SPORTS

Enduro Off-Road Motorcycle Race Here To Stay

The enduro off-road motorcycle race is a new sporting event, which is on the verge of taking off in our country.
22 Jun 2022 16:15
Enduro Off-Road Motorcycle Race Here To Stay
Jason Shugg and a local rider during training. Photo: Supplied

The enduro off-road motor­cycle race is a new sporting event, which is on the verge of taking off in our country.

It’s all thanks to New Zealand couple Jason and Michelle Shugg who have been working tirelessly behind the scene to make it hap­pen.

The couple moved to Fiji in 2005 and are working in the civil infra­structure sector.

“We fell in love with Fiji and have purchased a land, built a house so becoming a Fijian citizen was a natural choice,” Jason said.

“This is our way to give back to Fiji and draw attention to possibly of such a market or experience available in paradise.”

He spoke to SUNsports yesterday about the sport and his prepa­ration with a local rider to take part in upcoming overseas racing events.

SUN: Could you tell us what this sport is all about?

SHUGG: Hard Enduro, is the ul­timate test of rider and machine, an off road enduro motorcycle. Pushing the limits of both. Riding a combination of man-made obsta­cles and natural terrain.

SUN: For locals who are interest­ed in this sport, is there a compe­tition currently going on or being planned to start soon? Can you elaborate on this?

SHUGG: Currently no events of this kind in Fiji. There is potential to host an event in Fiji as the ter­rain is perfect for such an event or to host training camps for teams or solo riders to come and train.

SUN: Tell us your experience in participating in this sport? The number of major races you’ve participated in and what you’ve achieved?

SHUGG: I have been riding off road motorcycles for many years and competed in the BellRay cross country rounds back in New Zea­land years ago.

Three years ago I started rid­ing hard enduro and met a guy in Australia that had competed in the RedBull Romaniacs in 2018, he talked me into training and enter­ing the 2020 edition of Romaniacs, which we did.

Unfortunately COVID happened and we were unable to leave Aus­tralia to compete.

We carried on training and en­tered into the Grassroots hard en­duro in Australia competing in the silver class.

There are three classes, gold is pro, silver is expert and bronze is entry level. This is Hard Enduro so all classes are very difficult.

We raced a few rounds in Aus­tralia, travelling from Queensland to NSW and Tasmania. Unfortu­nately I got injured in round two and had to have three months off the bike.

SUN: I understand you’re repre­senting Fiji to the RedBull Romani­acs in Sibiu, Romania, which is on July 25-30 and later in November to southern Africa to Lesotho for the Roof of Africa Hard Enduro.

Tell us more about these events and the economic impact it brings to these countries?

SHUGG: RedBull Romaniacs is in its 19th year of competition and this year they have re-introduced the street prolog, which is a man- made course of 11 obstacles.

It is designed to test the rider to breaking point before the actual four-day race starts. Once you have got your starting position it’s man against the elements for four days of extreme enduro.

This is an endurance event de­signed to break you.

The RedBull Romaniacs is in Sibiu, Romania and is held in the Carpathian Mountains known as Dracula’s hometown.

For weeks pre-event thousands of people congregate to practice and ride before the event. This is round five of the world’s hard enduro se­ries.

SUN: You’re taking a local par­ticipant to one of these events, how have your preparations coming on?

SHUGG: We have a young man from Nadi coming with us to Afri­ca to compete in the Roof of Africa in Lesotho.

This is also a hard enduro event and one of the longest standing en­durance events ever.

First starting in 1967 and named the mother of hard enduro. It is a three- day event and for the first time they offered an iron class which is designed as entry level.

With the new class and the logis­tics of travelling from Fiji to such an event this is achievable and a good starting event.

We have been working away, learning bike skills and tech­niques to first survive the event and be safe but also have fun and enjoy the riding.

With a mix of bike set-up, riding, exploring the bush areas and drills training- we are looking good for the Roof of Africa in November.

SUN: To go and participate in big events in those countries requires a lot of funding. How are you going to handle this and if there is a fund­raising drive going on?

SHUGG: Yes, this is not a cheap ex­ercise, at present the RedBull Ro­maniacs is self-funded by my wife and I.

This has been an event on the ra­dar for the past two years.

We have designed and produced a supporter’s shirt with the help of local garment manufactures and currently have six local businesses supporting us.

The supporter’s shirts are for peo­ple to feel they are part of the team and draw awareness to what we are doing. Priced at $40 so most people can afford it.

SUN: In terms of sports tourism, what’s Fiji’s chances of hosting racing event of this magnitude? And if it does, what benefits will it get?

SHUGG: There is the possibility of hosting an event in future or pos­sibly running guided motorcycle tours and hard enduro training camps, motorcycle brand launches.

The possibilities are endless.

Multi-day guided off road tours, visiting the interior and village stops.

Feedbacks: leonec@fijisun.com.fj



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