Manuel Ducci and Valentina Macheda in Finale Ligure at the Enduro World Series and the Superenduro PRO series final. Manuel Ducci tells us a bit more:
Finale Ligure is always the last round of the season for us, but maybe the most important as it is the race closest to us. This year, not only was it our home race, but the final round of the Enduro World Series and the Superenduro PRO series.
My EWS season was pretty much over already, it’s fair to say the season hasn’t gone the way I hoped it would, and after missing the US rounds I was a long way out. But… The game was on for the Superenduro PRO series title!
So after the summer break all my energy was focused on this one event. Perhaps destiny is something you can’t force, because as soon as I started preparing for the race, starting to feel strong, I was hit with two separate injuries which kept me off the bike for all of September. I was so frustrated, looking at the series standings I could see how small my lead over Davide Sottocornola was, I was scared I might not be able to even race, to watch the title slip through my fingers after fighting so hard to get to where I was.
By the beginning of October I could get back to training, doing long sessions to prepare myself for the race in Finale. I didn’t go for intense training, but distance to build a base of fitness that would hopefully let me be competitive over the whole race distance.
I knew from the first pedal stroke towards the first stage on Saturday morning that I would only be able to compete with the top riders in this race, only to participate. But I had to at least try, give it everything!
After the first two stages I looked at the live standings and realised that I could do it… By the end of Saturday, Davide and I were only six seconds apart in the standings. The title was at hand!
This gave me such strong motivation for Sunday, it was almost as if it was a completely new race for me, I only had two stages to deal with. I tried to ride cautiously, minimise my mistakes and reach the finish.
It worked! As I reached the finish of the last stage, I saw the timing beam and breathed the biggest sigh of relief you could imagine! The tension that had built up over the entire season just slipped away like that.
Arriving in the paddock, knowing that I had reached my goal, that the title was mine, filled my heart with such joy! The last few seasons have been so difficult for us, just two years ago me and Vale left our jobs and started in this new adventure with Life Cycle. Winning was important for me, but not to have the title or a trophy, but to reaffirm to the people who believed in me that their help was not in vain, that their effort meant so much. I need to thank my family so much for helping reach this point, I could not have done it without them.
A special thought need to go to Pietro Mangoni though. A longtime fan of enduro who suffered a serious crash on stage one and now is in danger of not being able to carry on with the sport he loves, or even live a normal life again… Life Cycle is with you Pietro! Stay strong.
Words: Manuel Ducci | Photos: Matt Wragg