A stormy night before race day ensured this year’s Enduro Wet Series’ muddy streak continued; however, the dusty ground soaked up the moisture, the sun came out and the trails soon turned to hero-dirt, finishing up with servings of dust come day two of round 6 in Aspen Snowmass, USA. A consistent season thus far saw Sam Hill come to Aspen ranked 2nd, while Jared Graves was knocked back to 14th after a crash induced DNF at Millau’s round 5. A close battle ensued between the two Aussies along with Belgium’s Martin Maes and USA’s Richie Rude, who was back on form and finished day 1 in the lead. A puncture in stage 4 saw Rude drop out of podium contention, and after six stages totalling over 46 minutes, the top three places were separated by less than 10 seconds.
Round six of the Enduro World Series, the Yeti Cycles Big Mountain Enduro presented by Shimano Aspen Snowmass, will go down as one of the closest fought races in EWS history.
After four stages and almost 70 km of trail, Jared Graves (Specialized Racing) led Sam Hill (Chain Reaction Cycles Mavic) by just 0:00.32, but in the end the race no one could hold off Hill as he claimed the last two stages to win the race. Martin Maes (GT Factory Racing) fought back to take second place, with Graves finishing in third. Hill now leads the series rankings by 40 points, with Adrien Dailly (Lapierre) in second and Greg Callaghan (Cube Action Team) in third.
Speaking after the race, Sam said: “It was awesome, six amazing stages here in Colorado and I just had a good time and tried to stay as consistent as I could. I hadn’t raced an EWS here before so I wasn’t too sure what to expect and I wouldn’t have expected to win here. My goal now is to try and win this thing at the end of the year.”
In the women’s race Isabeau Courdurier (SUNN) took the first stage of the race, but no one could stop Cecile Ravanel (Commencal Vallnord Enduro Team) who went on to win three stages and win the race by over 47 seconds. Casey Brown’s (Trek Factory Enduro Racing Team) strong performance over both days saw her clinch third place. Ravanel cements her lead in the overall rankings, whilst Winton moves up to second place and Ines Thoma (Canyon Factory Enduro Team) moves back to third.
Cecile said: “I liked the trails a lot better than last year, much steeper and more natural and I enjoyed being here. I hope to keep going like this for the rest of the year and take the overall series win.”
In the U21 men Killian Callaghan’s lead in the series rankings was bolstered by another win, with Duncan Nason of the USA in second and Max Leyson in third. In the U21 women it was Samantha Soranio who won every stage, Lia Westermann came second and Abigale Lawton third.
Karim Amour (BH-Miranda Racing Team) continued his winning streak to claim another win in Masters Men, Brian Lopes came second and Mike West third.
Team of the day was Rocky Mountain Urge bp, which leaves them second in the overall rankings behind Ibis Cycles Enduro Race Team, with Canyon Factory Enduro Team in third.
The series returns in two weeks for round seven, the Crankworx Canadian Open Enduro presented by Specialized.
1. Sam Hill (AUS): 46:04.34
2. Martin Maes: 46:08.23 (+0:03.89)
3. Jared Graves (AUS): 46:12.55 (+0:08.21)
4. Damien Oton: 46:34.94 (+0:30.60)
5. Jesse Melamed: 46:35.82 (+0:31.48 )
6. Adrien Dailly: 46:41.67 (+0:37.33)
7. Francois Bailly-Maitre: 46:48.69 (+0:44.35)
8. Remi Gauvin: 46:50.08 (+0:45.74)
9. Curtis Keene: 46:50.25 (+0:45.91)
10. Florian Nicolai: 46:52.59 (+0:48.25)
1. Cecile Ravanel: 51:21.30
2. Isabeau Courdurier: 52:08.69 (+0:47.39)
3. Casey Brown: 52:11.31 (+0:50.01)
4. Anita Gehrig: 52:31.28 (+1:09.98 )
5. Katy Winton: 52:32.34 (+1:11.04)
6. Andreane Lanthier-Nadeau: 52:44.98 (+1:23.68 )
7. Noga Korem: 53:05.96 (+1:44.66)
8. Ines Thoma: 53:49.09 (+2:27.79)
9. Carolin Gehrig: 54:05.57 (+2:44.27)
10. Raewynn Morrison: 54:20.99 (+2:59.69)
Full results from Round 6 can be found here.