On March 5, 2023, the Auto Cycle Union (ACU) British Extreme Enduro Championship officially got off to an extremely rocky and muddy start for the season. The opening event took place in Tong, Bradford, West Yorkshire, and was the first chapter of a planned five-round series for 2023. If you enjoy seeing bikes and riders seemingly defying both gravity and the natural environment at the same time, this is definitely the series for you.
How did this particular event go? Does the name Billy Bolt ring a bell? If you’re at all familiar with the extremely talented enduro rider’s accomplishments thus far, it won’t surprise you that he finished first in the pro class at Tong. Even though his 2022 Hard Enduro World Championship season was cut short by an urgent need for wrist surgery back in July of that year, the two-time SuperEnduro champ is clearly back to winning ways.
In the end, compatriots Mitch Brightmore and Dan Peace joined him on the podium in second and third places at Tong, respectively. Make no mistake, though—it was a hard slog, with every bit of accomplishment earned by all the competitors who placed well. Both live spectators and those who were nowhere near the scene on competition day can enjoy the intensity as the field advances up muddy embankments, over rocks and water crossings, and of course the occasional off and second try on particularly steep hill climbs.
Speaking of spectators, it’s astonishing how close they’re allowed to be to all the enduro action, staged on rocks, up trees, and on some of the hills behind cordons that the organizers have set up ahead of time. (World Rally Championship events used to have similar spectator standard areas, although I’m not certain if that’s still the case—but it’s the kind of thing that’s breathtaking to witness in person if you ever get the chance.)
Don’t get fooled into thinking that just because it’s not a world championship event, it’s somehow a comparatively tame event. If this phenomenal footage is anything to go by, there’s absolutely no way you can watch these racers do what they do and not come away impressed.