Tom Ellwood - British Army enduro motorbike rider

A British Army engineer has been finding success in an endurance sport with a difference, which can best be described as 'cross country on a motorbike'.

Lance Corporal Tom Ellwood, who's based with 22 Engineer Regiment in Tidworth, is among Britain's rising Enduro stars.

LCpl Ellwood, of the Royal Engineers, now has the backing of major sponsors, as well as being on the Army Elite Sport Programme, which will mentor his development.

"This support... will really push me to the next step... In the future I'd really like to be pushing for a podium in the British Enduro Championship."

Riding his MRS Sherco bike for a third year, he's also been selected for Britain's team to compete in the International Six Days Enduro (ISDE), which he describes as being "the pinnacle of enduro". He added:

"35 countries compete against each other and I was one of the three on the junior team... which was a real achievement."

Tom had a superb 2016, when he won virtually every race he entered.

This year he has been consolidating that position along with his soldiering duties, but says in 2018 he's looking to forge ahead:

"[I'm] really looking forward to getting '18 underway. I just feel like I'm in the right place now. Last year... [I] was a bit thrown into [things]... This year I feel ready."

Tom, who says he was six when he first began riding solo, did plenty of schoolboy motocross, but it was only after he joined the Army that he heard about Enduro.

The sport has its roots in the work of Army despatch riders, who would travel for miles across country to deliver vital messages.

Tom Ellwood - British Army enduro motorbike rider

Tom said: "Our laps can vary from anything from 30 miles to 100 miles a day, over a massive course, whether it be through mountains or rolling virgin terrain... It really does change - from rocks to grass, to tracks, to anything."

The Royal Engineers, Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers and other corps have teams in the sport and despite suffering a broken finger, Tom still won a couple of classes at the recent Army Championships.

And all his work on the bike is geared to scaling the heights in a sport that's keeping the traditions of Army motorcycling alive.

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