Following an incident during yesterday’s official training for round 5 of the Enduro World Series (SRAM Canadian Open Enduro, presented by Specialized), Fabien Barel has been assigned a 5 minute time penalty for a violation of the Outside Assistance Rules.

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According to many riders Fabien was not the only racer breaking this rule, and this time they were very lucky not to be caught in the act, perhaps Fab’s time penalty will act as a warning for future races.

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Read the full rule book here.

For elite racers it’s a delicate topic: If they know that other top racers are shuttling they are faced with 2 tough choices, either driven to do the same, to eliminate any (unfair) advantages. Or to speak out in protest, like Brain Lopes did to avoid establishing an unsportsmanlike grey area among the riders choosing to bend the rules and the sport’s spirit: Enduro is not downhill racing, where focus lies in training, mechanics, shuttle runs and team support. It’s the simplicity and self-sufficiency (in terms of outside assistance) that makes enduro simply amazing and attractive for so many people! It’s a step in the right direction, it needs to be clear and transparent, enduro should stands for equality and fairness for all!

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Brian’s and Adam’s discussion on unauthorized shuttling.

Check out the full conversation on Twitter here.

The organiser’s statment:

“Based on all of the evidence available and following both Fabien and his team’s cooperation, the Chief Of Course has assigned Fabien a 5 minute penalty that will be attached to his overall time in tomorrow’s event,” says Crankworx General Manager and EWS Board Member Darren Kinnaird. “The EWS and Crankworx have worked tirelessly to ensure that we establish an ethos of fairness, mutual respect and equality between all competitors. Because of this, it is critical that we are diligent about enforcing our rules as effectively as we can. We would like to remind all athletes and teams to attend rider briefings and obey Crankworx Outside Assistance Regulations.”

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“Following a number of requests for information surrounding the five minute penalty issued to Fabien Barel in Crankworx Whistler we would like to clarify the situation. To avoid riders gaining an unfair advantage and to maintain the spirit of the race on the long liaison stages in the Whistler valley, Crankworx created a rule that outlined no outside assistance (including using a vehicle to assist) would be allowed during the event. This rule was further explained and clarified in a mandatory athlete’s breakfast scheduled on Friday morning and hosted by the Crankworx Whistler organisers. Rider’s who chose not to attend this briefing missed crucial information regarding course changes, details of shuttling and race specific information. We are not responsible for educating riders who choose to miss planned briefings. Following the submission of evidence by a number of sources and a discussion with Fabien where he cooperated fully, admitted to a lack of knowledge of the rule due to team communications and an admission of his limited use of a vehicle, the organisation chose to apply a five minute penalty to his race time, removing any advantage that may have been gained from his use of the vehicle. We are all now looking forward to an incredible race here tomorrow.”
Regards, Chris Ball, Director, Enduro World Series

Update: Check Fabiens Interview on his Penalty here

Words & Photo: Robin Schmitt

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About the author

Robin Schmitt

Robin is one of the two founders of 41 Publishing, a visionary and go-getter. While he now enjoys every second on the bike – whenever his busy schedule allows – he used to race against the clock at enduro events and a few Downhill World Cups. Besides that, Robin practises kung fu and Zen meditation, plays the cello or with his dog (which actually belongs to his girlfriend), travels abroad and still reviews numerous bikes himself. Progressive ideas, new projects and major challenges – Robin loves exploring undiscovered potential and getting to the bottom of new trends.