Sandwinder Enduro is an enduro race that is part of the Texas Championship Enduro Circuit Series. Sandwinder Enduro 2021 was held on May 16, 2021 in Smithville, Texas, and it was the 4th annual race.
Want to learn what this year’s race was like? We will tell you all about the race weekend and explain how things typically work and what to expect in an enduro race.
We will also walk through the race track and style for people who are interested to know what the trails are like at McMahan Ranch.
If you want to start racing dirt bikes, also check out our guide for racers and the best dirt bike setup for racers.
The weekend kicked off with the kids mini-enduro on Saturday afternoon with four classes aged between under 6 to 14. What a great way to start the weekend!
Even if you don’t have kids or they are not racing yet, it’s worth going out early and go cheer and support the young riders. In many ways, it’s more fun than watching the adults race. The track is in most cases very close and visible throughout and it’s amazing to see kids really battle it out!
Most adult racers arrived already on Saturday and were prepping for the upcoming race day.
Registration for Sandwinder Enduro 2021 opened in the afternoon and the racers were able to go get registered in the system. During the process, they register the ID tag on your helmet or give you a new one (you need to pay for it). So newbie racers, bring your helmet and cash to get your RFID tag registered! You need to do this even if you registered in advance. The registration was also open on Sunday morning for people arriving only in the morning.
Sunday’s race day started for many of us around 6:00am since all racers were required to attend the 7:00am racers meeting. In the meeting, they covered a lot of information like the schedule, race format, property details and limitations, rules and regulations. This is also the place where to ask questions if something is unclear. There are plenty of people to help you with questions.
The race started at 8am and consisted of three main test sections and, depending of the race class, one or multiple laps around them. Overall, the racers started finishing around noon and lasting until about 3:30pm. It’s a long day for many of the racers out there.
This year, like many times before, Smithville was wet and muddy come Sunday race day. The forecast predicted rain all day and it definitely made things much more fun for the thru and thru dirt bike lovers.
Race Format at Sandwinder Enduro 2021
This year, the race was held in a sprint race format. It was a really interesting and fitting format for Sandwinder Enduro 2021.
The track was laid into three main loops. And each main class was riding the loops in different order and completing a different number of loops. This format was great for the challenging muddy and wet conditions.
Each main class, such as beginner riders in C, were all riding together in the same time window. The starting order was freely chosen by the riders and it made it easier to pick a good position for your pace. This resulted in much less crowded sections and a lot less passing people.
In each one of the loops, we had a 90-minute window to complete the required number of laps. You needed to start your last lap within the 90-minute window. This meant that you were able to choose when to start each lap and also choose who was riding in front and behind you.
The weather played a big part on the race as it looked like it was going to start pouring down any second. So, most riders wanted to get out on the track as soon as possible to get a good time before the rain.
The start window gave a reasonable amount of time to rest between each lap and get ready for the next timed laps. Beginner racers had to ride one or two loops around the track as A racers had to complete at least two laps on each test loop. Even though the tests 2 and 3 were about a mile away from the camp, we found plenty of time for snacks and refueling at camp between transfers.
Read also: The Best Dirt Bike for Trail Riding
Race Track Summary
The McMahan property has a lot to offer for us dirt bike riders. While it is not frequently open for public, we get to ride it few times a year at open ride days organized by local AMSA members.
Like many times before during its short four-year history of being part of the TSCEC series, the Sandwinder Enduro 2021 race weekend was wet and muddy. The property can be very dusty and sandy when dry. So, some water and moisture is always welcome for race weekends. This time, it was very wet and some sections were very difficult to pass, which made the race day very fun.
All in all, the loops were very similar. The A riders had some more difficult sections, mainly slightly bigger drops and slippery off-camber climbs, that were cut from B and C riders. This is typical for most races, so beginner racers can enjoy the correct level of racing.
Each loop consisted of tighter, slower wooded sections to open wide pasture sections and some motocross style cornering and even few jumps. The variation in the track layout made the loops exciting and challenged the riders in all types of riding styles. Some A level drops and climbs were very challenging in the slimy conditions.
The elevation changes on the property are small. However, the track workers had done an excellent work finding the good parts the property has to offer and made a great job with it. We even got to race through a house filled with piñatas!
Lap times ranged from 18 minutes to under 30 minutes for top level riders and somewhere in the 30 to 45-minute mark for most riders. This was a fairly fast paced and easier track compared to other tracks in the TSCEC series. So, Sandwinder Enduro 2021 was definitely one of the best beginner races around here for enduro riders.
Read also: What Does Enduro Dirt Biking Mean?
The scoring system in the Sandwinder Enduro 2021 race was very easy and convenient for racers. Pre-registration was done online via LiveLaps and during the race weekend registration process, a sticker with a RFID was glued to your helmet under the visor.
In each test section, the organizers had people lined up and racers went out on the track within 15-second intervals. The actual flying start was within a few hundred yards from the line up location. This meant you got funneled through a slow section where the actual timing gate was located. The gate automatically reads your helmet tags and clocks you in on the lap. The crew also made handwritten notes just in case the helmet wasn’t read properly.
When finishing the lap, you were again funneled into a slower section with the gate and automatically clocked out.
Read also: Where To Ride My Dirt Bike Near Me
Top 4 Tips for Beginner Racers
- Get to the race location early. Prep whatever you need to prep back home and leave time for relaxing and mentally getting ready for the race. Saturdays before the race are usually the best times to spend with friends and like-minded people sharing stories over a camp fire. It is also a great opportunity to ask veteran racers and others for tips and about rules and what to expect from the next day.
- Plan your breaks and have a pit crew helping you out. I went through three riding shirts and three pairs of gloves on this mud race. Having a plan ready and organizing your gear, snacks, fuel and hydration packs and other items is a great help when you have limited time to relax between tests. What is your plan for a possible breakage or flats? Plan ahead so you don’t have to tap out for a broken lever or something as simple as that.
- If the race is scored with Livelaps scoring system, make sure to yell out your number to the crew working the gate. This helps them with keeping the manual scores, especially if your plate is muddy and not visible. If you have time, wipe the number plate clean before starting each section.
- Like in all race weekends, you are not allowed to ride the race track or the property. Being able to ride it beforehand would give a significant advantage, and also would ruin the prep work for the actual race. So, if you are planning for your first race, make sure you don’t have to tinker or test your dirt bike aside from fine tuning the suspension.
Read also: Sandwinder Enduro 2022
Racing dirt bikes is a fun sport and Sandwinder Enduro 2021 was another great success.
While the conditions may not have been ideal for some racers out there, the majority of the people had the time of their lives.
We hope to see more people racing dirt bikes and get out there to support other racers.
Stay safe out there and see you at the next one!
Last updated: May 24, 2021