Starting on the right foot, the enduro 2013 season kicked off in style in Chile. On Sunday the 23rd at the Hacienda Las Varas in Santiago, the exciting first event of the Montenbaik National Enduro Championship Powered by Sram took place.
300 riders arrived to complete a demanding course with 6 transitions and 6 special stages. This circuit comprised of many known trails, but was also lengthened with some interesting surprises, leaving the hacienda Las Varas circuit with a very good collection of tracks. The day was characterized by incredible grip due to rain showers the day before and continuing through the day of the race, making the ground slippery in places. None of this stopped the competition which continued as normal and with the good vibes that characterize Montenbaik Enduro.
During the different transitions, we heard comments like: “I’m exhausted”, “This is endless”, “I’m cramping”, but even with falls included the riders were happy to participate in the experience that is Enduro. No doubt those comments were repeated by most of the riders, adding to the incredible atmosphere of the race.
This season there are 12 categories, 3 of which are new. One is ‘Damas Light’, where 10 young female mountain bikers came together and rode a specially designed course. The winner was Vero Miranda downhiller (Ibis SLR) followed by Sofia Abrigo (Cannondale Jekyll) who surpassed the cross-country rider and Montenbaik columnist Tere Abumohor. It was great to see this little group of enduro riders having a great time during and after the race.
In ladies “Elite”, Flo Espiñeira confirmed her dominance in this category and female legend Chichi Garcia, was the only other woman who dared to compete, finishing second.
The Master B were superpowered for this race. Legend Felipe Vasquez (Intense Carbine) took first place followed by another legend Claus Plaut (Lapierre Spicy) who was followed by airline pilot, Alvaro Vargas (Cannondale Jekyll) coming out from a knee injury.
As usual the Master A category were the fastest, but for this enduro the category was super charged with the presence of the triple Masters Downhill World Champion Sebastian Vasquez (Trek Slash) who finished with more than a two minute advantage over Master A 2012 National Champion Carlos “Chikle” Niklitschek (Ibis HD) and in third place the always fast Lesly Etchegaray (Commencal SX) continued to add points from his first race.
The former fastest category of Montenbaik Enduro was dominated by Team Giant Nico Prudencio (Giant Reign) and his cousin and teammate Martin Flaño (Giant Reign) they were followed by the down-hiller Kike Genova (Devinci) who was happy because it was his first time on an enduro podium. We hope to see him on top of the podium more often because he is in good condition and we know there is more potential to be had from this former BMX world champion.
This is where we bring together the fastest categories, all of which completed all six special stages. It was surprising that this category was won by Master A rider Sebastian Vasquez. He demonstrated his professional experience to the young Elite riders Nico Prudencio and Martin Flaño.
In summary, it was a tremendous race. The new layout designed by Nacho Barbosa and shoveled by Plaza Trails gave great novelty to Las Varas along with the showers that kept the grip amazing all day long.
We look forward to the following races of the championship and hope to have the same 300 riders. The place is still a surprise but we anticipate it will be in the Valparaiso region.
You can check the results online at www.montenbaik.com/results
Words & Photos: Montenbaik