Controversial – British Cycling’s decision to make full face helmets compulsory in Gravity Enduro

It’s all kicked off in the UK Enduro scene this last week! First we had Steve Parr pulling out of running the UK Gravity Enduro series after sponsorship issues and problems with the timing, then Si Paton (of British Downhill Series fame) stepping up to the plate with a new organisation, new timing and new sponsorships, then we had Steve Parr coming back, giving us effectively two series. Mental!

But most surprising of all was that for the NEW UK Gravity Enduro series, there will now be British Cycling points available, meaning Gravity is now officially recognised, and about time too! As part of the BC sanctioning of the discipline, they are following the lead of the French and Italian races and making full face helmets compulsory on all timed DH sections, with the option of wearing just a normal open face helmet for transitions.

It’s kicked right off with some riders saying this will exclude people due to the extra cost implications of two helmets, others saying it’s better to be safe.

My view is that this is the right move – sadly we live in a much more risk averse country than France or Italy – landowners will soon get scared and stop wanting to host events if people are continually burying their faces and walking away with horrific wounds. We’re at an exciting stage in the sport’s development – while I was racing at the Mondraker Gravity Rally on National Trust land on Exmoor last week, the National Trust ranger said that other National Parks now want to get involved, which is amazing. But they sure as hell won’t be up for it if there’s a line of potential lawsuits……..

Talking of the Mondraker Gravity Rally – what an event! But tying in with the subject of full face helmets, I actually blew a timed stage (effectively wiping out my race) to help a guy who had used his face as a brake on the first timed stage of the day. It was pretty horrific what he had done to himself with a mangled eye socked, cheekbone, nose, lip and a beauty of a black eye, that was more or less fully closed a few hours later due to the swelling. A full face would have prevented this.

Here’s the actual “first person” footage of the crash, probably a minute before I arrived to help – as you’ll see, he was going at a fast old pace (I clocked 49 km/h on the same section) and this was a BIG smash!

So what’s your thoughts – nanny state or sensible advancement?

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