Our man-on-the-ground, whip-offs grandmaster, and Sports Marketing Manager Allan Cooke gave us the rundown of the Enduro World Series race at Crankworx Whistler. Read on for more.
With a ten day break between the last Enduro World Series stop in Aspen and the race at Crankworx, Whistler became the rally point for the Santa Cruz-SRAM team and a host of other Santa Cruz riders and friends. What better place to recover and prepare for the next race than the MTB heaven that is Whistler?
Along with Mark, Iago, and Loosedog, the usual crew was joined by Rat Boy (Josh Bryceland), Alex McGuiness (Krunkshox), two Factory Racing team members Nic Bean and Kyle Bowman, the Nomads (Chris Johnston and Dylan Wolsky), and finally Nathan Riddle. All season long the trail crew up here in Whistler have been teasing the EWS Whistler course and when the track maps were released last Monday, it was clear this was going to be a tough one. Crankzilla two was on and the crew was stoked.
The practice and training days went well right from the start. There no major crashes or mechanicals and confidence was high. It hadn't rained for 40 days up here in Whistler but as it turns out if there is a drought all you have to do is schedule an EWS. The rain fell (again) but only lasted a few hours and this time around it actually improved the condition of track. Everyone was looking forward to getting the race started.
The sun cracked through the clouds on Sunday morning and the crew lined up and got to business. Crankzilla would be the second EWS appearance for both Nic Bean and Kyle Bowman from the Factory Racing team. They started their day off punching a 20 minute descent from “Top of the World” before jumping into the crown-deep holes in later stages; all the way having some near misses, close calls, and moments of genius. They achieved their goals to finish with their bodies and their bikes (both on Hightower LT’s) in one piece with Nic in 29th in the U21 category and Kyle in 112th in the Elite Men’s.
Kyle Bowman handling business like it's just another day at the California Enduro Series.
90F one day and raining the next. Welcome to Canada.
Downieville Downhill to Whistler 'Worx riding... there's no rest for the Riddler.
Tired and weary, Loosedog and Rat landed in Whistler directly after a long bike park tour with Fox. Knowing the terrain they were up against, they brought their Nomads to the party and proceeded to kill it in practice, flowing the trails but also conserving energy for what was ahead. The boys kicked off fast in the morning and by the Tech Zone at stage three they rolled in all smiles. When I asked him how his bike was running Loose said, “Loving it man, she’s riding like a dream. There were a couple of Eagle Grinds here and there but all is good. I did manage to get a no footer in dropping into the chute on stage 2, absolutely buzzin.”
After a long, hard day of racing (seven hours in total), Rat would finish 31st. All day he and Iago traded positions on the same 30 second gap, and it all culminated in Rat rolling into the final stage with a 14 second lead only to jump off the track, leaving Iago with the “win” and bragging rights by less than a second. Loosedog would jib his way to a top 80 finish but he was for sure on the box for having the most fun.
Too much stoke for one photo to handle.
Loose and Ratty hit up eight parks before they landed in Whistler on race day.
The party kept rolling with The Nomads (Dylan and Chris), Nathan Riddle, and the one-and-only Krunkshox. Dylan’s been living in Squamish and Chris in North Vancouver so this is basically a local race for them. It’s a big difference in your confidence when you’ve ridden a trail 10-20 times compared to only a few laps and the guys used their local knowledge to their advantage. Dylan finished 50th—pretty good considering this was his first EWS since Whistler last year—and Chris had a ripping day with top 15 finishes on three stages followed by a couple of crashes that pushed him back to 27th overall. Everything really has to go your way over the course of an EWS race.
As for Krunk and Nathan riddle? They were here racing with the intention of having fun and just riding to ride. Nathan was just coming off the Downieville classic and Krunk from Singletrack6 in BC; both are grueling and hard on the body. Six days wasn’t enough time to fully recover so finishing the race in one piece was the name of the game. There’s a 1,500 foot climb from the Tech Zone to the start of stage four and most riders were conserving energy by walking most of the way. Without talking to each other Krunk and Nathan made it their personal goals to ride the whole thing (maybe the only two to pedal it all the way) and finished the relaxed 2:12 liaison stage in under an hour. They’re animals to say the least.
There's more to life than being really ridiculously good looking.
You could call this one the Krunk crank.
Like holding on to a paint shaker. And you've only got a few more hours of ride time to go.
For Mark Scott, it finally all came together. It’s been two years of everyone saying it was only a matter of time before Mark would get on the podium. He’s been close so many time but a flat tire, a mechanical, or illness has always kept him from achieving his true potential. Mark rode amazing all day with no mistakes and no mechanicals. He finished every stage in the top ten all day and when he crossed the finished he went into the hot seat with a podium spot all but secured. After everyone came down, Mark would finish third overall—his best finish of his young EWS career. To get to the podium at an EWS is huge and to do it for the first time at the biggest race of the year on the biggest stage in front of a massive crowd was mega. Mark will have many more podiums in his career that’s for sure but this will be one to truly remember. The whole team was over the moon for Mark.
Mark's stage finish results for the day: 4th, 2nd, 8th, 8th, 9th.
That big-stage podium never felt so good.
After it was settled that he had made the podium, Mark’s first questions were about times and he wanted to know how far off first and second he was. He was happy to finally be on the podium where he belongs but he wasn’t satisfied. That’s the kind of drive and momentum that we’re all looking forward to in the final race of the season in Italy next month. Mark is seventh in the overall points race and another good race result could move him up into the top five for the season.
A big thanks goes out to our team partners SRAM, Maxxis and everyone at Santa Cruz that makes racing possible for us. Also a big thanks to all the riders here this week, each of you are a part of this success, it's a great crew we have and I wouldn't change a thing. -AC
Hard earned and well deserved. Congrats, Mark!