The challenge to pitch yourself against the best in the world is all part of the draw at round six of this year’s World Enduro Super Series at Hawkstone Park in the UK in September.
Name any motorsport in the world and think of the chances you get to race against the best of the best in the world? There aren’t too many and though we are blessed in enduro with that ‘one big family’ spirit, it is actually rare to get the chance to race the same track at the same time as world champions.
It is a strong part of the philosophy behind the sixth round of this year’s World Enduro Super Series at Hawkstone Park in the UK which can boast the likes of Taddy Blazusiak, Jonny Walker, Graham Jarvis, Josep Garcia and Nathan Watson on the entry list.
“A local rider can turn up, qualify and sit on the start line next to his heroes. For the next two and a half hours they are equals, banging bars and enjoying the track.” Says the man behind the Fast Eddy XC at Hawkstone Park, Paul Edmondson.
The two-day event on September 22-23, comprises a sprint enduro on the Saturday followed by an amateur race and WESS main event on Sunday, aims to bring the glory days of cross-country racing back to the UK.
The man behind the Hawkstone XC is no stranger to the glory days himself. The four-times world champion turned race organiser (and father to at least a couple of decent off-spring), says creating an event in the UK to rival those on the WESS calendar is a driving force…
Photo Credit: Luke Evans
Firstly Paul, if you were still regularly competing today would WESS be something you would be interested in?
Paul Edmondson:“I think if I was starting out in the sport today the WESS is definitely something that would interest me as a rider. One of the biggest attractions is the variety of events in the championship – I find that really interesting and certainly the direction our sport needs to go in to succeed.”
Is that part of the reason you decided to run the Fast Eddy XC at Hawkstone Park as a WESS event this year?
“Partly yes, the EnduroGP we ran last year was a great success – we had some amazing racing and it was great to see some of the world’s top riders in the UK. Unfortunately, the costs involved and some restrictions meant that is was unfeasible for a lot of the locals to even consider riding. Running the 2018 race as a WESS round has meant we have been able to open up the weekend to far more – amateurs and championship riders alike. This year we are hoping to see 500 riders compete over the two days with 250 lining up at the start of the main event – last year we were lucky if there were 50.”
So, more riders means better racing, which means a better show for the fans?
“That’s the idea, yes. Last year we saw about 2,500 fans through the gates – this year we want to go even bigger. With a couple of races on each day, fans will be able to see the top guys ride on both days and it’s not just the WESS regulars that will be pushing on, there are some top locals who I believe can give the likes of Walker, Bolt, Jarvis, Watson and Blazusiak a run for their money.”
Hawkstone Park – one of the most famous tracks in the UK if not the world - is primarily a motocross track. How tough is the main event going to be and what kind of rider will it suit?
“It’s going to be tough. Two-and-a-half hours riding anywhere off-road is challenging but you throw in the best bits of the Hawkstone circuit and mix that with some gnarly enduro sections and you have got a seriously tough race. The mix of terrain is going to suit different riders in different places. It’s still going to be very enduro focused but out-and-out speed is going to be important too. Whatever happens, there is going to be some fantastic racing to view for the fans and spectators.”
Photo Credit: Future7Media
It sounds like the event is going to suit the World Enduro Super Series perfectly?
“Oh definitely. One of the best things about the WESS is the variety and the different challenges it poses. The other attraction is that a local rider can turn up, qualify and sit on the start line next to his heroes. For the next two and a half hours they are equals, banging bars and enjoying the track. Where else at world-level motorsport can you do that?”
So, what would you say to anyone that is thinking about having a go and wants to race Hawkstone Park?
“I’d say get your entry in and come and enjoy a unique event at a fantastic venue. I believe we have something to offer every level of rider. If you just want to have a go at riding the circuit you can take your bike out on Saturday morning’s practice session and ride around with no pressure whatsoever. We have a kid’s race on Sunday morning followed by the ‘Steady Eddy’ amateur race – these are perfect for families to come along and take part in and then still watch the top guys at it later that afternoon. Then of course if you want to mix it with the likes of Garcia and Watson and the Pros, you can do the full WESS schedule with the qualifying sprint race on Saturday followed by the main event on Sunday afternoon. With the weekend costing just £120 including camping and three extra passes, we’ve really tried to offer the best value we can. Thankfully the WESS organisation have allowed us to do that.”
Finally, do you think a wildcard rider could claim a surprise victory?
“It’s possible, we have some amazing talent in the UK right now. But it’ll be tough for them, anything’s possible. There are some fantastic racers coming through that have really raised the level as well as the more experienced guys such as Alex Snow and Darryl Bolter who are still very competitive and winning races.”
Photo Credit: Gemma James
Who is Paul Edmondson?
Need you ask? It has been a while so for the youngsters out there 'Fast Eddy' is well-known face in both UK and world enduro paddocks. His career results speak for themselves: four world-titles between 1990 and 1996, Paul trail-blazed across the Atlantic to take on US talent in the AMA Hare-Scramble Championship and GNCC races. With a CV also including success at a wide variety of other events, the 49-year-old has done it all.
After retiring from serious competition, Paul turned his hand to event organisation and held the original Fast Eddy Cross-Country at Hawkstone Park back in 1997. From there he and his team have gone on to run many British championship events of different disciplines, culminating in a round of the EnduroGP World Championship in 2017.
Hawkstone Park WESS Event 2018 - Schedule and Prices
The Fast Eddy XC at Hawkstone Park, round six of the World Enduro Super Series, is on the 22/23 September at the Hawkstone Park circuit in Shropshire, UK.
If you fancy your chances against the sport’s top enduro riders, or simply wish to ride an event at one of the world’s most famous motocross tracks, Fast Eddy Racing can be contacted using the details below.
- Call: +44 1543 450150, option 2, or +44 7889924560
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Private message Christine Parkes on Facebook
Thursday September 20:
Gates open at 9.00 am to International Riders/Teams
Friday September 21:
- Track open to walk for all riders from 9.00 am
- Signing on for all riders from 12 midday to 4 pm. (Additional signing on will be available early on both Saturday and Sunday Morning)
Saturday September 22:
- 9.00 am to 12.00 pm OPEN PRACTICE on the track @ £50 per rider
- 12.30 pm to 5.30 pm FAST EDDY/WESS SPRINT ENDURO
2 x special tests, one enduro and one MX. Each test runs with 125 riders max, giving a total of 250 riders.
The fastest riders from this event will be seeded on the start for Sunday's main event.
Cost £50 per rider.
Sunday September 23:
- 9.00am to 10.00am 1-hour Youth Race £40 per rider.
- 10.30am to 12.30pm 2-hour "Steady Eddy Race" for amateur UK riders @ £70 per rider.
- 1.00pm to 3.30pm the "Original Fast Eddy" and WESS Series Main Event for 2018 for all riders.
2.5-hour cross country race for up to 250 riders.
The top riders from the sprint enduro will be lined up in rows of 30 with the fastest at the front.
Cost per rider £70.
The cost for International riders to do the event is £120 per rider. This includes the Sprint Enduro and Cross-Country Race which is part of the WESS.
All riders will be able to ride for the two days and the fee also includes free camping and any additional people that may be with the riders. There are toilets, shower facilities, fresh water and chemical toilet disposal points available on site.