What is an Enduro?
A cross country time & reliability event held on forestry tracks, trails, fire breaks & open moorland riding motocross style machines. These bikes have to be road legal, have lights fitted and conform to road traffic legislation. An enduro is similar to a car rally in that competitors set off at staggered time intervals on a predetermined route The route will consist of a number of laps of a cross county route (a lap can be between 25 and 60 kilometres) marked with bright ‘dayglow’ arrows.
Throughout the course there are time checks and special tests similar to rally special stages. Competitors are penalised 60 points for each full minute they arrive early or late into the time check, and for every second taken riding the special test, riders are penalised one point. The winner is the rider with the least penalty points.
In theory, the times will be set to allow a break at nearly all the checks, but with one or two, the times will tighten so that you must ride at a reasonable pace to stay within the allowance.
In order to take part in organised competitions a rider must hold a current competition licence. In order to gain a licence a rider must be a member of a club affiliated to (approved by) the Centre. In this case the Motorcycling Ireland, Southern Centre.
As part of the licence application you may need a medical examination depending on the answers given in the self-medical questions on the licence application (page 5). This is the riders’ declaration that they are not suffering from any of the conditions listed on the application.
If the rider is suffering for any of the conditions listed then they must have the remainder of the medical section of the application completed, signed & stamped by a General Practitioner (GP) to declare that they are fit to take part in motorcycle events.
All riders must also attend an anti-doping seminar prior to applying for their licence.
One event licences are also available at event and must be applied for with the club running an event a week in advance of the event. A rider must still be able to show that they are a member of an affiliated club and have completed an anti-doping seminar.
NOTE: Riders on a one event licence will not be awarded Irish Enduro Championship points.
What class do I enter?
Novice Class: This was a class which was purely for beginners to allow riders to learn about the sport while having ample time to complete the course as laid out by the organisers.
Due to the small numbers in the sport in recent years and that most riders have some off road experience coming to their first event this class has been made obsolete and all riders can start in the Sportsman class.
Sportsman Class: This is the first of the graded classes and is a good class for riders who have some previous off road experience. Grade C motocross riders should consider this class.
The Irish, Veterans & TORC members Enduro Championships are available to the Sportsman class.
Clubman Class: Experienced off road racers with a reasonable level of bike fitness are more likely to start in this class. Top class C and lower grade B motocross riders should consider this as an entry point.
The Irish, Veterans & TORC members Enduro Championships are available to the Clubman class.
Senior Class: Entry to this class is restricted to those who have been promoted from previous grades or have raced motocross at a high (A/B) level.
The Irish, Veterans & TORC members Enduro Championships are available to the Senior class.
Expert Class: This is the class for the best Enduro riders in the country and they will all have achieved some degree of accomplishment in the sport. This class have to cover the greatest distance in the shortest amount of time at an event. Only top grade A motocross riders should consider this as an entry point.
The Irish, Veterans & TORC members Enduro Championships are available to the Expert class.
All motorcycles should be compliant with road regulations.
This is necessary as some events use public road liaison between parts of the course. The onus is on the rider to have these legal requirements in place. The organising club does not check these as in that case the club would be liable in the event of a rider having to produce such documents to the Gardaí..
Requirements of the Sport
The machine must be fitted with working lights using a fixed wiring loom powered by a battery or coil and the lights should be of an approved motorcycle variety.
The machine must be adequately silenced (<=94dBA) as noisy motorcycles present a negative image to the sport.
Riders in TORC events are requested to remove racing numbers from the side panels of the bike.
In order to complete the distance covered in an event i.e. one full lap, the machine will need a fuel range of about 50km which would be approximately nine (9) litters of fuel. For longer events the club will make arrangements for a fuel check out on the course.
Tools for trail side emergency repairs should be carried by all competitors.
All you need is the one tool you don’t have with you – or so it seems. Go over your bike and see what size nuts and bolts there are – there is no point carrying spanners if you never need them. Only carry the sizes you need.
Make sure you can take out your wheels – even if you don’t change a puncture you might get a jammed chain.
Carry some spare levers – these always break. A spare plug – even an old one is good insurance.
Cable ties can hold everything together! The big ones will even hold on a flat tire most riders keep it light till they get back to the check – but make sure you have good rim locks in your wheels.
Multi-tool allen key and screwdriver sets are good – check out your local cycle shop.
A rider should be able to carry a time card with them and to be easily able to access it at checks. There are various methods of doing this from holders you can buy in store/on line to home-made holders made out of bicycle inner tubes wrapped around the front break master cylinder reserve.
