Big goals for Hattie Harnden and Pedro Burns, plus a schedule breakdown
The wait is over.
This Saturday, after more than eight months between races, the Enduro World Series returns to the site where it ended last year, Tweed Valley in Scotland. The course is full of dense forests, techy roots and, very often, mud. It is also one of the most unique environments on the EWS circuit. An international mountain bike festival will surround the race, drawing in die hard racing fans for an atmosphere unlike any other.
If you’ve been anxiously awaiting the start of enduro season, imagine how Hattie Harnden and Pedro Burns feel. Both are entering the 2022 season with big ambitions and plenty to prove — Harnden coming off a breakout season in which she finished just off the overall podium in her first elite year, Burns anxious to race fully healthy again after suffering a bad broken ankle.
Tweed Valley will be the perfect kickoff for what should be a blistering racing season, with eight races between now and the finale in Loudenvielle on September 25. Read on for a primer on this year’s TFR squad, including what happened last year, what to watch for, and how to follow the action.
What happened last year, and what to watch for
2021 was the Year of Hattie Harnden. At just 20 years old, and racing her first ever elite enduro season, she finished fourth overall. She won two events, and nearly won a third when she took second in Tweed Valley by a whisper thin margin of 0.32 seconds. That gap barely kept Harnden off the final overall podium.
This year, Harnden wants to be on that final podium, and she’s aiming to take her first step towards that goal this weekend. As a British rider, Tweed Valley holds special significance for her.
“With EWS starting in Scotland, in the UK, I really want to try and win that one,” Harnden told the Race Shop last month. “It was so close last year, like ridiculously close. That’s a big goal of mine. And that’s quite special as well in itself, because then you’ll be leading the series.”
Pedro Burns only raced three events last year before suffering a freak broken ankle while riding his bike near his home in Chile. After the injury, he spent two months off his bike completely, instead focusing on upper body workouts until his ankle had been rehabbed well enough to hop back on a bike.
As of April, Burns still wasn’t quite 100 percent, but he has been racing full gas again and impressing at Red Bull urban downhill events, anyway. He finished fourth in Monserrate and 11th in Valparaiso, where he lost time when a dog ran across his path and forced him to brake. His goal for the 2022 EWS season is to pick up where he left off and consistently finish in the top 20 again.
“I want to keep growing as a rider, step by step by step,” Burns says. “As I always have done it. Since I was young, I’ve felt like I have always been progressing. Like I’ve been getting better, better and better. I want to keep doing it. And one day I would like to be at the top. That’s my dream.”
Schedule and how to watch
Due to the nature of the racing format, there is no live streaming available. However, the official site of the Enduro World Series offers live commentary on the action, and extensive pre- and post-race video content.
Round 1: Tweed Valley – June 4-5
In a nutshell: Big roots and dense forests with really narrow gaps to squeeze through.
Round 2: Petzen-Jamnica – June 18-19
In a nutshell: Second-ever trip to the beautiful hand-cut singletrack trails taking place in Austria and Slovenia.
Round 3: Val di Fassa Trentino – June 25-26
In a nutshell: Long, punishing, gorgeous. Hattie Harnden took her first ever elite podium here!
Round 4: Whistler – August 6-7
In a nutshell: First stop on a three-race North America tour. Whistler is an MTB mecca for a reason: This race has everything.
Round 5: Burke – August 13-14
In a nutshell: Fast and lush. Expect a party atmosphere for this EWS debut.
Round 6: Sugarloaf – August 20-21
In a nutshell: Another EWS debut! Great flow with some jumps mixed in.
Round 7: Crans-Montana – September 17-18
In a nutshell: Huge descents mean this one isn’t for the faint of heart.
Round 8: Loudenvielle – September 24-25
In a nutshell: Steep. Long. The ultimate final test, especially on tired legs.