EWS R2 2022
Enduro World Series Petzen-Jamnica threw facefulls of loam, roots and rocks at riders as they tried to tame its varying gradient.
Photographers Sven Martin and Sebastian Schieck saddled up and headed out into the hills to follow all the racing action. Their best photos will appear in our end of season yearbook, but for now here’s a preview and flashback to last weekend’s EWS Petzen-Jamnica. Video by Tommy C. All photos by Sven and Seb. All audio by Sven. Results link at the end.
It was one race in two venues either side of the Austrian-Slovenian border. On the left, Petzen: a grand old peak reaching over 2,000 metres into the skies. To the right, Jamnica: a lush forest full of singletrack hand-cut by and for mountain bikers.
The trails in Petzen – or, trail, as the two race stages in Austria were both on variations of the same track – descended 1,000 metres over nearly 15 minutes of brutal enduroism. Meanwhile, in Slovenia, the three stages in Jamnica were more of a horizontal affair, rolling beautifully through the green and loamy woodlands – wonderful to ride, physical to race.
While EWS Tweed Valley was a great show enjoyed by all (except Kasper Woolley – get well soon), the total racing time was little more than 20 minutes (less, in fact, for the winning pro men). Some said it wasn’t very testing. True to form, the EWS hit back with a forearm- and lung-destroying second round. Petzen’s long stages pushed even the strongest racers to their limits; throw in Jamnica’s sprints and the on-bike transfer between venues (ridden only in one direction, Slovenia-Austria) and it all made for a tough 40-ish minutes of total racing time.
Jesse Melamed took his first big win since 2020 in pro men’s, but he was pushed to the limit all race long by an ever-present Richie Rude (second) and a returning Jack Moir (third). In the women’s, Isabeau Courdurier proved once again that she is the rider to beat at any venue, in any conditions; Morgane Charre pushed hard to step back onto the podium (second), with round one winner Ella Conolly continuing her run of form in third. In under-21, Luke Meier-Smith and Emmy Lan took top honours in the men’s and women’s categories respectively.
Congratulations to all the racers making it to the end – it was no mean feat during a Europe-wide heatwave.
We hope you enjoy all the photos and notes below. Keep your eyes peeled for the print version of this zine, coming to the real world and an event near you soon.
Above: Welcome to the edge of the Alps. The race took place in two venues: Petzen in Austria, and Jamnica in Slovenia. The former hosting two stages (Saturday’s Pro Stage and Sunday’s final stage), the latter three.
Above: Hometown hero. Orbea’s Vid Persak is straight out of Slovenia. His wild, raw style is a pleasure to watch. Persak scored a solid 15th in the EWS here, with a top-10 on stage four. PHOTO: SEB
Above: Andréane Lanthier Nadeau flying in the breeze high up above the Austrian-Slovenian border. PHOTO: SVEN
Above: Hot, hot, hotttt. It wasn’t easy dealing with some of the highest ever June temperatures. Making it through the week required many lake dips, ice packs, ice creams and a lot of time hiding in the shade. Unfortunately, riders had to face the brutal sun for racing over the weekend. Pedalling between Jamnica and Petzen on Sunday’s main race day (the Pro Stage was on Saturday afternoon) with no tree cover cooked a lot of the racers before they’d even got to the start of the brutal final stage.
Above: Sick. Slawomir Lukasik burst into the enduro limelight in 2021 with a fourth place in Crans Montana. With a ride on the Canyon-Dainese Cllctv (sic) team for 2022, the Polish racer looks to be on-form and game for some big results. Fifth here in Petzen-Jamnica. PHOTO: SEB
Above: Ella Conolly’s win at EWS Tweed Valley didn’t surprise anyone. The Scot won pretty much everything in the under-21 category and seems to be realising her potential as a pro now. Conolly gave it some in Petzen-Jamnica and, despite a hefty crash in the Pro Stage, finished third. Bravo! PHOTO: SVEN
Above: This is mountain biking. Punctures, vests, mullets, friends and coffee. Does it get any better? Maybe forget the flat tyres, actually.
