EWS R3 2022
Enduro World Series Val di Fassa took racing to the dolomites. If you’ve never been, imagine a big pile of stones then times it by a few thousand metres.
That’s not to say the trails are boulder fields – not all of them, anyway. This part of Italy is cloaked in grand old pine forests with piles of moss and roots and loam (the subject of every mountain biker’s darkest dreams). The mountains are big and steep and capped with towering walls of rock. It’s epiccccc.
Round 2 in Petzen-Jamnica was a mixed old affair with long steep stuff and low flatter things. Val di Fassa’s more consistent. The routine goes a little like this: go up a massive hill (pedalling, pushing and using ski lifts) to a point somewhere below some huge cliffs, drop into a rock-root-loam-pedal-pump-turn fest, repeat. There were three long, physical stages and two shorter, physical stages.
We’d tell you all the results and stuff but you’ll find them below in the photos, notes and, er, results. There’s also the media squids course recce video (worth a watch if only for Sven’s crash commentary), a few action clips, some interviews (click play to listen) and a collection of poetry by Boris (just joking).
Please enjoy this zine responsibly. All photos by Sven Martin, Boris Beyer and Seb Schieck; audio by Sven Martin; squids video by TJ Smith; and action clips by Tommy C. For everything we’ve missed out or forgotten to include here, look out for our yearbook this autumn.
You can view the race results and series standings by clicking the link right at the bottom, by the way.
Above: Welcome to the Dolomites. You’re going to need a rain jacket (storms all week), good brakes (massive descents) and an even better set of lungs (things are about to get physical). Ines Thoma made her return to Enduro World Series racing in Petzen-Jamnica after falling ill in 2020 then becoming a mum in 2021. Her comeback proved that when you’re fast, you’re always fast. Thoma took seventh in Val di Fassa.
Above: I mean, just look at it. There aren’t many places on the planet that can make you feel so insignificant. The scale of the Dolomites and the way they interact with the light is, well, hard to describe. You just have to see it for yourself. What the above photo doesn’t tell you is the valleys are full of deep rumbles. Not the storms – the tourists on big German motorcycles. The noise reverberates and you can’t escape it anywhere. Brap.
Above: The under-21 category is perhaps at its most exciting ever in 2022, with lightning-fast riders and downhill racers dropping in to hit up a ‘duro on a weekend off. On the left, Canada’s Emmy Lan riding to victory in the u-21 women’s; Australia’s Luke Meier-Smith heading towards a u-21 men’s win on the right.
Above: The landscape here is like something from a mountain bike dream. Seth Sherlock keeping it tight in the trees. Sherlock took second place in u-21 men’s, his third podium in as many Enduro World Series races. Another fast Canadian killing it in multiple disciplines (Sherlock is doubling up with a World Cup DH and EWS season).
Above, top right: Oh nooo. Ella Conolly had such an amazing start to 2022 with a win at EWS Tweed Valley and a podium in Petzen-Jamnica. Sadly the Scot crashed out in practice here, breaking her elbow and derailing her season. Get well soon, Ella.
Above: What a treat to see superstar downhill racer Vali Höll getting involved in the enduro scene. Höll finished 10th in the race with a set of solid and consistent stage results. Listen to the audio below to find out about her race (Sven interviewing Vali).
Sven interviews Vali in the audio.
Above: Just look at that backdrop, would you? Martin Maes doesn’t have the time to stop and gawp at the Dolomites – the Belgian is on a mission. Maes had a solid showing here, taking fourth place with a consistent set of results.
Above: Did we say it’s all roots and loam and natural stuff in Val di Fassa? We lied: high up on the mountainside above Canazei (and, actually, all over it) there are bike park tracks. Some sections were freshly built or groomed for the EWS, meaning hero dirt (especially for the Shakedown pre-practice practice day) in places and flat-out berms elsewhere. Andreane Lanthier Nadeau railing a turn on her way to fourth place in pro women’s.
Above, clockwise from top left: Vanzacs reunite! Or, really, reform. The Kiwi collective of van lifers is timeless and never ages – there are always a few folk from New Zealand out on the road and living for riding and racing; Dog-man is definitely the photo of the event – that’s a real dog-sized helmet by the way; Sven Martin prepares for all eventualities. Massive storms lashed Val di Fassa all week but racing was blessed with a spot of sunshine.
Below: Morgane Charre getting in the swing of things and enjoying the ride. Charre took second place here, equalling her result from Petzen-Jamnica.
Sven interviews Morgane in the audio.
Above: Canyon Cllctv (sic) Dainese’s Slawomir Lukasik, or SLAWDOG as we call him, is having one hell of a season. The Polish rider scored a fifth here and in Petzen-Jamnica too; not a bad progression from 15th at round one in Scotland. We’re looking forward to seeing him on a podium soon.
Above: Harriet Harnden rode a clever race, working her way through the results and finishing the weekend with a win on the final stage. The young Brit wound up third on the pro women’s podium.
Sven interviews Harriet in the audio.
Above: Val di Fassa scenes and schralps (video by Tommy C).
Above: Stoked! Eddie Masters couldn’t have looked happier with his result. Third in the world and a snazzy somersault onto the podium.
Sven interviews Eddie in the audio.
Above: The week began with heavy rain and storms, but the skies cleared for a sunny weekend of ‘duro racing. PS: Don’t forget to OPEN SHOCK.
Above: Raphaela Richter-scale was on the gas here, finding her flow and putting together a set of podium-worthy stage results in pro women’s. Unfortunately, the German champ, who had recently bounced back from a shoulder injury, punctured on the final stage and had to limp her way home. Richter still managed to finish eighth overall though – fair play.
Above: 2-1-2. Jesse Melamed’s season is going just as he’d have wished. It’s looking like we’re in for a Rude-Melamed battle all season long.
Sven interviews Jesse in the audio.
Above: Thanks, Val di Fassa, it was fun. Great tracks, epic racing, nice weather, Italian food. Winner. Video by Tommy C.
Above: Richie Rude and Jared Graves, who is travelling to the races as performance coach to the Yeti Cycles team, are a formidable duo. Great friends and both live to ride and race. Graves says he’s happy to have retired from racing (having recently topped up his wins score with a 10th national title, this time in XC short track), but you can bet he’s glad to be channeling his knowledge and competitive drive into the team. Rude won in Val di Fassa, Bex Baraona took ninth, and the team left Italy third in the points standings.
Sven interviews Richie in the audio.
Above: Isabeau Courdurier seemingly has no weakness. Steep tracks, flat tracks, big stages, short ones, fast or techy, she is able to elevate her level every weekend. Another win for Isa, making it two wins in a row.
Sven interviews Isabeau in the audio.
Above, clockwise from top left: Isabeau Courdurier celebrating another win; gold and bubbly; Eddie Masters warms up for the Pivot pit party, which attracted a lot of attention, not least from the authorities; Courdurier clocking off. Thank you for reading/viewing/listening to this zine-thing! We hope you enjoyed it. Like and subscribe below. Hashtag content.
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