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 at the annual Sandwinder enduro race event.
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.
More than 400 racers joined the 5th annual Sandwinder Enduro under favorable weather and optimal race conditions. The race is part of the Texas Championship Enduro Circuit Series, and is typically held late February each year in Smithville, Texas.
If you want to start racing dirt bikes, check out our guide for racers where we explain the best dirt bike setup for racers. It’s a great way to get ready for a race and don’t forget to check your local dirt bike race schedule here.
The Sandwinder is part of the TSCEC race series and the race typically takes place in late February each year.
The weekend typically kicks 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 arrive already on Saturday and were prepping for the upcoming race day.
Registration for Sandwinder Enduro opens in the afternoon and the racers are 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 is also open on Sunday morning for people arriving only in the morning.
Sunday’s race day starts for many of us around 6:00am since all racers were required to attend the 7:00am racers meeting. In the meeting, they cover 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 starts at 8am and consisted of three main test sections and, depending of the race class, one or multiple laps around them. Overall, the racers start to finish 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.
Typical Race Conditions
Sandwinder Enduro 2022 had couple of things going for it this year. Typically we have seen wet, muddy and very difficult conditions. If it rains, this place is a mod pit!
For the first time in its 5 year history, the weekend race was held in near-optimal conditions. Relatively dry conditions combined with overcast and mostly dust free trails made the race weekend very popular and racer friendly.
In year 2022, the organizers saw biggest turnout with more than 400 racers. The event was again very successful and a great race weekend for all dirt bike enthusiasts alike. The kids race was held on Saturday and the adults race was scheduled for Sunday.
Race Format at Sandwinder Enduro
The race format for Sandwinder Enduro had also seen some changes. In 2022 race, each of the test sections had a 90-minute test window. All racers we allowed to start their required laps within the 90-minute start window and keep breaks in between laps and different tests to their liking.
Each test time window was assigned to a class at a time, which made the race itself much easier for all racers as passing and slower riders were minimal. With a little planning, you could easily find a slot where you could only focus on your riding and not worry about faster or slower riders.
This new format made it very easy to ride with your group of friends or similarly skilled riders and made the event much more fun!
Depending of your class, test sections would total between 15 to 56 miles. Since the conditions were great, test times seemed to vary between 20 to 30 minutes for most A-B-C riders.
Read also: Where To Ride My Dirt Bike Near Me
2021 Sandwinder Sprint Enduro
Back in 2021, the race was held in a sprint race format. It was a really interesting and fitting format for this enduro.
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.
2022 Sprint Summary
The McMahan Ranch is great for TSCEC races. The property has several different styles of single track ranging from slow tight wooded trails to open wide stretches over grassy pastures. To master these trails, riders are required to tune their dirt bikes to perfection as well as be physically in very good shape.
This year’s race was considerably faster than previous years. The optimal race conditions made most sections relatively easy and it meant speed was king. Average race speeds climbed closer to 20mph for top riders and it definitely meant much faster and quicker laps around even the slower sections.
The track held very well. Even with 400 racers starting into the loops and each rider completing multiple loops, the race trail held very well. Ruts and whoops grew bigger quickly and the trails kept changing between laps, but we didn’t see anything like in previous years where some sections needed to be changed after becoming impassable due to muddy conditions. Seemed like most riders welcomed the fast clean trails.
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 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, it was definitely one of the best beginner races around here for enduro riders.
Sandwinder Enduro does not disappoint! The great track combined with a record turnout on the series makes this race weekend one of the best events in TSCEC series.
This race event is one of the easiest and popular races in the schedule and it seems to keep growing each year. While waiting for the next year’s race, use our dirt bike trail locator to find the best practicing spots near you. This way, you will be in top condition at the next race!
See you out there!