BURKE — For the first time ever, the East Coast will be hosting the Enduro World Series finals — and it’s happening in our backyard.
Burke Mountain will play home to the top racers in the world and is one of just two stops on the tour happening in the United States.
The opportunity was “indirectly pursued” according to Burke Mountain Director of Guest Experience & Marketing Jessica Sechler.
“Never in our wildest dreams did we think we had the caliber of trails to host this level of competition,” she said.
That was until 2018 when Burke hosted the North American Continental Qualifier which had representatives of the EWS organization in attendance.
“They spoke with us about the possibilities, and the rest is history,” Sechler said. “It’s quite an honor to be hosting the race, let alone have them knock on your doorstep and present the opportunity.”
Normally, there is a bidding process for hosting rights, but a desire to display the world’s top racers to an East Coast audience for the first time ever, worked in Burke’s favor.
“Our terrain is some of the best in New England and quite frankly, we’re set up for Enduro racing,” Sechler said. “The trails favor a mix of rocky, steep, rooty technical terrain and that’s exactly what these rides are looking for.”
The EWS is a three-day event, with the excitement kicking off on Friday, August 12, with the opening of the main village. It is the practice day, which includes all 625 competitors, who arrive three days earlier, getting to practice each of the six stages once. Participants first had to become eligible by building up enough points in qualifying events.
The race includes three categories of riders: EWS (professional racers); EWS 100 (riders who race the entire course with exception of the pro stage); EWS 80 (riders who race all but two stages of the course).
Saturday is the first day of racing and will feature all EWS 100 & 80 racers with award ceremonies and live entertainment later that afternoon and into the evening. The competition continues on Sunday and features all EWS pro athletes followed by award ceremonies and live entertainment supported by GT as part of their 50th Anniversary celebration which Burke is hosting.
Fans will hike to the ‘sidelines’ where they will watch the race on trails, the same trails on which some local fans may have even already had the chance to ride themselves.
“It’s something we’ve never experienced before and it’s going to be spectacular. These athletes represent global bike brands and their presence and determination will be invigorating,” Sechler said.
And then there is the after-party.
The main stage area will light up in the early evening after podium awards on both Saturday and Sunday and will feature DJ Logic. There will be many giveaways throughout the weekend, including freebies from Vittoria on the “Vittoria Speedway,” a section of the course that catapults riders down the mountain into the final stage as well as Lawson’s Finest Liquids on site and serving.
“It’s going to be the best party in town and we just can’t wait,” Sechler said. “Burke just has that ‘thing’ about it and this audience will fall in love. We want an incredibly successful race, leaving everyone beaming and feeling the ‘wow, that was great’ factor.”
Hosting an event for the first time makes it difficult to predict what to expect, but Burke is anticipating in the ballpark of 2,500 fans to be in attendance, with Saturday bringing the biggest draw.
“We are so proud and excited to share our trails with a global audience,” Sechler said. “An event like this draws like-minded people who simply love the sport and will have a deep sense of appreciation for how hard we all work to keep this place special.”
Rules for the event include no non-racer bikes allowed in the village or near the course, no pets, no outside alcohol, and no overnight camping.
Festival passes are required for all course spectators as well as access to the main and base villages. This includes admission to the event, free parking, shuttle service to and from the village and a free scenic chair lift ride from the base to the main event village. 3-day, 2-day, or 1-day passes are available on Burke Mountain’s web page. Children ages five and under will get in for free.