The first year of the Enduro World Series has cemented itself into the history books. Finale Ligure was host to an amazing season conclusion, including lots of tragic, exciting and unique moments! Even though the championship jerseys had already been claimed, during two exciting days riders battled it out to see who could top the podiums and finish their 2013 season on a high.
On the first day it seemed like Nico Lau (Cube Action Team), fresh from a dominant victory in the Trans Provence could take a victory in the men’s field! However his outstanding efforts in the first three stages were soon to be in vain as a one minute time penalty for narrowly missing a time check in the pits put him out of contention for the podium. Nevertheless after an incredible performance in the last two stages he fought himself back into 6th position. Without the penalty he would have been the overall winner by a stunning 16.5 seconds. Nico´s performance today will no doubt give him a lot of confidence for a strong performance in 2014, and highlights the difficulties for both organisers and racers concerning comprehension of the rules.
But that’s only one part of the history that was written this weekend here in Finale Ligure. The challenging courses claimed its victims and sacrifices: With lots of injuries and the cancellation of Stage 4 on Saturday, organisers worked hard to maintain the flow of the event. With a postponed start on Sunday, there was certainly a lot of excitement for both organisers and racers. However overall, the smiles and excited post ride discussion from over 600 riders crossing the line showed that once again Finale had proved to be the biggest show in Enduro Racing. With amazing trails, the best riders in the world and the perfect piazzas to relax in, the finale in Finale now sets the standard for the series in 2014! Enduro has never been so strong!
So after Nico Lau was out of the game, it was Yeti / Fox’s Jared Graves who was neck and neck with Cannondale / SRAM’s Jerome Clementz, separated by a mere 0.1 of a second after the first three stages.
“I think it was an epic year, Enduro went to the next level, I really had a good season. When you see all the people excited about this race, the crowd round the track or the riders smiling, and then afterwards we come here cheering and having beers you know that Enduro is on the right track. I think its the right spirit and the right mix of everything.” Jerome Clementz.
In the end it was Jey who would rise to the top and claim the victory, the series and the first ever men’s Enduro World Series Championship title!
Competition was just as close in the women’s category, with Tracy and Anne Caroline fighting it out for the win. Anne Caroline started day two just ahead, but in the end it was Tracy Mosely who took the win, her proven determination and experience carrying her to the top spot. Crowning an amazing season, T-Mo Racing’s Tracy Moseley takes the overall 2013 women’s title, will she do the full series next season?
Team GT Factory Racing’s Martin Maes, Junior winner of round 6 and overall Junior champ, he still has 2 years left in Juniors, already a threat to the Pros, potential future champion.
With attention on the overall leaders, we should not forget Manu Ducci´s great performance today. The Life Cycles Team rider fought off a strong challenge from Davide Sottocornola to take the prestigious SuperEnduro Championship Title.
Stay tuned for further reports to come!
Words: Trevor Worsey Photos: Doc Ward / Christoph Bayer