2023 US Hard Enduro Grinding Stone

Round 3 of the 2023 US Hard Enduro championship was held at the picturesque backdrop of Page, Arizona. The wide open red rock formations, loose sand and particularly difficult terrain make the Grinding Stone Hard Enduro one of the most spectator friendly courses on the calendar.

After a long hiatus following the Hawaii Endurofest, the USHE circus moved to the high desert for the popular Grinding Stone Hard Enduro. The racecourse is nestled neatly in the corner of Page with an abundance of epic campgrounds and free ride terrain to keep the friends and family entertained while the racers compete for some of the coolest trophies handed out all year.

The starting line crowd for the 2023 Grinding Stone Hard Enduro was packed with hopeful pros and amateurs alike. Notice the KTM Adventure on that next row? That poor dude took 20 tries just to get up the first 20 foot hill at the starting line. But he did it and we didn’t.

As for Ethan’s first time at Grinding Stone: He had a blast. He qualified fastest of the Youth Lites racers and made the cut for Sunday’s Race One. This race eliminates all but the upper echelon of the series best riders so that the USHE course designers can run them through a treacherous gauntlet of cliff faces, jagged rocky hill climbs and other maniacal routes meant to challenge the pros and humble the amateurs in the final race. You could apply that description to the early race too.

Here’s an iPhone photo of Ethan riding the 2021 Beta 250RR up one of the many rocky bluffs at the Grinding Stone Hard Enduro.

One of the wild aspects of Grinding Stone is the starting line. Racer’s line-up twenty feet from a soft, sandy vertical face wall with limited run-up. It catches about a third of the racers dead in the tracks and helps spread out the crowd a bit before they make their way to a hellacious hill climb about a quarter mile up the route. It sure makes for a great place to watch some action in the early going. I honestly felt bad for so many of the armature riders who got stuck in the bottleneck of that first climb. I guess that is why they call this, hard enduro!

2023 Grinding Stone Hard Enduro

According to Ethan and a few of the other Youth Lites riders, this was an awesome racecourse. The scenery was epic and despite the fact that they were exhausted after their race, they all reported having a great time. None of the young riders made the cut for the Sunday feature race and that was fine by all the parents in the paddock. While we all want our kids to win, we also want them to come home in one piece!

2023 Grinding Stone Hard Enduro

2023 Grinding Stone Hard Enduro

2023 Grinding Stone Hard Enduro winner Trystan Hart on his RedBull KTM navigating the slick rocks of Page, AZ.

When the dust settled on the final race of the day, the victory went to defending US Hard Enduro champion, Trystan Hart. The Canadian made short work out of the circuitous desert course on his way to a dominating 11-minute win over Factory One Sherco rider Cody Webb. Third place in the Pro class went to Rockstar Huqvarna’s Ryder Leblond, who was the only other competitor to finish al eight check points of Sunday’s feature race.

Stairway to Heaven was the best action spot for the 2023 Grinding Stone Hard Enduro and probably the next one too!

The signature obstacle at any of the Grinding Stone Hard Enduro events is the Stairway to Heaven. This hard, slick climb has multiple levels as the competitors try to make their way up the face. Only the most experienced riders made it multiple times, while the non-pros seemed to just accumulate along the walls of the ravine, making it more and more difficult every time the pro riders made it around for another lap. While that certainly drives them a little crazy, it sure makes for a good place for spectators to get a good look at the best hard enduro riders in the United States as they try to make the climb over and over again.

The Youth Lites podium at the 2023 Grinding Stone Hard Enduro in Page, AZ was the same as it was in Round 1 at King of the Motos. Ethan Hutchison (Beta) takes the win, defending Lites champion Kael Widdicomb (GasGas) was second with Mikey Udell (Husky) in third.

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