Arriving in the paddock at the Buildwas Off-road Park, near Ironbridge in Shropshire - it has to be said, under an unexpectedly clear blue summer’s sky - the scene was as bucolic as a gathering of dirt bikes will ever achieve. Riders were resting in camp-chairs, others walking casually here and there to greet friends, some were gently idling their bikes toward the course entrance and yet more were chatting amiably while waiting in line at the paddock cafe. Notice we didn’t say ‘blokes’, for the riders came in all shapes, sizes, age AND gender.
This is the paddock at a WOR RED day. RED stands for Race Experience Day. WOR? Well, you should know by now that what began as the (Wirral Off-Road) club, to organize a few events for a bunch of enduro enthusiasts in the north west of England, has matured into arguably the UK’s largest off-road race promotion organization with 16 years experience behind them.
So it’s worth expanding a little on what was going on. The WOR team had set out a neat loop that brought together open trail, single track through woodland and, well, that’s about it. Open stuff and technical woods stuff, about 20 minutes long, but - and this bit is important - wonderfully traditional. Riders from enduro ‘back-in-the-day’, current day riders in BEC, riders from East Coast USA, riders from New Zealand - they would all recognise this type of trail, and relish its loops, banks, innumerable roots, hidden rocks and stumps, its bogs, its fast dusty bits, its sudden drop-offs (with traditional crossed-arrows as warning) and even the sweet flowing section past the paddock so that a rider could properly ‘grandstand’ before his mates. A proper - should we call it old school? - enduro type lap.
But instead of charging around this loop looking to set a fast time, or to stay on their minute, the riders were instead enjoying a neat, non-competitive jaunt. Stopping wherever they liked - voluntarily or involuntarily - helping out struggling mates (or strangers) as they found them. And just plain, straightforward enjoying the day. Significantly these were riders of all ages: kids on 65s were mixing with blokes on 450s. It was a free-for-all, albeit a harmonious and courteous one.