Bergholz teen tackles enduro

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Cooper Smith competed in the Lumberjack Enduro 100 in Bergholz Aug. 16.

“It’s about making it through the course and having a good time…”

By Eric Lowe

CCM Contributor

The 6th annual Lumberjack Enduro 100 took place Aug. 16 in Bergholz with over 300 participants.

The Ohio Valley Trail Riders Club and Appalachian Championship Enduro Series (ACES), worked closely with local landowners, Bergholz Fire Department and village officials to create a successful event that brought in riders from Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and even as far as Maryland.

The Enduro showcased riders pushing the limits of their motorcycles and bodies while tackling high-speed corners, up and down hills, rocks and mud, and at the same time, pushing the limits to test how much traction is available to the rider. Racers sought the straightest, fastest line, while also maintaining fitness and unique skills needed to tackle each section of the course.

Cooper Smith, 19, of Bergholz, ran the course with a modified Yamaha YZ250X. He started the year with an Enduro race in Chillicothe, and then participated in other events in the Ohio Valley region, including his debut in the annual Lumberjack event.

Smith mentioned the lack of rain caused some portions of the trail to kick up some dust that gave an additional element of challenge.

“The dirt and dust was probably the most difficult thing out there today. The dust kills your visibility while logs and rocks come up on you fast without seeing them until you are five feet away causing you to react quickly,” Cooper said.  “The dust seemed to be mostly isolated on the flat fields throughout the course.

“It’s about making it through the course safe and having a good time while doing it. The positives are that we have everything here. Other places either have too many ruts, too many rocks or only have hills,” said Cooper. “We have it all right here with a little bit of everything.”

 The course offered options to bypass difficult hills with pauses to allow riders to rest after each section.  All throughout the course black and orange arrows indicated the safest and correct trail, and black on white arrows to indicate wrong or dangerous areas. “The boys out here put a big effort into making this a great course to ride on,” Cooper added.

There was a total of 301 Enduro riders with chest plates, elbow and knee pads, helmets adorned with sponsor logos and machines that were emitting what some consider a sweet aroma of high-octane fuel.

Cooper and other riders finished the course showing signs of mud under the fenders and dust on their shoulders. Cooper had an impressive finish tackling the course in 111 minutes and 35 seconds and placed 4th in his division.

Norm Into, president of The Ohio Valley Trail Riders Club and trail boss for the Bergholz Lumberjack Enduro 100 event, said the race started at the Bergholz Volunteer Fire Department with a total of six “test” segments and 42 miles of actual-time racing.

“The challenge in this area is crossing logs and creeks. Where there might be a log in the creek, you might have to hop over them and they can sometimes be up to 18 inches high,” Into explained. “We don’t remove those logs because they are part of the trail. There are also places you are riding that are handlebar width through trees, typically 30 to 32 inches apart.”

Jason Chanko, an event staff member for the Ohio Valley Trail Riders Club, said, “If you don’t have the skills to ride this course, then you must have the desire. This is some of the best riding terrain to be found anywhere.”

Chanko mentioned there is a big difference in the land features in the Bergholz area compared to other courses raced throughout the year.

“The combination of everything that is offered in this area isn’t found anywhere else,“ he added.

Appalachian Championship Enduro Series, who sanctioned the event, sponsors a banquet each December for all staff and riders. Bergholz has been chosen five years in a row by riders from ACES for being the best Enduro course. Each of the nine Enduro race series ACES sanctions requires riders to adjust for individual style, amount of fitness and skill requirements and often, different sets of rules unique to each event.

This year’s Lumberjack event offered more off-road riding with no requirements to have lights or license plates. Scoring was done with a transponder (RFID) that was  attached to each rider’s helmet. The timer on each transponder paused at the end of each section then continued to run at the next section.

Bergholz Fire Department Chief Dwayne Morley made sure each rider was offered what was needed to have a safe and enjoyable experience during the event. 

Morley said, “We are basically the center HUB for the riders to do what they do. We have six different areas set up with trucks and side-by-sides with medical personnel and equipment on stand-by in case something happens, plus we set up stations to supply each rider with water.”

Bergholz, Fox, East Springfield, Richmond, and Amsterdam fire departments, along with Bergholz Officer Mark Clark and deputies from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s department assisted.

The Ohio Valley Trail Riders Club hosted the entire event benefiting the Bergholz Volunteer Fire Department. The money left after all expenses goes back to the community and first responders.

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