Another round and another new venue for the Enduro World Series this weekend in France, with the round at Montagnes du Caroux. With Sam Hill in dominating form from the previous 2 rounds of the season in Elite Men and Cecile Ravanel the same over in Elite Women, the stakes were high for other competitors to disrupt the podium and points tally.
As practice rolled on on Thursday and Friday, it was clear to the competitors that this was a tough round, with relentless technical sections, jagged rocks and a huge amount of climbing in the liaison stages each day. The venue was using some ancient tracks through villages in the South of France, picturesque if you had time to stop and enjoy the view.
Racing saw a return to wet weather again, with rain on the later parts of Saturday and early Sunday. Tyre selection was critical, with some riders opting for spikes on Sunday, and plenty of slippery rocks ready to catch the unwary.
On day 1, Sam Hill’s winning streak did not continue, the first stage result coming in 8th, only able to muster a 5th place at the end of the day behind a solid result from Richie Rude. Richie was the first overall at the end of day 1, with 3 stage wins.
In the Women’s, Cecile Ravanel continued her domination, only having one mistake on Stage 4 with a 4th place , taking Day 1 honours with 3 stage wins.
Race day 2 had more of the same, with wet weather to start off the day, drying out as the day (and the wind) continued. By Stage 6, some riders opting to swap the mud tyres for normal ones. Richie was dominating all day, but Dailly picked up the pace, with only 1.5 seconds or so between them at Stage 7. But Richie found an extra 3.5 seconds or so on the last stage, to win by 5 seconds.
1 – Richie Rude
2 – Adrien Dailly
3 – Martin Maes
1 – Cecile Ravanel
2 – Isabeau Cordurier
3 – Ines Thoma
Sam Hill – 6th Elite Men
Jared Graves – 30th Elite Men
Josh Carlson – 106th Elite Men
David Ludenia – 150th Elite Men
Paul Van Der Ploeg – DNF Elite Men (after sitting out Day 2 with Gastro)
Ben McIlroy – 26th Junior Men
Joel Kristensen – 41st Junior Men
You can also check out the action on our Instagram highlights, Aussie enduro racer David Ludenia was taking over for us all weekend from the event. Heal up Dave!
Next up in the Enduro World Series tour is the first cross-border event, the Austrian-Slovenian round in Petzen-Jamnica at the end of June.
Photos: Enduro World Series / Duncan Philpott