Despite unseasonal yet occasionally heavy snowfall, more than 5,000 spectators passed through downtown Calgary’s trendy Eau Claire Market district on September 28th to experience Red Bull Outliers enduro, a head-to-head “urban endurocross” competition featuring professional and amateur motocross riders. Organizers said it was the first-ever Enduro event to take place in a city landscape.
The Red Bull event—a partnership between Tourism Calgary and the Calgary Downtown Association—featured over 100 riders and brought a unique experience to the city.
Building on the success of its Red Bull Rocks and Logs predecessor, the Outliers course incorporated two tons of stone, 100 tires and one dumpster among other obstacles.
It was a tight, tricky venue made even more challenging by steadily falling snow that resulted in numerous hard get-offs as riders struggled to find traction. The top spot ultimately belonged to California’s Colton Haaker in the pro category, who seemed unfazed by the combination of natural and man-made obstacles.
“If it didn’t snow, it still would have been awesome, but I think the snow made it that much more awesome,” said Haaker following the event.
Alongside Haaker, competitors included Calgary’s own Lexi Pechout, a two-time Red Bull Rocks and Logs winner, and ex-NHL’er Scott Thornton.
Originally slated as a 37-race two-day event with 34 races run on Saturday in Calgary and the remainder hosted by nearby Steveville, Alberta on Sunday, results from Saturday’s race action ultimately held as the final standings due to extreme weather which caused the cancellation of the second day of racing. Red Bull Outliers is not currently apart of the World Enduro Super Series.
While the mood of the crowd was generally upbeat despite the snow, some Eau Claire residents had raised concern over a motorcross race in Calgary’s downtown core with City Councillor for the area, Druh Farrell quoted as saying the community had not been notified of the event.
“I’m asking, for future events, that we have better protocols to work with the community. They weren’t informed of this and they certainly weren’t consulted,” she told press.
The Red Bull Outliers enduro race is believed to be Canada’s first motorsports competition ever held in the heart of a city and some concerns centred around increased traffic and access to parking garages.
But prior to the race weekend the Calgary Downtown Association had said all residents would be able to access their garages and that all potential noise levels had been addressed.
“As with any motorsports event, the sound of the motorbikes will be noticeable. With that said, the noise levels will fall within the allowable limits of city bylaw regulations,” the association said in a statement.
(Photos: John Campbell, with text files from Travis Persaud and Rachel Coleman)