Team CRC Mavic rider Sam Hill won the first round of the Enduro World Series in Lo Barnechea, Chile, with incredible style and legendary skill.
Over the six stage race, Sam won three and took three second place finishes.
Team Manager Nigel Page was trackside to bring us this report:
The tracks here in the High Andes were wild to stay the least – ridiculously high speed, rough, loose and super long with a couple of stages with huge amounts of cardio effort needed from pedal power also. Stage two was the longest stage in EWS history and stage one must have been the fastest ever downhill stage in mountain biking history. Check out the course graphs below.
With three stages on Saturday and three on Sunday, Sam convincingly won the race in a time of 55:02.18. 36 seconds ahead of GT’s charging Martin Maes and 1:25 ahead of Ibis Cycles’ Robin Wallner.
The tracks had some of the fastest high speed sections we have ever seen in a MTB race and Sam’s riding was a clinic in what is possible on a mountain bike, with high speed drifts and crazy commitment to the rough loose sections. Enjoy some of the video clips of Sam’s riding. He is a once in a generation two wheeled maniac!
So the current World Champion from last year starts off the season perfectly with the no.1 plate. Well done buddy you’re a true bike riding legend.
Tough start for Kelan in the anti-grip
Kelan Grant had a tough race here in Chile trying to get to grips with the anti-grip loose dirt as it’s known, about as far from the terrain you get in Ireland as possible.
Kelan ended up in 141st with a 49th on stage one, 59th on stage two with three big crashes and a stop to untwist his handlebars, 41st on stage three, then a disappointing 259th on stage four due to a rear flat at the top of the long stage. Kelan had to stop and fix his puncture to make it down and up to the top of stage five just in time for his start time.
Kelan then finished an impressive 29th on stage five and another solid 35th on the final brutal stage six. If Kelan hadn’t have had that puncture on stage four he would have had a good race finish to start the season. Hard luck mate.
Impressive start to the season for Elliott
Young Elliott Heap was flying in the under-21 category and showed that all the work he has put in this winter has paid off. With three wins out of the six stages and an 11th place overall time on stage one, Elliott deserved to win his category, but unfortunately a mechanical where he had to pull over and fix his bike on the super rough and brutal 11km stage two meant Elliott lost too much time.
He won the first two stages in convincing style on day two by over 10 seconds on each stage and a fourth place on the final stage, moved Elliott back up to fifth place which was super impressive, but not what he was looking for or capable of. Still it’s an amazing result and good start to the season and we know he has the speed to win with a bit of luck also.
The Chilean crowd was out of this world, lining the wildest parts of the stages and Sam didn’t get a second to relax without being hounded for photos and signatures. He is like a national hero here in South America, the fans were even hounding Sam on the transitions up to each stage. Sam handled it amazingly like the true Champion he is, making time for them all and keeping calm for the race stages.
It was awesome in Chile, it was a pleasure to be here. The tracks were amazing as were all the fans.
A big thanks to Jacy and everyone involved in the team and all our sponsors.
Also a huge thank you to Kiko for the amazing shots and Salva for the video work.
Enjoy the photos and video footage.
We leave for round two in Colombia tomorrow with the race next weekend.
Lo Barnechea Montenbaik Enduro – EWS Chile course map