Hell’s Gate 2019 “put on hold” after land access issues

Legendary Italian Hard Enduro, Hell’s Gate, thrown into doubt just weeks before the event is due to take place due to incomplete “paperwork.”


In a press and social media post put out this afternoon, January 21, 2019, the organisers of Hell’s Gate Hard Enduro in Tuscany, Italy have declared the event has been “put on hold.”

The annual Hell’s Gate Extreme Enduro is an early season favourite in Italy, attracting the biggest names in the sport to Tuscany and the steep, wooded hillside surrounding the Il Ciocco resort. 

In 2019 the event, scheduled for February 15-16 was set to attract Graham Jarvis, Jonny Walker, Wade Young and the 2018 winner, Mario Roman among other big name stars. 

It seems the issue revolves around the land use and the sporting rights to hold the event in the way the organisers want to. The 2019 edition had been planned to return to its roots, be more of a "festival" and include a longer lap around the challenging Tuscan terrain which would inlcude more natural elements for riders. It seems the permission necessary to run the planned route the organisers want is a stumbling block and causing enough issue for the event to be put on hold. 

Here’s the release from the Hell's Gate organisers in full:

HellsGate 2019. Hold it!
Wait! We have to stop. The HellsGate 2019 programme must undergo a shift in time to give all the people involved a chance to complete their tasks. As you know Hell’s Gate was due to return to its original configuration and race track. 
It had been decided, and this idea remains, that it should be the nature of the mountain and Il Ciocco, beautiful and terrible, to clearly characterise this competitive event. Exactly as it had been in the first editions, and as it was in the years of its successful growth as a reference test for the Extreme Enduro World. All this while continually evolving to create a more spectacular event and to keep Hell’s Gate the Off Road Festival that it is in the eyes of the fans.
HellsGate had become a mixed race, with a reduced "natural" part and a larger "artificial” area. The Organizers do not intend to give up the benefits, in terms of ease of access and audience admittance, of the "Super Enduro” evolution, but they have been working for some time to return to its origins. This means extending the race over a larger geographical area and, consequently, increasing the number and quality of institutional and private partners.
Much of this work has already been done, but not all of it, and the Il Ciocco reference body requires OSE, Organization Sport Event that operates in the Motor Sports sectors and deals with every aspect of the sports competitions that take place in the area, get all the paper work done before starting on the purely logistical aspects of Hell’s Gate 2019.
Not all parties have or have had their operational timing synchronized with the needs of Hell’s Gate, and not all have placed the most important event in the sector for the Valle del Serchio among their priorities.
All this, of course, lengthens the time required to receive the bureaucratic and environmental “approvals”, which cannot be bypassed.
For these reasons, returning to the natural origins of the track and reaching a perfect harmony with the relevant public and private forces of the geographical area, Hell’s Gate has been put on standby. Every cloud has a silver lining. The Organizers are coming up with other ideas and a strong feeling of solidarity comes from the Mountain in response to the request from other Italian areas to "import" the reference Event of the Extreme Enduro World.
We will keep you informed of any developments.
Byline jp ISDE 2018 Enduro21
Jon Pearson
Enduro21 Editor and Bike Tester