The Enduro World Series will swap New Zealand’s native forests for the Australian outback as it heads to Derby for Round Two - the Shimano Enduro Tasmania.
The series has left behind the renowned Rotorua trail network and will this Sunday take a leap into the unknown as it heads to its first new venue of 2017, the tiny outpost of Derby in the wilds of Tasmania.
This former mining town has a growing reputation inside Australia for its trails, but this weekend’s event will mark the first international competition to race them. Three hundred riders will be faced with seven stages over a single day, that takes in 57km and 1500m of climbing. The fast and flowy trails, designed by Glen Jacobs, will see racers immersed into the area’s native forest and sending it down huge slabs of rolling bedrock that typify the riding in this part of the world.
Ian Harwood of EMS Enduro and Race Director said: “The trails here in Derby are incredible and we’re looking forward to seeing the world’s best riders tackling them. The local community has really thrown itself behind this event and the amount of work they’ve put in has been monumental. The legacy of this event speaks for itself - the trail network has already increased considerably and having the spotlight on Tasmania ensures its place on the map of world class mountain biking destinations.”
And after the crazy weather in Rotorua, the competition is wide open heading into the race. In the women’s category it’s business as usual at the top, with Cecile Ravanel (Commencal Vallnord Enduro Team) at the sharp end of the points table, but with last year’s second placed rider Isabeau Courdurier (SUNN) pulling out of round one due to illness, she’s slipped down the standings and it’s Ines Thoma (Canyon Factory Enduro Team) in second and Anita Gehrig (Ibis Cycles Enduro Race Team) in third.
It was an all Kiwi podium in Rotorua as Wyn Masters (GT Factory Racing) proved the mud was no match for him and took his first EWS win. He was joined on the podium by Matt Walker in second and Wyn’s brother Eddie Masters in third place. All three will be looking for more of the same this weekend, but they’ll face some fierce competition. Australian Sam Hill (Chain Reaction Cycles Mavic) will be hungry for a win on home soil and reigning World Champion Richie Rude (Yeti Fox) will be looking to claw back points after a disappointing 21st place to start his season.
In the U21 Men watch out for young Chilean Pedro Burns, and in the U21 Women Martha Gill of the UK. In the Master’s Men it could well be another battle between Karim Amour (BH Miranda Racing Team) and reigning World Champion Michael Broderick, and look out for Mary Mcconneloug in the newly formed Master’s Women category too.
The event kicks off on Friday when official race practice begins and the Juliana Women’s ride heads over to the famous Blue Tier Trail for a relaxed day in the saddle led by Anka Martin. On Saturday the Shimano Tasmania Enduro Challenger gets underway with some keen amateurs racing four of the stages featuring in the main race the following day. Sunday’s main race gets underway at 07:30am AEST - and don’t forget you can keep up with all the action with live timing, race feed and GPS tracking on enduroworldseries.com throughout the race on Sunday.