The inaugural Enduro World Series event – the Montenbaik Enduro World Series in Chile – had an uncertain start, after a forest fire broke out in the hills above the venue Corral on Friday. But after checking with the emergency services, it was decided that the event could go ahead, and it was won in fine style by Richie Rude (Yeti/Fox Shox) and Cecile Ravanel (Commencal Vallnord Enduro)
400 riders headed out to the ‘cold jungle’ , as the region is known locally, to hurtle down fresh-cut steepness which, judging by the photos, was a complete blast to ride.
Here’s the story from the press release:
Saturday saw Cecile Ravanel dominate the women’s field, winning the first two stages, with Anneke Beerten (GT Factory Racing) taking the third, which put her in second place at the end of the day. Meanwhile rising star Isabeau Courdurier (SUNN) finished Saturday in third.
In the men’s competition, Jerome Clementz started the day well by winning the first stage, but he couldn’t hold off Richie Rude who took stages two and three. The day ended with Rude on top, Martin Maes (GT Factory Racing) in second and Nico Vouilloz (Lapierrre Gravity Republic) in third.
By the end of Sunday the results didn’t change, but that didn’t mean there wasn’t plenty of action in the last three stages. Jared Graves (Specialized Racing) suffered a snapped chain on stage five, but was able to fix it in time to make his start time for stage six – only for the chain to break again early in his run, but he still managed to finish the race in eight place. And both Richie and Cecile had crashes on stage five, but neither lost enough time to lose their lead.
In the Under 21 Men reigning World Champion Adrien Dailly (Lapierre Gravity Republic) proved too strong for Sebastien Claquin (Rocky Mountain Urge BP) who finished second and Chilean rider Pedro Burns (Ibis Cycles Enduro Race) who came third. Karim Amour took a convincing win in the men’s Masters 40+ category. Lapierre Gravity Republic now lead the team category, with Rocky Mountain Urge BP in second and Devinci Enduro Racing in third.
Speaking after the race, Cecile said: “For sure I came here for a win but, it’s more difficult when you come for that. It’s hard to ride under that pressure; I know I had to stay on my bike, not have any mechanical problems, and of course that’s on your mind, but I’m happy now. I hope I feel better now going into Argentina and the rest of the season. The gaps in the racing is really close now with Anneke and Isabeau and all the others, which is good for the sport.”
Richie added: “I’m really happy to take the win – I wasn’t sure if I would so I’m pleased. I’m feeling good going in to Argentina now, it’s a great way to start the season.”
Eduardo de Solminihac of Montenbaik, said: “It was incredible for us to be able to bring the world’s best riders to Corral. It’s a very different experience for the riders to come to a place like Corral where you have to catch a boat just to find the trails. We wanted to show the riders what Chile is like away from the tourists and ski resorts – this is the true rural life in Chile. It’s been an amazing race and we’re proud we could make it happen.”