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Enduro World Series Round 5

 

Enduro World Series 2018 - Round 5 - La Thuile

July 19 — 2018 | La Thuile, Italy

Our man-on-the-ground, whip-offs grandmaster, and Sports Marketing Manager Allan Cooke gave us the rundown of the fifth stop of 2018 Enduro World Series. Read on for more.

This is the third time in EWS history that we’ve visited the small village of La Thuile high in the Italian Alps and just on the backside of Mont Blanc. The terrain in La Thuile is steep and raw and the organizers always spend the time to build fresh trails for this race. Chairlift liaisons are common and it's always a bonus when the mountains are as big as they are here. The region never disappoints and everyone was stoked to be back.

We had a big crew in Santa Cruz pit. Mark Scott, Iago Garay, and “Loosedog” from the SCB x SRAM Enduro Team were all in attendance and they were joined by Free Agents Ratboy, Craig Evans and Mitch Ropelato, as well as Ambassadors Sam Dale and Francois Bally-Maitre.

Stop number five marked the kick off to the second half of the season and the riders were keen to get out on track. As has happened so many times at the EWS (“Enduro Wet Series”) the weather would play a major role in determining the outcome of the race. Practice conditions were loamy, even dusty in places, but about an hour after the stages closed on the final day of practice the skies opened up in a big way. Thunder, lightning, and a whole lot of rain came down leaving the riders a bit nervous heading into race day. There was no way of knowing how the fresh cut sections would hold up until the riders were out on the dirt and in the stage racing against the clock.

SOUND ON — Listen to Allan's pre-race words with the crew.

Top to bottom: Loose, Iago, Mark, Ratboy!

More audio from the team below.

As the riders entered the pit at the end of day one the sentiment was that all the guys were happy to survive. The conditions were incredibly slick and seemingly unrideable. It was a measure of success just to make it through some sections and not everyone did—there were plenty of crashes and some who dealt with mechanicals that forced them to play catch up on day two. Francois was the fastest of the crew that day and the only Santa Cruz rider that stayed clean enough to be in the top ten heading into the second day of racing.

On day two the weather cleared and the tracks had all but dried up. The first stage of the day was still a bit slippery up top but as things progressed the riders were welcomed to prime conditions. Crashes and mechanicals from the previous day meant that wasn't much hope of climbing back to a satisfying result for some. The only thing anyone could do was to push as hard as possible, stay off the ground, and give the fans what they came to see. There are so many details and chances to lose time at an Enduro World Series race but that doesn't keep the riders from having a good time.

The tracks were dialed and the fans were going crazy for all our guys when they came through a section. It was awesome to see our guys and the fans feeding off of each other. For Iago it was the shot in the arm he needed. He had one of his best days at an Enduro World Series race and he pulled off an 11th place through the most physical stage of the weekend.

Loose finished 75th in the overall but got some of the loudest cheers from the fans. Some could barely navigate the sections that he was slashing, crank flipping, and fast through.   

 

 

AC Fabz gettin' his hands dirty and keeping the team's Reserve wheels dialed. There's a reason he's referred to as the Do'er O' Things. 

Iago showed the biggest improvement during the first few stages. He finished day one in 106th place and then crushed stage three into 11th place.

 

 

Nothing like new bike day. Mark breaking in the new whip he'll be riding for the second half of the season. 

Loosedog. R2F.

The one man Rat pack was back on the hunt.

Rat chalked up a 12th place finish on stage one. Crashes and a small mechanical would cost him, though. He would finished in 32nd overall. 

Roots down and heads up. Unlocking the mental game is half the battle and Iago found the key on day two.

A fan-fueled gauntlet of rocks and loam. Fuel for the fire for Mark.

Mark had the toughest week. 26th overall isn't too bad considering he was out of the top 40 after day one and then struggled find his groove and was forced to deal with a strange mechanical on the final stage of the day. A small twig got stuck between the cassette and hub and it caused his hub to remain fixed. This lead to a dropped chain at the top of the stage and after that the damage was done. The most painful statistic of the week was his droped down in the overall points chase from 5th to 10th. 

Mark left La Thuile frustrated, but we’re only two weeks away from the next stop in Whistler where he got his first ever EWS podium with a 3rd place finish last season. The points are tight between 3rd and 10th in the overall so there's plenty of opportunity to move back into the top 5.

Fuuutbollll! The post-race match: Vanzacs vs. 50:01.

Ultimately, the results weren’t what we were hoping to come away with here in La Thuile but that's racing. There's nothing to do but look forward from this point on. There's still plenty of racing left and anything can happen in Enduro. Everyone is fired up (to say the least) to as we head to the biggest race of the season in Whistler, Canada. 

See you soon, Crankworx. >

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