Track n Trail was brought to life in early 2004. History Updated in 2020.
The thinking behind Track n Trail was to improve Enduro events in the South of England and to mix thing up a lot. It seemed obvious to us that endure events needed to be made a lot more interesting and fun, which we hoped would bring in people, who previously that had never considered doing Enduro. We knew this would take many years and need huge amounts of hard work so it was quite clear this organisation would need to be a professionally run organisation but maintain a family feel.
Track and Trail was founded by myself; Mike Grounds and I am still immensely proud to run and oversee all aspects of the business today. I check ever part of every track we ever put on, keeping the standards as high as possible and I ride every track alongside all our riders to make sure everything’s as good as it should be to carry the Track n Trail brand.
We felt that plenty of new ideas needed to be brought into the sport and of course plenty of new venues needed to be found. This was never going to be an easy job especially in the South of England! Where land is extremely hard to find. Our aim was to host events in and around Dorset, Hampshire, and Wiltshire.
So, Track n Trail was established in 2004 and the rest is history. Read on to find out more.
In the beginning - 2004
We were determined to put the customers first and to create new types of events, so we started off with a mixture of Hare and Hound races. One of the most noticeable differences, from other events, was having a sighting lap to warm up the riders and their engines, this made the first lap of races a lot safer. This was a first in the South of England.
In the first year we also managed to put on some practice days whenever we could fit them in, Enduro practice days weren’t unheard of at the time but to put on a full Cross country 5 mile track, as we did was pretty much unheard of in those days. Our original format included a timed lap at the end of the day so for the riders who wanted it there was still a racing element.
Many people told us we would not succeed, but after many years of hard work and dedication Track n Trail feel confident that we have raised the bar and moved the sport on to the next level.
From the beginning we had a huge amount of Enduro organisers to compete with and in the coming years we saw companies starting up all over the place. There was Ride It, in the West Country, Midwest racing in Wiltshire and Southern counties very close to us in the Dorchester area. It was a great time for the riders in those days, they could race nearly every weekend in a hare and hounds, with all these companies running championships at the same time.
In our first year, we worked hard to find some supportive landowners and started to build some great racetracks. With an incredible amount of work and endurance of our own, we somehow manage to pull the rabbit out the hat and put on very respectable Race Series.
We did everything we could to make Track n Trail events the best they could be and the most fun. We split our championship into a summer series and a winter series putting on a race once a month, which was a huge undertaking.
In November 2004 We went on to create a huge Winter series and Summer series
Track n Trail Quad races in 2004
We also hosted some quad races in the early days, including a sidecar class, but had to acknowledge it did not really work with the solos going out on the track first. Organisers began to pop up and host Quad only days. That was what was needed, so we were more than happy to move over in respect of quads and turned our attention to and youth Enduro races
First Enduro youth races in the South 2005
And so, in 2005 we created the first youth Enduro racing anywhere in the South, this was an amazing and very exciting time and we wouldn't have missed it for the world.
This could not have been done without a lot of help from Tony Ford. Tony was the great man, behind the scenes at ORPA. With OPRA being the only Regulating body that would allow the 10 to 16-year-old to compete in Enduro races for 1.5-hour duration. Tony worked tirelessly, to keep motorbike racing a sport and to keep politics out of the Equation as much as possible. It was Tony who set out the regulations for youth Enduro with the help of Steve Ireland of Worrall off road( Steve's the man behind The Tough One) Steve and Tony have been a great source of inspiration and help over the years.
The youth series was a big hit! The youth race would run in the afternoon, with many of the kids having watched their dads’ race for three hours in the morning. These races grew into something quite amazing with over 100 Adrenaline charged kids in some of the events.
We had great support from the industry, who enabled us to provided incredible prizes for the youth series winners. The first place winners in Summer and Winter Championships won a supper light weight Airoh Helmet, 2nd place a pair of Alpinestars boots, third place a full DEP exhausts pipe, 4th place we had Daryl Bolter coaching the lucky kids, 5th place a set of tyres from Micheldever Tyres and finally 6th place a box of Putoline oil goodies.
We put the youth out on a shortened course, Daryl Bolter would quite often help us lead the kids around the sighting lap. Daryl would frequently say how rapid these youngsters were and be very impressed with their skill and speed.
It’s not surprising all these years later seeing that many of them now are top level Enduro riders riding in the British championship and I believe one is actually now a four times world champion.
Results archives just some results that jumped out at me. We had no idea what these kids were going to be doing in the future they were just lads having fun in our eyes.
Conrad Mewse in 2006 at Forge Hill Youth on a 65cc 3rd place, He is now racing MX 2 in the world championship and getting faster every year.
Scott Elderfeild Youth on an 85cc Big wheel 1st place Star Hill 2006 Very capable motocross rider
Steve Holcome Youth 85cc 2nd place Matchams Park 2005 This must be the first time that Steve started to compete with us Steve is now Multiple overall world Enduro champion.
2007 Wales Blackwood
By 2007 we had extended up to wales looking for venues and we found an absolute cracker called Blackwood. This quickly turned into a two-day event, it was an incredibly tough venue and we even ran an immensely popular Hill climb competition on the Saturday evening.
About that time, we were being asked why we had not considered putting on a British championship on?
The answer is simple our aim has always been to focus on the grassroots side of events, that keep the events much more friendly, where anybody can beg or borrow a bike rather than putting on events for the elite. This has maintained a safe and friendly environment for all riders. Plus also those fast boys can shred a track in an hour or two that not great for land management.
Having said that the professional riders are very welcome and they know they are, we very much enjoy having them along and catching up with what's going on in their world , The championship class riders are very safe to ride with, there obviously very fast but they're in total control and don't bang bars with the slower riders, so everybody happy and everyone has a great day they do create a lot more damage to the land but that’s fine because there is not to many of them it important to support them with their training and of course a lot of them have come back and helped us with training schools so it all works out very well for all concerned.