Below: Yeti has always supported the best up-and-coming talent; the brand’s trademark turquoise suits Bex Baraona. Another solid result here with fifth in the race overall, putting Baraona third in the series rankings after this race. PHOTO: SVEN
Above: Petzen’s two stages were either savagely steep or flat-out sprints. When a race stage is more than 10 minutes for the world’s fastest pros, you know it’s tough. But it’s hard to overstate just how physical this track was, especially in the baking heat. Most racers said they felt like they’d forgotten how to ride a bike by the end of it. The Pivot team seemed to lap it up though – Matt Walker (pictured) finished sixth, Eddie Masters fourth and Morgane Charre took second in the women’s. Team of the week for Pivot Factory Racing. PHOTO: SEB
Above: The women’s number 1 and 2021 series winner Melanie Pugin’s season didn’t get off to a perfect start in Scotland. Pugin had a massive, frankly terrifying face-first crash into a rock there. But champions are made tough, and not only did she finish a respectable 15th there, she bounced back to claim fourth here in Petzen. Upwards from here! PHOTO: SVEN
Clockwise from left: Mitch Ropolato getting steezey during shakedown; Scenes from the side of an Austrian mountain; Matt Walker (from New Zealand – just in case any brand managers were wondering) tucks in; Lapierre team pits.
Above: Richard Rudedog Jr. cutting through some golden light on his way to two stage wins and second place overall in Austria-Slovenia. With a win and a second to his name already in 2022, you’d be a fool not to bet on Rude for a top-three overall this year. Rude on the audio. PHOTO: SEB
Scenes. Clockwise from top left: Brake check – you’re going to need some good stoppers on Petzen’s relentless long stage; Jacy Shumilak back in the ring and on the tools for his longtime rider, Sam Hill. Hill missed round one due to complications from catching Covid, but it was good to see the Aussie back here; Sven catches up with the young, adventure loving, bikepacking beast Matthew Fairbrother in the audio below, legend; Morgane Charre hiding from the heat.
Above: Always be prepared (mudguard – tick). But don’t forget to unlock your shock (listen to the interview below). Eddie Masters knows how to ride an enduro race, and the Kiwi put his skills and experience to good use here to claim fourth place. Apart from being knackered from the big day out, Masters looked thrilled to be back in the fight after his eighth place at EWS Tweed Valley. Eddie talks to Sven about the long Petzen stage in the audio (recorded after Saturday’s Pro Stage). PHOTO: SEB
Left: Action filmed by The Real Tommy C. By the way, have you watched T&B2 yet? Above, top right: Ella Conolly and Isabeau Courdurier celebrating another podium result. EWS is serious on the racetrack but always good vibes off it. Above: Isabeau Courdurier.
Above main and left: Jesse Melamed going hell-for-leather. The Canadian hadn’t won a round since 2020, but in Petzen-Jamnica he was on fire. Above right: Richie Rude and Jared Graves. Melamed – I mean Jack, no wait, Jesse – talks to Sven in the audio about getting fuelled up for a win.
Above: Isabeau Courdurier back on top. In the audio, Isa explains to Sven how she deals with long stages. ‘Mainline with confidence!’ Congrats, Isabeau. PHOTO: SEB
Above: After his off-season injury, Jack Moir barely had any bike time before round one, but the Aussie found a few days to hit up some bike park laps between races and get back in the flow. Third place for Moir here. That’s a Troy Lee Designs custom painted Canyon, by the way. Nice. Jack explains his turnaround in the audio (recorded after Saturday’s Pro Stage). PHOTO: SVEN
Above: Roll those sleeves up. 30-degrees-plus temperatures and no escape from the sun made for a tough race on Sunday. Morgane Charre dealt with it and put in an impressive ride to take a stage win and second overall. Charrge talks to Sven about figuring out your speed early season in the audio. PHOTO: SVEN
Did we mention it was hot? Clockwise from top left: Vid Persak thanks the crowd at his home event; Jack Moir taking a moment to catch his breath; Eddie Masters looking slightly weary after a hot day on the tools; privateers and travellers unite. See you all in Val di Fassa!
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