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Enduro World Series Round 6

 

Enduro World Series 2018 - Round 6 - Whistler

Août 14 — 2018 | Whistler, BC

Our man-on-the-ground and Sports Marketing Manager Allan Cooke gave us the recap of the sixth stop of 2018 Enduro World Series. Read on for more.

Its only been a couple of weeks since the last stop in La Thuile and the crew was already headed to North America for arguably the most prestigious Enduro race of the year: the Enduro World Series in Whistler, Canada. The hype for this event is huge; Whistler is the land of promise and it boasts an unimaginable amount of amazing lift accessible trails, so it's hard not to get excited ... even if you're making a trip across the pond.

Check out the pre-race interviews with the boys (post-race audio is further down):

 

Loose in his last EWS of the season. From now on it's back to 50:01 edits and good times till Trans-Cascadia. 

In the past Whistler's been one of the toughest races of the season—one year it was even dubbed “Crankzilla.” With that kind of reputation it was a welcome surprise when practice turned out to be extremely chill and the first day was only a single stage that kicked off with a 4 PM start on the famed “Top of the World”. At 20+ minutes long and making up half of the whole race time, "Top of the World" would prove to be a pivotal stage in comparison to the rest. The second day of practice covered the other four stages of the race and only the first two required a physical transfer while the rest were assisted by chairlifts and gondolas. There was even a three hour lunch break during the second day of practice; it was enough time for the crew to watch our Syndicate brothers racing live in Mont Sainte Anne at the World Cup DH.  

Eat smarter not harder. 

This race we had a solid group of riders that spanned from vets to young guns and included the full Santa Cruz x SRAM Team with Mark Scott, Iago Garay and Loosedog, Free Agents Mitch Ropelato, Chris Johnston, Ratboy, and Junior showroom employee, Nic Bean. Even with the laid back practice days the entire crew was fired up when their names were called to the start in the village. Any intensity that was lacking from the more casual style of practice was going to be put straight back into racing while on the clock.

Practice makes perfect, studying lines before race day.

Rat started the day off with consistent stage finishes: his best was a 21st with a pair of 23rds and a 30th—a lot that had him in 23rd overall heading into the 5th and final stage. Then there was the crash ... after coming off a high-speed fire road there's a section of track that quickly turns technical and somewhere during that shift (and while coming over a rise) something took Rat's bike out from underneath him and left him in a heap in a giant slab of jagged rocks. 

“That was a big one, I was on my hands and knees trying to breath hoping I hadn’t just broke my back. I got lucky on that one but there is something definitely wrong with my shoulder, bummer to end the Whistler trip like that but it happens.”  Healing vibes to Rat from the whole team.

Sending healing vibes to the Rat after taking a nasty crash in Whistler.

Iago has shown promising form in the last few races — he just needs a bit of good luck to bring things together.

Iago was having the best EWS race of his career and it was by far his best performance in Whistler. He stayed consistent, built results throughout the day, and bagged a 19th place on stage two. It wasn't until the final stage that things started coming apart. He picked up a flat, managed to plug the tire and continue on, and then came up short on a rock triple and left the track at 70+ km on a  fire road ... resulting in another flat. Iago was just outside of the top 20 heading into the last stage but with the double mechanical he ended the day in 157th place.

Flats would haunt Iago on the final stage and move him out of the hunt for a top 20. 

Loose was shredding all day, giving the fans what they wanted to see, and jibbing and bonking his way down each track like a true Steezeman. Just before heading into the "Top of the World" Stage he was forced to patch up a flat (hole in his tire) with a tube, which made the impending rock gardens a bit questionable. Sure enough he also ended his day with a flat and then had a long, slow ride back to the village. That didn't put a damper on the good feelings though, Loose was all smiles as usual and happy to survive the big day out.

Despite the mechanicals Loose was all smiles at the finish.

Hard on the gas, Mark charged his way to the finish pulling back as many places as he could.  7th place in the overall EWS standings after Whistler. 

The last couple of races haven’t gone the way Mark hoped and he was looking to get his season back on track here in Whistler, the place where he collected his first EWS podium just last year. With last year's finish under his belt there was some extra confidence that kept him loose and focued during practice—he was riding extremely fast and he kept things particularly smooth on all the stages. Stage one was a 12th place, stage two was 24th, there was another 12th on stage three, and by stage four he snagged a 19th. Sitting in a respectable 14th place overall Mark wanted more as he headed into the final stage.

Stage five would make up half of the time for the entire race, so Mark used the fitness he’s built this season and left it all out there as he fought through fatigued-induced back spasms without stopping his charge. The effort paid off with a 10th on the final stage which bumped him up to 11th in the overall and better yet earned him three spots back in the series standings. He's now 7th heading into the final two races of the season.

Down the mountain through the woods to the finish line we go!

Can you hear me now?

What's next? The crew heads into a five week break before the next race in Ainsa, Spain and its then on to Finale, Italy to finish the season a week later. Mark, Iago, Mitch, Nic, and Sam Dale will be the crew repping for SCB — check back in September to hear how these guys get along — while Loose, Rat, and Francois head to the Trans-Cascadia to battle Luca Shaw, Loris Vergier, Greg Minnaar and Steve Peat of the Syndicate for 4 days of the best blind racing, food, booze, and good times the Pacific Northwest has to offer. 

What a cast huh, seems too good to be true but they are all signed up and committed. On to more racing and good times.

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