If there’s something extreme happening, you can trust RedBull to be part of it. For the past 34 years, the Swedes have been showing us how its done with the Gotland Grand National, one of the worlds most—if not the most grueling enduro race in the world. For the event’s 35th edition, we get to peek behind the curtain and follow the competitors in their muddy endeavor.
The Gotland Grand National was organized for the first time in 1984. The event is hosted every year in late October-early November in Visby, on the tiny island of Gotland, in Sweden. Through the years, a number of categories have been added to the event, including more recently an electric motorcycle challenge. The 2018 edition of the race saw over 3,000 off-road and enduro racers take on the Tofta shooting field where a 14-mile trail in the woods challenged the competitors looking to garner a few points in the World Enduro Super Series.
The images from the October 26 and 27 event are particularly spectacular. In fact, rain throughout the weekend turned the dirt trail into an extreme mud bath for the riders who ended up caked and wet. The difficult terrain also put the bikes to the test and as the images show, not every ride enjoyed the forced spa treatment.
RedBull released a short documentary about the 2018 event that in which we get to witness the spectacular standing start and the wet brown silhouettes with mud and water up to their knees, battling the terrain and tugging at our riders’ sympathy strings. Quite frankly, a lot of them end up looking like clay statues.
This year’s race ended up with an all-Swedish podium locals Albin Elowson, Robert Kvarnström, and Ken Bengston respectively ranking first, second, and third. In good old RedBull fashion, the images are impressive and you can’t help but want to see more of as racers and bikes tackle undoubtedly one of the most demanding races of their career. I feel like I need a shower just watching.