Hell’s Gate: Where to watch

Six of the best spots for watching Hell’s Gate, the classic opener of the Hard Enduro season.
Hell's Gate, Il Ciocco, Lucca, Italy
Hell's Gate © Olaf Pignataro/Red Bull Content Pool
By Robert Lynn

Hell's Gate is a Hard Enduro classic – here’s our guide to the 2014 season opener and a true test of endurance.

Hell's Gate: Paddock
Hell's Gate: Paddock © Jonty Edmunds

1. Paddock

Il Ciocco is a privately owned mountain. Yes, really! The paddock is located at the end of a 10-minute drive up into the mountains. It’s where the hub of the action takes place on Friday afternoon. Located around the outskirts of a football pitch (used as the Russian football team’s training base during the 1990 football World Cup), it’s where all the teams prepare for the event.

At 7am Saturday, the first rider leaves to start the morning enduro. It’s also worth getting back here at midday to watch the Pros change tyres and fit lights during their allotted 15-minute work period ahead of the afternoon race.

Hell's Gate: Special Test
Hell's Gate: Special Test © Jonty Edmunds / Red Bull Content Pool

2. Special Test

The start and finish of the morning special test is usually close to the paddock. Follow the course and you’ll pick up a couple of early sections, where the pros will roar past at full speed.

Hell's Gate: Rock Step
Hell's Gate: Rock Step © Jonty Edmunds

3. Rock Step

About a 10-minute trek into the special test is a spectacular rocky step. It’s a great place to watch the top guys make short work of the slippery climb. You’re also guaranteed a crash or two. The course usually loops around it a couple of times so you’ll see plenty of action. With a big crowd of spectators gathered there’s also a good party vibe.

Hell's Gate: Start Line
Hell's Gate: Start Line © Jonty Edmunds / Red Bull Content Pool

4. Start Line

For the main event, all qualified riders will assemble on the MotoGP styled starting grid. It’s a tarmac start, at 15:30, where riders blast off the into a 180 degree first corner. It’s worth a visit for the pre-race tension alone.

Hell's Gate: Cascata
Hell's Gate: Cascata © Jonty Edmunds / Red Bull Content Pool

5. Cascata

Cascata is Italian for waterfall. Over halfway around the main loop riders emerge out of the forest and navigate down a series of terrifying drops.

Hell's Gate: Hell’s Peak
Hell's Gate: Hell’s Peak © Jonty Edmunds / Red Bull Content Pool

6. Hell’s Peak

Hell’s Peak is where it all ends… if you’re lucky enough to have got that far. After four laps of hell, those that haven’t been eliminated face one last hill climb, in total darkness, the majority of which isn’t possible without ropes and spectator assistance. Get involved if you wish or stand back and watch. But whatever you do, don’t miss it!

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