EWS R1 2022
Enduro World Series Tweed Valley got the 2022 ‘duro season off to a flying start with dust and corners and dust and corners and a lot of good vibes.
Photographers Boris Beyer, Sven Martin and Sebastian Schieck were out there deep in the Tweed Valley forest to capture every dust-filled moment of the surprisingly dry and sunny opening round of the 2022 EWS.
It felt like we’d only just left the muddy field that was EWS finals 2021, and here we were, back in Scotland for the opening round of 2022. The difference was immediately noticeable: not only was the mud and cold replaced by dust and sunshine, but the event itself had visibly grown, with a field full of campers alongside the main event marquee, food stands and exhibitor space. There were festival vibes and good times throughout the event.
For anyone who hasn’t ridden or raced in the Tweed Valley (formerly known as Innerleithen), it goes something like this: Turn, roots, turn, roots, turn, rocks, turn, huck, and so on. There are no straight sections here; it’s pure tech brilliance. In the last ten years or so, the Valley has become a proper destination with all the bike shops and shuttle companies and cafes you could wish for. Plus hundreds of sublime trails.
Racing comprised six stages on five different trails. The Pro Stage and stage six (which shared the same track) were broadcast live on a big screen for the many spectators to marvel at – how do the world’s best go so fast, so committed, when they are presumably so tired?
The race was perhaps the shortest EWS ever (that’s a guesstimation), with pro men’s winner Richie Rude recording a total time of under 18 minutes; having said that, racing was cut short for the pro men though due to stage two’s cancellation following a nasty crash for Yeti’s Kasper Woolley (who is bashed up and broken but thankfully out of hospital – get well soon).
Cannondale’s Ella Conolly stepped into the winner’s club after a strong showing, finishing first or second on every stage to take her first EWS victory.
We hope you enjoy the photos and notes below from Boris, Sven and Seb. If you like what they do, please support them (and us) through your yearbook and print purchases or by sending them a nice message to say cheers.
Vibes: The Tweed Valley is a brilliant destination. Endless trails, bagpipes, colourful bins and bagpipes. Mitch Ropelato loves it.
Trails around here are twisty, turny and tech. It’s hard to remember what’s coming up – everything looks similar – but once you get your head around the sheer number of corners it’s a lot of fun to ride. Here, Isabeau Courdurier gives it some around a perfect left. Isa finished third in the race, the only non-Brit in the top-four women. – PHOTO: SVEN
Top lad. Sam Dale clearly still has his mojo for racing and was excited to be racing the EWS. Riding flat pedals, Dale scored third in Saturday’s Pro Stage and seventh in the race, 34 seconds behind the race winner, Richie Rude. – PHOTO: SEBASTIAN
Clockwise from top left: Senderrrrr. Multi-talent Antoine Vidal sending a nasty gap, much to the pleasure of the spectators. Vidal recently finished top-50 in the Fort William DH World Cup and claimed ninth place here in the Tweed Valley; Lachlan Blair giving it some Iago Garay; spectator turnout was impressive – we’re looking forward to the rumoured enduro World Champs here in 2023.
Who dat? It was interesting to see Martin Maes in new team colours for his first EWS with Orbea Fox Enduro Team. The Belgian phenomenon was right up in the mix with consistent top-five-ish results in all but one stage. Fourth place for Maes. – PHOTO: BORIS
Bex Baraona was another rider on her first outing for a new sponsor. The Innerleithen resident and 2021 race winner was again on form and looking deadly on her fresh Yeti. Top-three in all but one of the stages and second overall for Baraona. – PHOTO: SVEN
It’s good to be back. This EWS round was wholly different from the 2021 edition: lots of sunshine, smiles, spectators and happy racers. Clockwise from top left: Morgane Charre through the flat-out stump field that took out Melanie Pugin. Charre finished a solid seventh; Pivot Factory Racing and friends reunited in Peebles; Isabeau Courdurier stoked as always; supertalent EWS and World Cup XC racer (already a staggering 15-times British champion across various disciplines) Hattie Harnden fuels up for a fourth place in the race.