A side stand can be very useful especially if every tree in the forest has been felled or have to stop in the middle of moorland or refill with fuel.
Most importantly make sure that the machine has been fully prepared before the day of the event. Nothing worse than running around the start area ten minutes before scrutiny closes looking for a spare part or can’t get the engine up and running!
When you arrive at the event riders need to sign on to officially enter the event. Here you will be asked to produce you competition licence, pay the entry fee and sign the entry declaration starting sheet that the rider is agreeing to be bound by the rules of the MCUI General Competition rules and the Standing Regulations for Enduro Competition. The entry form and/or the event regulations may also have additional requirements specific to that event.
You will be then be given the following
Placed on the front of the bike above the headlight so that all officials at the event can identify the rider at checks and special test start/finish.
To be fill in so that the rider can keep track of their check due times and officials record the actual time of arrival and later the result officials use to determine if any penalties need to be applied for early or late arrival at any checks.
This card has a dual purpose, first it is used to record the riders bike going through scrutiny ensuring the light, tyres etc. are working/correct.
The second purpose is for the rider to record their checking in to a Via Check which is a un-maned check at some undisclosed part of the course.
NOTE: Please ensure that time cards and scrutiny cards are clearly completed in full. Not doing so can make it extremely difficult for the results officials to determine who has completed the event and apply penalties correctly which results in taking much longer to issue results.
After sign-on the rider must present themselves to the scrutineer so that their bike and helmet (which must have a current MCUI Helmet stamp) for inspection. The riding number must be on the bike before being presented and have the bike fully fueled beforehand as after scrutiny the bike must be put into PARC FERME where it must remain untouched until 10 minutes before the riders start time.
The Scrutineer will check that the machine meets all the current regulations and will establish if it is in a safe mechanical condition for Enduro. The key areas (but not limited to these) are lights, tyres, registration number visible, wheel spoke and bearing condition, noise and all safety related parts.
Note that there can also be a surprise check on the course to check for lights and/or noise during the event.
On two day or the ISDE some of the major parts of the bike which cannot be changed during an event may also be “marked” and on completing the event must be still in place.
All going well the rider can turn off the engine and push the bike into Parc Ferme and cannot be started again until the riders due start time.
How to fill in a time card
So far it all easy and then there is the mystery of the time card and how to fill it in to begin with and then worse again how to adjust during the event if late/early into a check!
The starting point is the check times which will be posted beside sign-on. This is a board which shows the number of checks/laps and allocated time for each check, which checks have special tests and at which check riders can refuel.
There will be another sheet/board which shows the start time for all riders. Generally there are two riders off every minute starting with the Experts and so on in number sequence starting with rider numbers 1 & 2 at 11.01am
The number of laps and time allowed for each check will depend on the class the rider is competing in. In this example there are three checks per lap. For check 1 Experts are allowed 20 minutes for the check then at the other end a Sportsman is allowed 35 minutes for the same check. Generally Experts and Seniors will have four (4) laps, Clubmen three (3) laps and Sportsmen two (2) laps as shown in the chart above.
Note: Time cards are made up of a type of carbon paper covered by a plastic cover which is sealed to make watertight and should not be cut/pierced. When filling out use a ball point pen. The pen does not need to write the information on the plastic as the indentation on the carbon paper is enough to mark it.
Clearly enter the riders Name, Race Number, Class competing in and Start Time.
The first column indicates the time “Check Number”. The time check marks the end of a check or stage.
The second column is where the rider fills in the amount of time allowed for that check known as the “Check Time Allowance”.
The third column is for the “Estimated Time of Arrival” (ETA). The ETA into check 1 is the start time plus the first check allowance giving the rider the time they are expected to arrive into check 1. The ETA for check 2 is the ETA into Check 1 plus the time allowance for check 2and so on.
The fourth column is the “Official Time” which is the actual time a rider enter a check and have the actual time of arrival recorded by the check official.
The fifth and final column is where the results secretary to fill in if the rider gained any penalties for checking in late/early into any of the checks during the event.
What happens at the start?
The riders’ number will determine what their start time is. Riders 1 & 2 are off at 11.00, 3 & 4 at 11.01 and so on. If the riders’ number is 81 then their start time will be 11.40 with rider 82.
There will be an official starter to call each minute out and which numbers are next to start. Riders must push their bike to the start line and not start the engine until their minute shows on the official clock. At this time the rider must start their bike and pass a line 20 metres from the start line with their start minute, i.e. if the riders start time is 11.40 then they must start their bike and have driven past the 20 meter line before the clock changes to 11.41.
