Over the weekend the 2016 Enduro World Series kicked off in dramatic fashion with crazy forest fires, crashes, and mechanicals throughout the field. The Ibis team give us a low down on how their race weekend unfolded:

Ibis Cycles Enduro Race Team Chile Report Action Shot 1

The international racing season kicked off this past weekend near Valdivia, Chile, capital of the southern Los Rios region. The tracks and race village were in Corral, a jungle outcrop on the Pacific shore. Once the most important steel mill city in south america and a prominent port for traffic between Atlantic and Pacific, it is now a tiny entry port to the Corral peninsula for the National Reserve of Valdivia and the Coastal Reserve of Valdiviana. While it is only a few kilometres from Valdivia, the roads there are twisting and unsealed, so the best way to reach the race was by the ferries that dot the waterways between the two sides.

Ibis Cycles Enduro Race Team Chile Report Action Shot 2

Travelling halfway across the world for racing is always a dive into the unknown. Will your bikes or luggages arrive at the same time you do at the airport? Will the gear you shipped specifically for the race be there on time and not stop at customs for some obscure reasons and for an unlimited amount of time? This makes for quite an adventure and even if it can be frustrating at times, you always need to keep a positive outlook as it is a lesson learned and your spanish will have dramatically improved by the end of the trip!

For this first race of the season, the organisers had a rally format setup for us. Riders had two days of practice with a set schedule to practice each day, followed by two days of racing. Here everything had to be done by pedalling, no shuttles were allowed. With around 50km and over 1500m of climbing each day, and temperatures above 30C, it was a tough four days.

Ibis Cycles Enduro Race Team Chile Report Action Shot 3

Trails were on couple different faces of the hills above Corral. The south-facing trails had the ocean views with more sandy terrain, while the north facing trails were rockier, combining pedally sections with technical sections with boulders and treacherous ruts.

On the morning of the race, we were greeted by the ashes of a wildfire which started at dusk the previous day and had been burning through the night on the hills above Corral. The Bomberos (firefighters) worked all night to control and contain it before the race started. Helicopters ran relentless water drops all weekend to make sure it did not start again.

Ibis Cycles Enduro Race Team Chile Report Action Shot 4

Everyone has their own routine comes practice and race days, our boys, Robin Wallner, Pedro Burns and Gary Forrest like to do a bit of stretching to loosen up any tight, hamstrings, back or quads.

After the lining up and a quick interview on the main stage, the riders were off to the first climb of the day, a grueling 11km climb on an exposed fireroad that they would have to do another three times during the two days of racing. Despite this Caro Gehrig kept on smiling through the pain.

Ibis Cycles Enduro Race Team Chile Report Action Shot 5

Anita Gehrig got her best EWS result this weekend with a 5th place overall and her best stage result with a 3rd place on the third stage of the weekend.

Caro Gehrig also got her best EWS result this past weekend, she rode consistently all weekend to secure the 8th spot in GC.

Returning to the international scene after a big injury is always tough. When it’s a spinal injury it is especially hard. Gary Forrest has had a long road back to racing and just to be back on track is a massive victory in itselft. Racing at this level he found out where he still has some weakness and is looking forward to putting the time into working on that when he returns to Europe. This weekend he rode to a steady 52nd place, which was a good, clean ride to start his year.

Ibis Cycles Enduro Race Team Chile Report Action Shot 6

After a snowy Swedish winter, Robin Wallner managed a solid 23rd place in conditions that could not be more unlike his home.

Our Chilean youngster, Pedro Burns wrapped up his weekend with a fantastic 3rd spot in the Under 21 category.

Thanks a lot Chile for the great memories and the wild adventures, it wasrad. We are now off to Bariloche, Argentina in the Andes for the second round of the Enduro World Series.

Keep up to date with the Ibis Team’s racing on their Facebook Page.

Words: Ibis Press Release Photos: Matt Wragg

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