Record breaking Strathpuffer 2017 lives up to tough reputation

It’s true! When the going gets tough some of the toughest bikers in the world really do get going.

More than 900 competitors took part in the gruelling race

More than 900 contestants, ranging from 11 to 77, took part in this year’s Strathpuffer, a gruelling 24-hour off-road race through the Highlands of Scotland.

Freezing fog, below zero temperatures and challenging terrain set the scene this year for one of the most arduous winter adventure challenges to be found anywhere on the planet.

First initiated back in 2005, the annual event held near Strathpeffer, Ross-shire is now considered as of the world’s toughest mountain bike races.

Despite the lack of snow or driving rain competitors from across the UK and beyond were still pushed to their limits this year as they raced round a seven mile circuit through Torrachilty Wood.

Technical riding skills were tested to the max as many riders battled to stay upright on icy sections of the course where temperatures fell as low as -4c.

With the potential of black ice and slick slabs lurking around every corner, concentration levels were key to maintaining traction in some of the toughest riding conditions seen in recent years.

Photograph by: Gerry McCannHeavy mist enshrouds the Strathpuffer.

The first few laps were fast and furious but when night fell, the 2017 ‘Puffer became a matter of slippery survival. A tricky 17 hours of darkness, and many spills later, gave way to a beautiful Highland sunrise and breathed new life into the riders.

When the race finally came to a finish at 10am Sunday morning (January 22), exhausted, elated and relieved competitors could all be satisfied they had achieved something quite extraordinary, a new record for the total number of laps ridden at the ‘Puffer. An incredible 6,583 laps in total. That’s nearly twice around the world!

For third year running overall winner of the 2017 Strathpuffer was Lothian athlete Keith Forsyth who managed to complete a total of 30 laps in 23 hours, 55 minutes and 53 seconds.Winner of the female category was Emily Chapell from Wales who managed 23 laps in 23 hours, 33 minutes and 56 seconds.

“Scotland is the perfect stage for mountain biking, and once again the Strathpuffer put riders through an incredible test of endurance as they competed on the Scottish Highland’s stunning, yet challenging terrain,” said Stuart Turner, Head of EventScotland.