With the weather predictors trying their best to rain on our parade, it was definitely going to be very tough day out for the 280 odd competitors. The early morning drizzle set the scene, as the athlete’s rolled out from the town green and onto the 57 kilometer course.

With the rain increasing on the fairly lengthy Stage 1, conditions went from fine to well below average very quickly. Though this only made the riding  that more exciting and with plenty of fires popping up trailside the Australian crowds launched into full party mode.

Back to the racing. Well, Jared Graves with a drier track took the early lead with a win in Stage 1, but faded on the later stages to fall just short of a podium in sixth. The rest of the day saw a kaleidoscope of stage wins from Martin Maes, Ben Forbes, Greg Callaghan, Adrien Dally and Sam Hill who was the only male rider to take more than one stage win. Conditions took their toll but riders pushed on in the trying conditions, many stacks were had and the hecklers cries could be heard far and wide throughout the bushland. By days wrap up, the young Frenchman Adrien Dally fresh up from the U21 division put it all together to take the overall on the final stage. Where unfortunately it all came undone for Greg Callaghan when made a simple mistake on the short simple final run to claim second. Sam Hill's consistent efforts and multiple stage wins left him in good stead to finish the day in third. Charging up behind Richie Rude, settled for fourth, although it's an entire step above from the forgetfull Rotorua round one, for the World Champion. 

 

The women’s race was dominated by Isabeau Courdurier, where she took 5 out of the 7 stage win’s and the overall. Whilst Cecile Ravanel took the remaining two stage wins, she also rode consecutive seconds in all but one of the remaining stages to hold a firm grasp on second place for the day. After the less than ideal start in Rotorua for Courdurier it’s awesome to see her back and taking it to Ravanel. It’s going to be an amazing battle for the rest of the year to come if this toe to toe battle continues. The minor places were hard fought with Innes Thoma, Noga Korem and Katy Winton all finishing within the same thirty seconds.

 

Austalians littered throughout the results but there were some suprising results in the Men’s Under 21’s. Where Mount Beauty local and all round pinner, Ben McIlroy took the win from fellow Australian Pearce Blake in second and cross the ditch native Ben Friel in third.

 

With stages being hailed as some of the most fun ever by some of the worlds leading Enduro racers, you can be sure we will be seeing the EWS in good ol Tasmania once again. For now the party continues in Madiera on the 13th and 14th of May for round three of the Enduro World Series.

Words and Photos: Tim Bardsley-Smith.