Can friendships survive at the highest level of competition? We examine the top ranks of the Enduro World Series to find out.

The current EWS season is in full swing and the first two races it South America are already in the books. Although enduro was built on foundations of participation and fun for the average racer, there are some that say that the EWS has become too professional and elite. Perhaps they are right, as the sharp end of racing is now split by mere seconds, and careers are on the table – but what sets enduro apart from other sports is the friendships and unity shared within the pro ranks. We joined this band of brothers, and found a very unique family of people connected by one common passion.

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The exponential growth of the EWS in its infant years has been unprecedented; there is no hiding away from the increased professionalism with more riders, companies, and brands wanting in on the action. We see mountainbiking as a sport and lifestyle, but at the end of the day it’s an industry and revolves around money. Usually in sport when the cheque books and big contracts start getting waved around, friendships are cast aside and people become selfish. With an increasing flow of money being poured into the series by the industry, it was only a natural evolution for the professionalism in the sport to grow. Many argue that the the relaxed atmosphere, camaraderie, and friendly rivalries cannot continue with ever-increasing stakes. Are they right?

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Take a stroll through the EWS pits at any one of the exotic destinations across the globe and you’ll see fierce rivalry for sure, but you will also see riders, teams, and brands all mixing together, swapping stories, and sharing a beer or two. There cannot be too many other sports where the fiercest of rivals, competing at the very top, can share such genuine friendships with each other… Imagine footballers laughing, smiling, and joking with each other whilst lined up in the tunnel before taking to the pitch, or F1 drivers chatting about their cars on the grid. Seems unlikely! The World Series has created a band of brothers, an extended family who travel the globe racing at the cutting edge, but who still share the good times together both on the bike and off it.


2015 was a year of dramatic highs and devastating lows. We saw new contenders come to the fore, fresh faces on the podium, and a changing of guard at the top. Last year in the women’s field we saw the next generation of racers taking to the podium, racers like Ines Thoma and Isabeau Courdurier. The subsequent jubilation and celebrations stretched throughout the field, with everyone rushing to congratulate them in a genuine act of friendship and sportsmanship. The elation and mass celebration that exploded and infected everyone after Greg Callaghan’s fairytale win on home soil in Ireland was particularly magical…. This is international racing, but the atmosphere is relaxed and fun, like you’re shredding at home with your mates. Racers stand on corners looking at lines during practice, but still find time to heckle each other whilst dropping in. The dynamic obviously changes slightly come race day, but then come Sunday night the beers and banter usually starts flowing again!

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It’s not only in the good times where friendship is seen, as even from the darkest of moments something beautiful can bloom. The tragic events of Colorado will forever sit heavy in our hearts, but the community response and solidarity shown by the riders and wider racing family was something truly beautiful. The Sunday of Crested Butte was immensely moving and powerful, even for someone at the other side of the world experiencing it only through images on social media. It’s these moments that make you realise how amazing our sport is, as the response united of thousands of people with one common interest and connection.

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With eight rounds across the globe, new riders, team changes, and fresh terrain, it’s safe to say the EWS will continue its growth and evolution at a rapid rate. You can expect another year of great racing, intense rivalries, and savage battles with some of the most talented athletes in the world pushing each other to the limits (and beyond them). There is one thing, however, that we hope will never change. It’s the one thing that has been at the core of the sport since the start: the friendships, camaraderie, ‘spirit of enduro,’ call it what you want… at the moment it’s still at the heart of the sport, and we hope it always remains there.

Words: Ross Bell Photos: Ross Bell / Trev Worsey

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