Gentlemen, Start Your Engines!

January has been such a busy month that some of us are sort of looking around and saying, “Hey, where did it go?!”  I mean, Christmas just happened…didn’t it?

Well, this month may have vanished unaccountably quickly (for me, anyway), but it’s certainly going out BIG!  The Sumter Enduro Motorcycle Riders Association (SERMA) is pleased to host the 43rd Annual Sumter Enduro, January 29, 2012 at Manchester State Forest in Wedgefield.  With 600 riders registered, this 75-mile Class AA off-road bike race will probably stand your hair on end—and that’s just if you’re watching!  Participating riders come from 35 states and Canada, making this the largest event of its type in North America.

What, exactly, is Enduro?  According to Wikipedia, it’s a form of off-road motorcycle race.  It’s not so much racing other competitors as racing the clock; riders are required to check in at certain points at particular times, with penalties for early or late arrival.  However, it’s not a casual ride in the park, either, as various obstacles and challenges are set up along the route.  Known throughout the world, Enduro has enjoyed international popularity since the first major event was held in England in 1913 (hmm…do I see a centennial coming up?).  With the varied terrain at Manchester, and the ever-present possibility of large quantities of mud, just about anything can happen!

This excerpt from a 2010 article gives an intriguing glimpse into the sport:
“Motocross people are scared of Enduro racing and possibly off-road racing in general. Maybe it’s the name: Enduro! It sounds sort of scary, I guess. It surely sounds difficult. If it weren’t tough, I guess it’d be called an Easy. But the name’s no reason to be frightened, moto guys and gals. Now, more than ever, the National Enduro scene is rider-and bike-friendly.”  (Source:  http://www.dirtrider.com)

Before the Enduro race on Sunday, a fun preliminary event, the 7th Annual Sumter Pit Bike Classic, will be held at Manchester to kick off the festivities.  Join the group on Saturday, January 28 at 7 p.m. for fun and laid-back entertainment.

Admission for spectators is FREE, and the main Enduro event on Sunday, January 29 begins at 9 a.m.  From SC 261, just follow the green arrows.  Come join these super-skilled riders as they test their endurance against the wilds of Sumter County, South Carolina!

SERMA is part of the American Motorcyclists Association.  More questions?  Check out the event flyer (PDF) here.

If you’re new to Enduro, the following links may also be helpful:
http://sermaclub.com
http://www.nationalenduro.com/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enduro

Manchester State Forest is located at 6740 Headquarters Road in Wedgefield, off SC Highway 261.  For more information, please contact e-mail them at  johnny_mccoy@hotmail.com or sermaclubprez@yahoo.com.

Image from www.nationalenduro.com

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