2007 Gas Gas
In 2007 we were supported by Gas Gas UK . We had a couple of bikes from them with the 250cc being one of my favourite bikes, but unfortunately the support package wasn't there and we had a good offer from Husky.
2008 Husqvarna Support Track n Trail
In 2008 we received a huge support deal from Husky Sport near Winchester who were until recently the sole UK importers for Husqvarna. Mike Carter at Husky sport offered us great support which included having two of the most exciting up and coming riders supporting our events, Simon Wakley and Daryl Bolter, who both eventually became British Enduro Champions. It was very exciting at the time, with these to young hot shots competing in many of our events as they could although, of course, their real focus was the British championship rounds. They were taking on the World fastest in the World Enduro Championship plus the International six days (the Wimbledon of Enduro) and all these years later on Mr Daryl Bolter is now the ISDE Team manager!
We also invited Tom Sagar to come down and compete in the championship alongside Daryl and Simon. Living in the middle of Wales he had a long trip to come down, so we had Tom to stay at our family home and help out with the track building as well as competing in some of the races.
We learnt so much in those days working with the fastest up and coming riders in the UK. Daryl and Tom building both building tracks with us and they both also helped us with training schools. It wasn’t just great working with them on a professional level, we were having a lot of fun too.
Track n Trail go digital at Matcham's Park Jan 2008
Four years into racing and we didn't think we could put it off any longer it was time to plunge into the world of transponders and we felt the riders deserved accurate lap times so they could scrutinise and analyse their results
A year later we had tracked down and employed the services of some very talented software developers to create us a live timing screen for our race series.
Matrix live timing screen. This was our press release back in 2009
Track n Trail’s New State of the art Matrix Live Timing System is set to revolutionise cross country and Enduro results.
“This timing system does not just give you your laps and time; it even gives you the time difference between you and your target: The rider ahead of you! With every lap you know where you are placing in class; it is all there on a large Digital LCD screen. And now there is no need to stop! These passive transponders can pick up your detection at speeds over 60mph. The only problem is your trusty pit crew are out of a job and when you are in last place it’s probably best to look away!”
I think it's taken up to present day for the likes of My laps to come up with a system that’s more advanced with more bells and whistles.
2009 Accredited ACU commercial coach and the start of regular Training schools
From 2006 Mike has been working towards and training to become an Enduro coach and eventually the ACU got their new coaching seminars sorted and from 2009 Mike was an accredited ACU commercial coach. Since then, with the support of assistant coaches Track n Trail have been teaching and helping many riders both new to the sport and more experienced with rider development and skills. We have really enjoyed passing on information and skills we have learned over the years to the new riders coming through.
Extreme Race 2011 and 2012 Destination Portland
We have also hosted one of the best extreme events in the South and to this day it is still probably the only truly extreme event held in the South.
The event venue was Portland bill a huge Rock jutting out of the sea, almost an island standing on its own only connected to the mainland by a long, thin Causeway.
The venue is the home of Portland Stone and this really was a truly remarkable venue and event.
The riders had been telling me for a long time they wanted something like this to be run down here in the south. So, Track n Trail, considered it for a long time how and where we could get it to work, eventually finding the venue and creating the event. It ran it for two years and it was fairly successful. The riders thought they wanted extreme riding but, in the end, I don't think the rider’s down here were truly ready for it at back then. At that stage, the Extreme seen was just building momentum we were just a little bit too early! Just to give you some idea of the challenge Destination Portland at the first event, after they done the sighting lap nearly half the field put their bikes back in the van to watch their braver friends compete.
However, if we put it on now, I believe it would be a hugely popular event as everyone knows Extreme events are incredibly popular with more people watching them than the World Championships this was unthinkable back in the day. But from our side of things as an organiser it’s just too a huge a risk and undertaking to host this type of event on in an open cast Stone quarry with cliffs in and around the entire site.
Interesting note:- Todd Kellett won Destination Portland BW 85 cc 2011 and went on to win lots of prestigious races including Weston Beach race – 2017
Charly Frost now a very successful and well respected Extreme rider came 2nd place in Destination Portland youth 125cc in his first extreme race.
The present day
Any spare time is spent looking for new venues that is the reason why we have such a wonderful array of venues today.
I have to say the last 15 or so years have been an amazing journey for Track n Trail. During that time, we’ve met some of the best people you can imagine, we've had some of the worst weather you can imagine and thank goodness been blessed with some of the best weather! In the early days, unlike today’s events the races dates were set in stone and used to run whatever the weather!
I have to say it gives me great pleasure to see so many riders coming through smiling and enjoying themselves that's what makes us put all the long hours put in too see the riders have fun and riding their bikes. As our strap line says: -giving you the freedom to ride!
We are still using the first 3 venues that we ever ran, way back in 2003 and the landowners are still inviting us back year after year. We put this down too great relationships and excellent land management before and after events.
The bit you guys don't see is we go straight back the week after the event and spend two- or three-days reinstating, so the land in tip top condition for next event.
The work that we put into the venues to reinstate them and look after them is second to none and it is this that keeps our landowners faithful to us. It’s great for our riders too, because our tracks start off smooth and fun and as the day goes on the land develops into a race track and becomes much more technical, it gets cut up with new race lines and braking bumps coming out the other side of the corners.
As our strap line says tracking trail giving you the freedom to ride.
I think we've been true to our philosophy and we still have a lot to offer
Whilst we are extremely pleased of what we have achieved since starting the company, we are always striving for ways to improve the Track n Trail Experience.
To learn more, get in touch with our friendly team today on 07581 143212.