Canadian enduro hits the big time with inclusion into the FIM race schedule.
After competing in the 2021 Red Bull Outliers race, I wrote about this first of its kind race with a focus on achieving the most difficult type of riding this country had ever seen. After the article was published, a reader wrote in suggesting the article should’ve been called “Where no bighorn sheep would go.” I thought it was fitting.
The 2022 Red Bull Outliers race had changed in a few aspects. After the 2021 race, the event was inducted into the FIM World Hard Enduro Championship. The biggest draw now was the fact that the world’s best pros would be racing in the event. Not only would this help put Canada on the map for hard enduro status, but it was a huge feat for the Canadian racing industry and off-road community. For the first time, Canada would be recognized through the FIM for its incredibly hard riding terrain, and in theory bring in more support for the off-road community in future years.
Following its Original Vision
Another changed facet from the previous year was that the event was laid out in the original format that creator Shane Cuthbertson had always envisioned. This included a hard EnduroCross prologue held in downtown Calgary followed by the main race the following day in the badlands of Alberta.
The prologue was a unique setup that allowed spectators who may have never considered motorcycles as entertainment to come and watch as riders hurled themselves over logs and through rocky sections in the downtown core of one of Canada’s major cities.
More than 260 riders were in attendance and the day started with an epic parade of bikes through downtown, with the assistance of police. The bikes then arrived at Olympic Plaza, where the EnduroCross was set up. As racers entered for the course walk there was a wide disparity of experience levels from four classes — from amateurs to veteran racers, and experts to pros — all mingling together and discussing line choices.
I decided to race the event again in 2022. My riding had improved, although training for this event is nearly impossible. The prologue course was difficult to say the least, especially for a rider like myself that doesn’t often get to try EnduroCross courses. It featured large logs and log boxes, raised platforms strewn with diagonal logs, tires, and a container filled with logs that brave riders could double over; all while riding on a less-than-ideal cement surface toward the obstacles.
This was to be raced in a knockout round format, meaning that the top four from each heat would move on to…