A hare scrambles consists of riders completing multiple laps on a marked course through woods or other rugged natural terrain. Riders frequently install hand protectors (aka “bark busters”) on their handlebars to protect their hands and controls from contact with trees. Each course can vary in the length and the time for the completion of each lap. Riders must carry a punchcard on their machines that is marked at checkpoints throughout the race (or, with modern technology, a transponder is attached to each machine and automatically registered at each checkpoint), to ensure that the rider follows the prescribed course without taking any shortcuts. The winner is the rider who makes the most number of laps during the designated time period (and who finishes first on the lead lap).
Each lap will provide riders an opportunity to refuel and/or repair their machines – such activities must take place within a designated area. As in enduro, hare scrambles riders will sometimes carry a small selection of tools and spare parts with them, like spark plugs and inner tubes, so that they can affect basic repairs trailside.
The terrain, course layout, and machines are all very similar to what you would see at an enduro, but the two events actually have different goals – an enduro is a timekeeping event, where the most important factor is to abide by a strict schedule of when you’re supposed to arrive at checkpoints – a hare scrambles, on the other hand, is a speed event – you simply go as fast as you can through the specified course.
Like enduro, a hare scrambles can be an extremely physically demanding event – riders must be in top physical form to compete at the highest levels. There are classes for casual riders, as well as youth classes too – which frequently cover less-intimidating terrain and have shorter race durations.
There are youth and ATV classes in hare scrambles too!