As you read this, racers will be waking up from a fitful nights sleep, getting their gear together, nervously eating breakfast and running through the EWS stages in their minds. Practice is over and it is now time to go full-gas! Lines have been tested, perfected and memorized, stages have been inspected and riders will have their strategies sorted, when to give it everything and when to ease off. It will be a long and physical weekend, but it has finally begun!
In just 48 hours we will see the new order for the upcoming season, who has got fast, will someone surprise us, and can our champions continue their dominance. We will be bringing you the news as it comes in, but first lets have a quick look back at the last few days training, with legendary lens man Matt Wragg documenting the action!
Nerves will be running high in the resort, everyone is getting set to put it all on the line!
There is a lot of pressure carrying the number one board into a new season! However, Jerome is no stranger to success and has already started the year with some great results.
It is Autumn in Chile, and the trees are on fire with colour, standing in stark contrast with the snow capped peaks!
Chile has an incredibly passionate riding culture, national racers have brought their families to watch the incredible show!
The race village has been set up on the golf course, everything is manicured and professional looking,
Could these be the enduro stars of the future! An event like this brings so much to the region!
Some of the hikes are grueling! With deep sand and volcanic ash, very step is tiring. Racers will have to manage effort through the day and keep on top of hydration!
Hot in the sun and cool in the shade! There is nowhere to hide from the glare on the upper slopes of the mountain!
If you have never thought about riding in Chile, this will convice you to book those tickets. Bringing perfect dirt with epic trails, the forest sections are ‘all time’!
The man to beat makes his way up to the top of stage 1. Jerome will be looking to make his mark early!
Fresh from a victory in the Montainbaik Enduro in La Parva, Jerome knows he is fast on Chilean Moon Dust! Can he retain his unstoppable form!
This man will be looking for nothing but top spot. With YETI pulling out of DH, Jared Graves has their full attention and support and will be gunning for the podium!
Nico Lau showed his hand at Finale Ligure last year. He has already faced Jerome and could not pull ahead! Was he saving something back for the EWS!
The conditions in the forest are incredible, soft dirt over a hard base! This is true hero dirt and a welcome change from the Moon Dust volcanic sand higher up the mountain!
And what of this man! Martin Maes, has been working with the Athertons all winter, has their experience rubbed off? If he can keep it together on race day he has the speed to upset the old guard!
Tracy Moseley is no stranger to being on the top step! This year she races with full factory support and her DH skills will be called upon in the tough stages!
Tracy has been racing a fair amount of XC this season, looking fit and race ready, she will have no issues on the pedals!
Timing chips are collected ready for the morning. The race will use a new transponder timing system to boost accuracy!
EWS head honcho Chris Ball is out in Chile representing the EWS and making sure everything is as it should be!
At the end of the day, the stages are swept and the taping checked, the next rider down will be running the number 1 board!
Heading for home!
The sun sets on the final day of practice!
It all begins today! in 48 hours we will know who worked the hardest through the winter!
Words: Trev Worsey
Photographer: Matt Wragg