Photos: Salvatore Longo, Giuseppe Guarcello, Antonio Di Maggio, Pietro Gentile, Tiziana Messina,Vittorio Platania
A wonderful Easter weekend was had by all at the first stage of the Bluegrass International Enduro Tour in Castelbuono, Sicily. The sun was splitting the stones, with a temperature of 22 °C up high at 1000m, with a breath-taking view over the Tyrrenian Sea making it an unforgettable end of March spring weekend of pure mountain biking for all participants.
The Bluegrass Enduro Tour recipe is simple: a high-quality MTB location with great race organisation in a very biker friendly atmosphere. First and foremost the BETi events are mountain bike meet ups where all enduro fans have the opportunity to spend a few days riding first class trails. If you add a chilled-out atmosphere, good food, great wine and live music, then all objectives have been happily reached.
The race, which took place on the trails of the Madonie MTB Resort, had three special stages with more than thirty kilometres over different trails. The technical first stage was held on a mix of the Giganti, North Shore and Manna trails, the fast second stage on the Castelbuono DH trail and the third finished up with a long 7km descent (a mixture of the Dei Carbonai and Milocco Trails) which brought the riders into the finish line in the medieval town centre of Castelbuono. The winner was French rider Jerome Clementz (Cannondale) with a time of 26mins 18secs in the special stage and he came in before the second French rider Bastien Dieffenthaler and the local Sicilian rider Davide Camedda who came in at a time of 30 mins 09 secs and 30 mins 59 secs respectively.
“Five days under the Sicilian sun while the rest of Europe is freezing" said Jerome Celementz. “The trails are fantastic here and it’s not easy to find similar trails in the Alps. It’s a race that has three special stages and a total of half an hour of complete downhill."
Special guest Alex Lupato (FRM Factory Team) recorded the second best time in the race despite not being officially classified and although he had some slight brake problems in the special stages.
The women’s race was won by Hannah Barnes (MTB Cut/Orange) from Scotland, who came in ahead of the new Sicilian champion Laura Scorpo (Team Ragusa Bike). The race counted as one of the stages of the Sicilian Enduro Championship and both Scorpo and Camedda will be wearing the Regional Champion jersey in the next round of the Sicilian Enduro Tour.
Bastien Dieffenthaler followed by Davide Camedda and Luca Morana (Team Conca D’Oro) were top of the Expert category while in the Master category the following: Irishman Daragh Smith (Team Giant Dublin) followed by Paolo Catania (Team Conca D’Oro) and Sergio Alcamo (Mongibello Team). In the Junior category Gianluca Talluto (Team Rider) was the winner.
The next stage of the Bluegrass International Enduro tour takes place in Mollau in Alsace, France on the 8th and 9th of June.
Now go out and ride your bike!