HEWC: Pro rider turned course setter Michele Bosi previews Abestone Hard Enduro
When the FIM Hard Enduro World Championship arrives at the Abestone Hard Enduro in Italy next week, competitors will face some epic scenery and a tough challenge befitting the HEWC series – there's a good reason for that, the guy behind it is Hard Enduro pro rider Michele Bosi.
The inaugural Italian HEWC round promises much with high-altitude mountain trails taking riders from peak-to-peak, mixed with deep valleys, technical riverbeds and rocky gullies. It is sounding like it will be an awesome challenge and vert much an event fit for purpose in this series.
And so it should be because the event has been dreamt up by well-known Hard Enduro competitor, Michele Bosi.
A long-time campaigner on the Hard Enduro circuit, Michele has used his racing experience to craft the course in the Tuscany mountains. Bosi has designed a course that will feature a mixture of everything a Hard Enduro rider could want and which will cater to all ability levels – the more you put into it, the more you get out of it.
During a quick break from track managing, Michele explained more about the upcoming Abestone Hard Enduro…
Michele, how are things looking ahead of the Abestone Hard Enduro, is everything ready?
Michele Bosi: “We’re getting ready for Abestone Hard Enduro - everyday we’re working on it and ticking jobs off our to-do list. There’s lots happening and lots to prepare, but we’re feeling confident about everything now.”
The teaser videos look incredible - it looks like a special place to race?
“Yes, for sure, it will be a special place. These mountains are unknown to almost everybody, so I think the riders will be in for a welcome surprise with what’s here. We have two different valleys to lay out the course and these offer a lot of variation in terrain. If you love enduro and motorcycles, this is the place to be.”
As a rider, what has it been like to balance racing and organising an event?
“As a rider-turned-event promoter, it gives you a new appreciation of the amount of work that goes into organising an event. Every day is a learning day for me, but thankfully we have a good team of experienced people who know how to keep everything under control. From my rider’s perspective, I want to make a race that’s based on my experience of racing events around the world. I know the level and this venue is capable of creating one of the most challenging races in the world.”
Does having racing experience and knowledge help you prepare a course that is challenging for all abilities, not just Pro guys?
“I’m around a top 10-20 guy, so I feel like I fit in a good place with my racing experience. I know what I’m capable of, but also what the very top guys can do and what the guys behind me expect too. I’m trying to be realistic and cater for all abilities - that’s my goal. I am thinking more for the amateur riders and building a race for them, especially for Saturday’s qualification and Sunday’s morning race. The Sunday afternoon race will be much more difficult for the Pro riders.”
It sounds like the difficulty level will be increasing as the race progresses?
“Yeah, that’s the best way to describe it. It will start relatively easily and build up the deeper you get into the event. The qualification on Saturday is more about speed, technique and riding some cool places on the mountain. The Sunday morning race, which is for the majority of the riders, is difficult but not too crazy. It will be a mix of Saturday’s course and additional hard loops. The afternoon main race for the top-50 will be tough. And the final few checkpoints will be really tough!”
We will see No Help Zones at the race - from personal experience is that the Hard Enduro way?
“I like No Help Zones. I believe it’s the only way for this sport to grow in the most honest way. For the amateurs it’s not perfect, but it’s fairer. It prevents one rider organising a group of friends to help him, so he stays fresh while others struggle. I’ve had these experiences where I had no help and others did, and it didn’t sit well for me. I don’t want climbs where the bike can only go up with people helping. It’s got to be tough, but always possible for the rider. We need to show that the bike can go everywhere. And that the rider can make it alone. That’s the fairest way.”
What type of skills will be needed to master the Abestone Hard Enduro?
“Pure Hard Enduro talent! You need to be ready for many things - Trial, Enduro, be smart and have good speed. Overall, it will require a complete skill set to win this race.”
For those travelling to the race and concerned by Covid restrictions. What procedures are in place?
“More and more the Covid restrictions are easing in Italy, and we are now in a white zone, so there’s no problem to travel. Also, when you travel for sport, things like quarantine are not required. We’re working with the riders to ensure they have all the paperwork they need to travel safely and without hassle. We will also have Covid testing available for them when returning home.”
Finally, will you be looking forward to returning to race mode after this event?
“Yes, I’m looking forward to getting back into race mode once Abestone Hard Enduro is complete. My own racing and training has been put on hold preparing for this race, but once I take some time off to rest, I’ll be back at the races. I’m not sure if I will make Red Bull Romaniacs because it is quite soon after this race, but I’m excited for Hixpania Hard Enduro and GetzenRodeo. Initially my goal was to finish top-10 in the championship, so I will try to target that for these races.”
The Abestone Hard Enduro takes place in Abetone, Italy on July 9-11.