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Red Bull Outliers returns to Olympic Plaza with better race action, better spectator experience

Red Bull Outliers, one of the world’s hardest motorcycle enduro races, is returning to Olympic Plaza on August 26, with improvements for spectators and competitors.

Hard enduro racing pits riders against an obstacle course, racing to complete as many laps as possible within a set time period in a mass-start, multi-rider format.

The return marks the second year that the series is taking place in Calgary, after an inaugural year that smashed expectations for the number of visitors to the Downtown Core.

“It’s kind of a neat place down the Olympic Plaza. It’s not it’s not a massive space, but it’s very electric when you get to get a good crowd going,” said Shane Cuthbertson, one of Canada’s top hard enduro riders and the race director for the Calgary stop of the FIM Hard Enduro Championships.

“Im very excited. I mean, the event continues to grow, and I think after last year being the first time it was part of the World Championship and having some really good, great coverage to Red Bull TV, I think this year it will be even better.”

Cuthbertson said that the race team is aiming for course changes that make racing better for the amateur and veteran classes, and subsequently better races for viewers.

“So this year, we’ve made some adjustments to the course where the pro and the expert riders, which are the top riders with a lot of experience, we’re going to send them on all the really hard bits. And then the amateur and the veteran classes, we’re going to take out a few of the really difficult sections so that there’s not as much crashing,” he said.

“We want to try to make it a good race, and people have had people actually have a race versus surviving. So that is one change we’re going to do this year, just trying to open it up a little bit and adjust the difficulty according to the riders’ skill level.”

In return, viewers can expect to see faster race action this year with fewer hang-ups on some of the more unyielding obstacles from 2022.

Other changes coming to improve the spectator experience, said Cuthbertson, was a reworked VIP setup that would allow more access for regular fans to view all of the race course.

“The way that we’ve rotated the course, we’re hoping to make it just easier for people to spectate,” he said.

Related: See the 2022 Red Bull Outliers action at Olympic Plaza

Serious competition and an unmissable spectacle

Race day will begin with a 160-rider parade from Lot 55, across from the Hilton in the East Village, through 7 Avenue, and to the race paddock in front of City Hall.

The parade was something that Cuthbertson said was one of the coolest things about the start of last year’s competition. And for fans, an unmissable start to a day of motorsport in the city.

“You don’t get to do that every day,” he said.

Practice begins at 9 a.m., followed by the start of the round one knockout races at 11 a.m., then round two at 1 p.m.

Red Bull Outliers is the fourth championship stop of six in the FIM Hard Enduro Championships, and one that Cuthbertson said would be challenging the competitors to take a mid-season lead in points.

“The competitors are just getting ready for the third round in Romania that’s starting off this week, and the championship is really tight amongst the same riders that are here in Calgary,” Cuthbertson said.

“It’s going to be the sort of the mid-season push where everybody wants to establish their dominance at the top of the box.”

Fans looking to get a jump on the leaders from the Red Bull Romanianiacs championship stop can catch the action on Red Bull TV, and at www.redbull.com/int-en/events/fim-hard-enduro-world-championship-red-bull-romaniacs.

Cuthbertson said another change this year would be the number of riders participating in the competition. Outliers has limited the number of racers to 42 in each category, largely as a result of the logistics of running the event in the downtown.

“Everybody’s super excited. We have a full roster… we got 160 in Calgary, and then the next day we go to just north of Brooks in Dinosaur Provincial Park and there will actually be 300 riders out there for that second day,” he said.