Urban endurocross might sound like a bit of an oxymoron, but that’s exactly the kind of event that’s happening in Calgary, Alberta. The event, called Red Bull Rocks and Logs, is not the first of its kind, but it will be a first for Canada. To make things even more exciting, professional rider Shane Cuthbertson has been recruited to redesign the track he’d already built to practise endurocross.
“There are going to be some fairly unique features,” said Cuthbertson. “We have a wall ride, which is basically a big wood 180-degree bowl turn with the wood at a 65- to 70-degree incline. It’s positioned in such a way that you can see the entire downtown landscape. We’re making a natural man-made section for the off-road guys who like to go through the trees—it won’t be a very long section but it will be a tree section with just vertical cut-off spruce trees secured into the ground. Other than that we will have a scaffolding section. It allows spectator access into the spectating area, but riders will actually have to ride up and over it, so that’s kind of a neat feature . . . A lot of it is very similar to what you would find in endurocross-type courses—lots of logs, lots of rock, hence the name Rocks and Logs.”
The wall turn was fairly tricky to build, said Cuthbertson, because there wasn’t an engineered design he could look to. The bigger challenge, however, was getting all the materials within a reasonable budget. Rocks don’t come as cheaply as one might think. Getting all the raw materials to the heart of Calgary was also a bit difficult. Equipment is needed every time something needs to be loaded or moved into place.
First of all, Cuthbertson did his research and looked at different Red Bull Rocks and Logs events. The real inspiration, however, came from various races he’s participated in around the world. He’s ridden the notoriously tough Red Bull Romaniacs in Romania along with other events in Europe. In the U.S., Cuthbertson has ridden in several Red Bull Last Man Standing events, and has followed the American endurocross circuit. There are some original design ideas, certainly, but many obstacles will be the best design elements from the best tracks that Cuthbertson has ridden.
“The tricky part (as a pro rider) is trying to make the track challenging yet ridable for all levels,” said Cuthbertson. “I tried not to lose sight of that while I designed it, but I’ve put a lot of stuff in there that would still be challenging to your top riders in the world and will be extra challenging to the amateurs that are riding, but they’ll be able to do it. It’s all fairly low-speed stuff, a little bit of extra lifting of motorcycles and pushing and that sort of thing. We’ve had people—not only pros, but also amateur-type level—riding it and we can see what we need to change, where people might really struggle, so we can put in some sort of measure where for the amateurs it might become a little bit easier.”
A sweet event
It’s a unique event not just for Calgary but for Canada. The track will offer a mix of off-road and motocross with some trials elements thrown in for good measure—all with Calgary’s skyline in the background. Despite also holding a full-time job, Cuthbertson has been happy to be involved in designing and co-ordinating such a course. The event is something he’s happy to see happening.
“I’m excited that Red Bull is behind such an event,” said Cuthbertson. “I’ve been in off-road for a long time. It’s a sport that I’m pretty passionate about, but oftentimes it gets overlooked by the motocross world. The support is hard to come by, and I think if you get a company like Red Bull on board it definitely increases the exposure for the sport. In general it’s just a win-win for everyone.”