If a rider fails to do this they will be penalised 60 points for a late start. They can start the bike any way they wish as long as they do not get outside assistance as this will lead to rider disqualification.
What about the course?
The course is marked out with day-glow arrows with different colors for each day if a two day event. Tape and warning signs are also used and must be obeyed by all rides for everyone’s safety.
The course will for the most part follow trails, forest roads, forests and open cross country. In some cases public roads are used to link up different sections of the course. Any check/stage which involves public road will be given a generous time allowance so as to ensure that no rider needs to travel in a fast/dangerous manner on a public road. The maximum speed a rider may drive at on a public road during an event is 30km/hour regardless of the actual speed limit of the road.
As you complete each check/stage there will be a Check Official manning the check/stage end. The rider must hand in their time card for the official to fill in the actual time of arrival before continuing to the next check.
What happens at the time check?
These are some of the most important rules of the sport and catch a lot of people out from the beginner to the seasoned Expert…
About 200 meters from the time check there will be two large white flags on either side of the trail/forest road. This is to warn you that there is a time check ahead. The start of the time check is marked with yellow flags and once past these the rider is considered to be in the time check and the riders card will be marked with the time of arrival into the check, even if early.
Riders must wait before the yellow flag for their ETA to show up on the clock before going past the yellow flags and into the time check to get their time recorded. As soon as the required ETA is on the clock enter the time check hand in the time card to be filled in and most importantly check the correct time has been entered on the time card before continuing so that the correction on the time card and the record sheet can be made. If this is not done at the time then it cannot be corrected later. It is the riders’ responsibility to ensure the time card has been filled in correctly before continuing.
What if I check in late/early?
Being late is one of the main ways a rider picks up penalty points during an event. For every minute late at a time check a rider will be penalised 60 points. Once this time is lost it cannot be got back by checking in early at the next check.
Remember the check time allowance stays the same no matter what happens. If a rider checks into a time check late/early they must recalculate the ETA of all the following checks taking into consideration the actual time recorded on the time card by the race official.
For example, Joe Blogs, rider number 80 is allocated 35 minutes for check 1 and 53 minutes for check 2 of an event and had a start time of 11.40. Therefore the ETA for time check 1 is 12.15 and 13.08 for time check 2.
In this example the rider has to recalculated the new ETA of check 2 and checked in at correct time resulting in no additional penalty points.
However they arrive late into time check 1 and are recorded at 12.17 which will result in 120 penalty points. The same time allowance is still allocated for check/stage 2 so the new ETA is 13.10. If the rider checks in at the original ETA of 13.08 instead of 13.10 they will in cure a further 120 penalty points giving a total of 240 penalty points.
In other words riders must always strive to ride each check in the time allowed. If the rider is late into a time check they must mentally reschedule all subsequent ETA’s by that amount for the remainder of the day. This is where even experienced riders can pick up penalty points especially if there are a number of checks late/early which need to be combined and subsequent ETA mentally adjusted.
What is a Special Test?
A Special Test is a section of the course where riders are timed using special timing equipment to record their time to 100th of a second by breaking a beam at the start and finish of the test. In a situation where a number of riders have completed the course without or with the same penalty points as each other the special test will determine the finishing positions by penalising the fastest riders least. Each second in the special test will be counted as a penalty and added to the course score, i.e. any other penalties received.
The special test will be part of the event lap and it will be indicate which stage/check it will be in. The special test is usually the first section to be marked out the day before an event so that riders can walk the test before the event, but it is prohibited to ride it.
On some occasions riders will be given a free run through the special test, which is not timed. This is at the discretion of the Clerk of the Course.
The important does and don’ts of the special test!
When arriving at the “Test Start” STOP and await the time keeper to give you the go ahead to proceed into the test. Ensure that the time keeper gets your race number before leaving the start.
The test is one of the areas of the course which will be marked out with a lot more arrows and tape to ensure that all riders take the same route. Where there is a section which has “Gates” riders must go through these gates and not shortcut these. Failure to go through the gates will result in disqualification.
When reaching the “Test End” STOP and ensure that the timekeeper gets your number and records it before continuing.
Remember it is the riders’ responsibility to stop at the Test Start & Test End and ensure that the timekeepers get their number. Failure to do this will result in the rider being given the slowest test time of the day.
