Words: Race organisation
Any concern that the seventh and final round of the Enduro World Series would be anti-climactic was put to rest this weekend with a save-the-best-to-last race hosted by Superenduro at Finale Ligure, Italy.
The overall Series winners, Jerome Clementz (Cannondale Overmountain), Tracy Moseley (TREK Factory Racing) and Junior Martin Maes (GT Factory Racing), already secure after Val d’Isere August 24-25, refused to cruise to the final podium of the year, instead engaging in dramatic stage-by-stage battles to each win the final race as well as their Overall titles.
Said Enduro World Series Managing Director, Chris Ball, “The riders who could have taken it the easiest this weekend put on the best races ever. It turned out to be an amazing end to the season.”
An historic field of 600 racers from 26 nations took part in the 45km 5 stage race that made the most of the Ligurian Coast’s incredible terrain, from fast flowing woodland trails to technical rocky coastal paths.
The talent pool was deep with pro riders and world champions from all disciplines, ending their seasons on a celebratory note, with top downhillers like Steve Peat and Josh Bryceland electing to finish their competitive year racing their bikes to the beach, 2013 World XC Champion Nino Schurter sharing a starting gate with Red Bull Rampage rider Brendan Fairclough, and Olympic XC racer Marco Aurelio Fontana making his enduro debut. Former 4X World Champion Jared Graves (Yeti Fox) pushed Clementz to the last, and 2013 TransProvence winner Nicolas Lau showed himself a force to be reckoned with, posting times that would have clinched him the win were it not for a one minute time penalty.
The racing culminated in the presentation to Clementz and Moseley of hand-crafted trophies, designed by enduro athlete Anka Martin and her photographer husband Sven, and brought to life by Scottish artisan Simon Muir. Designed from exotic hardwoods to represent the Enduro World Series logo, the trophies have eight tiny compartments each containing a relic from one of the race destinations: soil from Punta Ala, Italy, alpine rock from Val d’Allos, France a bottle of Genepe from Les 2 Alpes, France, bark and aspen leaves from Winter Park, Colorado, old man’s beard moss from Whistler, BC, white organic linen from Val d’Isere, France to symbolize the white-out conditions, and fresh hazelnuts sand from the beach of Finale Ligure. A final compartment remains as an empty invitation for the two champions to add a personal memento from their year of racing.
Said Ball of the first year for the Enduro World Series, “It has exceeded anything I could have dreamed off. It’s been a roller-coaster of a year, and we have a huge amount of input from the riders and teams as we move forward. We’ve learned a lot. But this final race and the amazing vibe here this weekend has absolutely motivated us to push on.”