Below: Hattie Harnden flat out on her way to fourth. Harnden was cruising around on her XC bike in Lycra during the week as she put in some mid-EWS XC training rides. Hardcore. – PHOTO: SEBASTIAN
Innes Graham photographed the 2021 Tweed Valley EWS. Then, over winter, he worked in his role as a mountain bike coach. Imagine how proud you’d be if your role model chose to race an EWS and nearly went and won it? Graham’s last big race was the Lenzerheide DH World Cup in 2016 where he horrifically broke his femur, leading to his early retirement from a promising career (as discussed in his Downtime EP1 interview). Several years of full-time work, BMX riding and coaching later, and the Tweed Valley local hasn’t lost any of his speed. Third place here, including two stage wins. – PHOTO: BORIS
Enduro World Series racing is officially more flat pedal-friendly than World Cup downhill. Australia’s Daniel Booker had a stonking ride for his best-ever EWS result in fifth place, one place ahead of his Nukeproof teammate Elliott Heap. – PHOTO: SEBASTIAN
Clockwise from left: Loose moments roundup from Tommy C, whose film, Tea & Biscuits 2, premiered at EWS Tweed Valley. Thanks to everyone who came to watch and eat biscuits; Andréane Lanthier Nadeau loves the Scottish trails and culture (especially Innerleithen’s pipe band competition on Saturday). ALN started her season with a solid fifth place; Martin Maes chuffed with his fourth place. In the background, EWS organiser Chris Ball ponders running the EWS, World Cup DH and XC, and World Champs XC and Marathon events in 2023.
Flat out. The trees are tight in the Tweed Valley, but EWS racers never let off the gas. Some numbers: over 330 people entered the EWS100 race; >75 entered the EWS80; >40 entered the EWS-E; and >265 entered the main EWS. – PHOTO: SVEN
The speed EWS racers hit stuff they’ve barely ridden before can be terrifying. Kasper Woolley (main pic) took a huge slam on stage two, leading to an emergency evacuation and the stage’s cancellation for pro men. Woolley is out of hospital with a stable T6 vertebra fracture and a broken shoulder blade. Heal up soon. Stage two’s cancellation caused at least one team to make an official complaint – a large handful of riders who were still at the top of the stage when it was called off cruised down to the start of stage three, while anyone who rode before Woolley had to pedal back uphill from the end of the S2 to the start of S3. Riders didn’t seem too fussed about the slight energy saving though – everyone was just happy to hear Woolley wasn’t too badly injured.
Mate, he’s behind you. Who can blame a spectator for looking away when Jesse Melamed is hammering so fast through the endless tech of Innerleithen? Scary to watch, but Melamed is in full control. Consistent stages for the Canadian and second place on the podium. – PHOTO: SEBASTIAN
Ella Conolly has always showed speed and promise after winning basically everything in the under-21 category. Since moving into the pro category in 2019, the Scot has scored numerous top-10s and two podiums, but at Enduro World Series Tweed Valley 2022 she proved her full potential. First or second on every stage and the EWS win for Conolly.
Richie Rude like a fighter jet through the final turns. Rude famously cut inside one of the course markers (as seen behind him in this photo) in 2021, derailing his title hopes with a disqualification. There were no such mistakes this time around, and Rude’s consistent results throughout the race took him to the top step of the podium. – PHOTO: BORIS
Clockwise from top left: Tetraplegic Peter Lloyd finishes a run down stage six’s finish arena turns. Lloyd rides some wild terrain in his off-road buggy; Richie Rude happy to start the year with a #1; Jesse Melamed lets down his locks after a hard day of racing; Wyn Masters presents his Fastest Privateer award to Innes Graham – photographer, coach, EWS podium racer.
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