The third round of the Finnish Trek Enduro Series 2013 was battled on Saturday in Åre, Sweden, and it was at the same time part of the Sweet Enduro King & Queen event on Åre Bike festival. The race was also the first enduro race arranged with Nordic cooperation and the second enduro race in Sweden ever. There were participants at least from Finland, Sweden, Norway and Canada, totalling 98 names on the starting list.
The location was very different from the two first races of this season with a lot bigger terrain, providing around 900m vertical meters lift assisted trails. There was originally four different stages planned for the race, but too high wind in the morning of race day prevented using the top lift, so stage 1 had to be cancelled, thus stage 2 was run twice. The second stage was long, flowy singletrack with tens of berms flowing through forest. Stage three was more technical and steep, pretty staright forward singletrack through the forest. Final Stage 4 was shorter, with couple steep technical sections followed by two short climbs.
The level of racing was probably the highest on a Finnis(and Swedish) enduro race ever, as by quickly calculating there was six guys that are actively racing WC downhill, plus couple otherwise just super fast guys and girls. The fastest guy of the day was expectedly Robin Wallner(Swe), who had slight home field advantage on him, taking the Sweet Enduro King title with 35 second gap to Matti Lehikoinen(Fin) who finished second. Third was Alexander Kangas(Swe) just before Robins brother, Nicklas Wallner(Swe) and Kristian Vilde Jakobssen(Nor).
On Ladies category Katrina Strand from Canada took the win, local rider Hanna Oleträ took the second and Iida Airola from Finland took the third spot on the podium. See full results and stage times behind below.
The award ceremony was held at Åre Holiday inn, it was a combined party with all competitions of Åre bike festival, most well known(so far!) being the GoPro Scandinavian video challenge. Aside from watching the videos and awards given, it was also great place to meet other riders and organisers. With hundreds of people, great videos and good atmosphere, the award ceremony was the perfect ending for the Åre Bike festival and week of riding in great location.
Although there was quite a bit of challenges(at least from organisers point of view), the whole race turned out to be quite a big success. The biggest indicator for this was probably the smiles on the faces of riders when finishing the race. The atmosphere was relaxed and happy throughout the weekend and all seemed to be enjouying. There definitely will be an Enduro race in Åre next year too!
Words: official Race report Photos: Samuli Louko