Kevan Bernards and Liam Scrivens will be driving in circles in the Alberta badlands this weekend as the two islanders participate in their first Red Bull Outliers Hard Enduro race.
The cross-country endurance dirt bike racing event will see up to 150 riders trying to complete as many circuits as possible over difficult terrain in a four-hour span.
Scrivens will be competing in the amateur class on a 2021 KTM 300 xc while Bernards will be in the veteran class on a 2016 Beta 300 rr race edition.
This hard enduro is Bernards’ first race of the COVID era, and he’s picked quite the challenge.
The longtime islander has been bike racing since 2016, doing cross-country hare scrambles, but in 2020, there wasn’t much opportunity to race. “So I’ve been itching to get back into it,” he says.
The terrain of Bowen is comparable to hard enduro terrain, says Bernards, and it’s how he got into this type of riding.
“The terrain on Bowen, it’s tough; it’s considered technical,” he says. “I really just naturally enjoy that style of riding.
“It’s a little bit slower than motocross. It’s not all about the high speeds. It’s more about your balance and your endurance, and your technical ability on the bike.”
“Getting to see how I stack up against the other riders and an actual hard enduro is pretty exciting.”
He’s been interested in the sport for a long time but there haven’t been many – if any – opportunities on the West Coast or in Canada for hard enduro, until now.
Though the sandstone and shale of the badlands isn’t like Bowen, the technical prowess needed to navigate the landscapes is – “That sort of riding, it’s difficult, it’s challenging. And they share a lot of the same basic skill sets.”
Bernards and friend Scrivens are travelling with a group of about 10 riders from the coast.
“They don’t expect a lot of riders to finish, so I’m going into this with the goal of finishing,” says Bernards.