First and foremost riders should respect and obey directions given by all helpers, marshals, check people, time keepers and ambulance/emergency crews on the event. They are there to help run the event in a safe manner for your pleasure and get little more than a thank you at the end of the day.
Any rider who is abusive verbally or physical to any of the organisation team or other competitors will be penalised up to and including disqualification for the results.
One of the main things bothering new riders to the sport is being too slow when they first start out. Don’t be afraid of that – there is always someone slower than you! Well nearly always…
There will always be guys faster than you, so don’t worry too much about it, but it’s only good manners to try and make a little room – if you can. But ultimately it is the faster riders duty to find a way past the slower rider.
So where the track opens up a little, try and move to one side and if at all possible motion with your foot which way you’d like the other rider to go. Also very often you get a slow and fast route round a tree stump or at a bend. If someone has caught you up then take the slightly longer route round the obstacle so that the faster rider can nip past. Don’t take it to heart if someone calls out ‘excuse me’, they are just letting you know that there is a faster rider wanting to come through. However if you get a load of abuse and someone makes an un-called for aggressive overtake then try and remember their number and have a word with one of the marshals after the race.
Mistakes can happen i.e. you move right and the other rider has already committed themselves to overtake on the right and there can be contact. However if several people complain about a specific rider then most clubs will have a word with them and in extreme cases they’ll be excluded from the results. Remember – it’s all about having fun so don’t take it too seriously!
For most events refueling will be at the start/finish area but depending on the length of the course riders may need to refuel during the lap. The organisers will inform competitors of this but it may be up to the riders themselves to get the fuel out to this point and other times the organisers will arrange a van to bring all the fuel out to this point.
As events are generally in forests there are two extremely important points in relation to refueling
- All fuel must be in metal petrol/jerry cans.
- No smoking in the refueling area.
- Refueling can only be carried out between the green flags at the fuel check.
A via check is a unmanned check on some remote part of the course and the location of this would not be divulged to riders beforehand. It is sometimes used in an area of a course which is hard to reach or where course cutting might occur.
The Via Check will be marked with BLUE flags and a punch will be set up attached to a post or tree. When the rider reaches the via check they must stop and punch their scrutiny/via check card. Only punch the card once as this will be checked by the person on the next time check and if the number of times the via check card is punched is not correct then the rider will be disqualified.
In some instances the via check can be moved to a different location during the event.
How do I gain Penalty Points?
A full list of all penalties can be found in the Standard Regulations for Enduro and the supplementary regulations issued by the event organisers but the main ones that usually get seen regularly are as follows:
- Failure of front or rear light (per light) 60pts
- Entering work area before scheduled time 60pts
- Failure to start engine within one minute 60pts
- Late/early arrival at a time check (per minute) 60pts
- Note that if a rider is even one second late/early into a check it is classed as being a minute late.
- Failure to stop at the start or end of test. Rider will receive slowest time of the day.
- Exceeding noise limit
- Changing of machine during event
- Smoking in Parc Ferme, work area or refuelling points
- Practicing on an approved course
- Course cutting, not following the marked route, driving in opposite direction of the course
- Changing tyres before end of day
- Refueling outside designated point(s)
- Changing parts liable for marking (wheels, frame etc.)
- Missing a Time Check or Via Check
- Late arrival at scrutiny
- Riding in the paddock or any part of the course outside normal racing
- Riding in a manner likely to bring the sport into disrepute (especially on public roads)
- Clocking in more than fifteen minutes early at a Time Check
- More than an hour late at any time checks from the original ETA.
What are Parc Ferme Rules?
An important and crucial part of the sport is about the reliability of a competitor’s machine. In two day competitions, at the end of the first day competitors must place their machines in Parc Ferme and leave them there untouched until the following morning when they will be permitted to work on their bikes for just ten minutes before their day two start time.
This work is carried out in the WORK AREA, which is between Parc Ferme and the start area. Competitors are permitted to enter Parc Ferme fifteen (15) minutes before their start time. Five (5) minutes to locate bike and push to the entrance of the work area while they wait for their work time to start and the ten (10) minutes to work on the bike.
These same rules apply to the start of the event on the first day but usually competitors will have no work to do as their machines should be fully prepared for the start of the event.
No machine once passed by scrutiny mat be started until the riders allocated start time comes up. That means all machines must be pushed into Parc Ferme. All Machines will have dead engines in Parc Ferme and the work area.
Breaking Parc Ferme rules can lead to exclusion from the event.
Remember, if in doubt just ask! There are lots of officials and other riders who will gladly help you out if you are not sure of any aspect of the sport…. Have fun!