Few things in life are better than watching dirt bike riders attempt impossible feats on impassable obstacles. Add the stress and adrenaline of a timed race format and you’ve got yourself quite a spectacle. Rock climbs, mud pits, giant logs; in hard enduro races, they’ll ride it.
Austria's world-famous Red Bull Erzberg Rodeo gets the most press in hard enduro and the Hard Enduro World Championship tends to be very EU-focused. But what about us US-based riders? What if we want to bend, smash, and break our bikes? Or at least witness the carnage in person?
Well, thanks to the AMA US Hard Enduro series, you are in luck. Six out seven of the races we are about to discuss are in that series. As a huge bonus, the series has Endurocross superstar Max Gerston as the commentator and on chase cam. Ride along with the leaders and view the race like never before! Check out US Hard Enduro Series YouTube channel to see all the race recaps from the series.
We also tell you about one race that is actually a part of the Hard Enduro World Championship too!
1 - Silver Kings Hard Enduro
- Where: Kellog, ID
- When: June
The Silver Kings Hard Enduro takes place on Silver Mountain ski resort and features the insane vertical you would expect, given the location.
Daring singletrack descents follow grueling, physical ascents up scree fields and tight pinches. Factor in slippery roots, smooth boulders, and generally loose terrain, and competitors will wish they came to Idaho for the potato harvest instead! A disgustingly technical creek crossing highlights the course as competitors navigate wet, overgrown banks before crossing a deep, flowing creek filled with dog-sized boulders. Winning here can place you among moto royalty. Tune in to see who will take the silver throne and who will be the court jester.
2 - Grinding Stone Hard Enduro
- Where: Page, AZ
- When: March
As the first event on the AMA IRC US Hard Enduro Series calendar, this event is great for competitors and spectators alike.
Temperatures in Page are ideal in march, with highs in the 60s and lows in the 30s. But while the weather may be cool, the competition is red hot! One of the quintessential American hard enduro races, Grinding Stone, is a classic Arizona desert course.
No desert oasis, Grinding Stone features steep walls, loose sand, and narrow ledges. The track is highlighted by heinously technical sandstone ascents and descents with names like "Stairway to Heaven" and "Irritable Bowel Syndrome." They say that iron sharpens iron, but in Arizona, stone smashes bikes.
3 - Tennessee Knockout (TKO)
- Where: Sequatchie, TN
- When: August
For most people, Tennessee conjures up images of honky tonk bars, spicy chicken, and country music superstars. But hold on there, cowpoke, you best reconsider those notions once Red Bull's Tennessee Knockout comes to town.
The only Hard Enduro World Championship race held on American soil, TKO attracts big-name international talent like Billy Bolt, Graham Jarvis, and Alfredo Gomez. Car-sized boulders, slippery tree roots, and steep, technical single track make this one of the premiere hard enduro races in the states. Add in Tennessee August's suffocating heat and humidity, and this race is hotter than a five-dollar pistol! As the moisture sets in, rocks and roots get coated in a thick sweat, causing the tricky terrain to become chaotic.
Constantly pushing boundaries, TKO is even offering an e-moto class this year as electric motorcycles' popularity grows worldwide. Get ready to go down for the count in Tennessee; this one will be a total knockout!
4 - Donner Hard Enduro
- Where: Norden, CA
- When: June
A heinously challenging course, Donner serves as a cornerstone of American hard enduro races.
Held at Donner ski ranch, the course is known for its relentless ascents and grueling landscapes. Preposterously loose climbs through fields of softball-sized gravel break competitors down. Quicksand lurks beneath the surface in the waterfall section and tests competitors' physical and mental strength. "Spectator hill" is a smooth granite wall, about twelve feet tall. Racers must ride straight up or have their bike come crashing down in an agonizing heap of metal and plastic. This is the race for you if you want to see pure moto carnage.
5 - Bad Medicine at Fallen Timbers
- Where: Little Hocking, OH
- When: May
A classic east coast race, Bad Medicine provides welcome relief from the gravel and dust of the west coast hard enduro races. But comfort is fleeting as the muddy course erodes as quickly as competitors' spirits.
Riders go out of the frying pan and into the fire as gruesome chocolate pudding mud transitions to mossy boulder fields, moistened by spring rain. Punishing climbs up the sludge-coated hills give way to psychotic, barely controlled hell-rides down peanut butter slopes. As the course deteriorates, new lines emerge through the thick jungle singletrack, and once trusted lines through rock gardens become impassable. This course is like bad medicine. There ain't no doctor who can cure this disease.
6 - Bentonite Brawl
- Where: Billings, MT
- When: May
Combining hill climbing and hard enduro, Montana's Bentonite Brawl is a one-two punch of difficult moto riding.
The steep bentonite clay hills after which the event is named are a staple of America's hard enduro races. These are do-or-die climbs. Too steep for pushing your way up; riders need to make it up in one massive effort. Failing to do so will often result in bikes tomahawking to the bottom in a cloud of debris. These ascents often become a bottleneck of riders and hurtling shrapnel, a true spectacle to behold.
Fire season be damned; competitors pray for dry weather leading up to the event. Wet bentonite becomes sticky in all the worst ways, packing tires and rendering even the knobbiest rubber useless. Want to get in the ring and test yourself against these rugged Montana hills? Want to watch unparalleled moto destruction? Then tape up those knuckles and get yourself to Billings for the Bentonite Brawl.
7 - Locked and Loaded Shotgun Enduro
- Where: Sugarloaf, PA
- When: July
One of only two east coast races on the U.S. hard enduro series, the Locked and Loaded Shotgun provides a different type of extreme terrain you cannot find in the American west.
Tight, densely forested singletrack leaves no room for error. Flat, sharp-edged plate rock is strewn across the course, desperately trying to throw your handlebars into a tree. Piles of mossy cobbles and the steamy July weather of Pennsylvania combine to create one of the season's most brutal hard enduro races.
Make your way to Pennsylvania this July and feel the adrenaline of staring down the barrel of a loaded shotgun.
Hard enduro races are a savage test of man/woman and machine. Are you crazy enough? Strong enough for the challenge? PREPARE for battle with our pre-endurance drink mix. SUSTAIN your hydration, fuel and electrolytes for the brutal 4+ hour onslaught ahead. Don't quit. The only way out is across the finish line.
If you have questions on your personalized nutrition plan or any of our products, be sure to contact us! Simple performance nutrition is what we do!
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