spectator or a secret liaison?
Hitting this blind was certainly unexpected
Hitting this blind was certainly unexpected
This guy fears no danger
This guy fears no danger
Dual slalom action
Dual slalom action
Speed tuck and go for it!
Speed tuck and go for it!

Results

Full results can be downloaded here, thank you once again to the Angus Cycling Festival and Muckmedden for putting the fun back into endure, and we look forward to their next events, the Falkirk Fundro and the Fair City Enduro in Perth (entries can still be brought here)

The fastest riders of the day were Neil Danskin and Yvonne Hay
The fastest riders of the day were Neil Danskin and Yvonne Hay

Words:Trevor Worsey Photos: Cat Smith