The inaugural Asia Pacific Enduro Series kicked off in style the weekend in Tasmania, Australia.
The elite men’s field was stacked with big names and it was none other than Sam Hill who attacked the six gruelling stages in fine form, to claim the win on Derby’s famous trails.
Fresh from being crowned the 2018 Enduro World Champion, Sam Hill won the first round of the Asia Pacific Series. Photo: Sven Martin
“Derby this weekend was awesome, we had six challenging stages to race with a good variety of terrain and plenty to test the skills. I’m really happy with how I rode, I had six good stages and I’m pumped to get the win,” Hill said.
Christopher Panozzo shaped an impressive race and was awarded second position and Andrew Cavaye carved up the course to round the elite men’s podium in third. Australia’s Josh Carlson had to settle for fourth, with Kiwi Wyn Masters in fifth.
Because who wouldn't want a podium selfie with Sam Hill?! Photo: Sven Martin
In the elite women’s field, local Tasmanian athlete Rowena Fry continued her winning streak to dominate the women’s race and claimed the title in front of a home crowd.
“The main thing was trying to stay clean, there’s the potential to have a few offs on these sort of technical courses so clean runs are the most important and hopefully that equals a fast run. I wasn’t mucking around on the liaisons,” said Fry.
Emily Parkes produced an awesome performance across the challenging multi-stage course to come away with second place. Lucy Mackie was awarded with third place and was thrilled with her result.
Tassie local Rowena Fry clinched the win, with Emily Parkes in second and Lucy Mackie in third. Phot: Sven Martin
“I love Derby and I am super proud of what the North-East of Tasmania is doing at the moment with all their trails and Tasmania in general. I’m a proud Tasmanian so I love showing off what we’ve got here. I’ve raced around the world and I think these trails are pretty up there in terms of fun and a great vibe, what a great place to spend a weekend,” said’ elite women’s winner Rowena.
The Asia-Pacific Series allows riders to gain world ranking points into the 2019 Enduro World Series. The series, which runs across four races in Australia and New Zealand, culminates with the crowning of the Asia-Pacific Enduro Champions in Christchurch, New Zealand, on 16 February 2019.
“I want to do really well at the Enduro World Series (EWS) here next year in March so I will be doing a fair bit of practice. Fingers crossed I qualify and I am super keen to train as hard as I can and learn the lines on this course. Being a home course it’s a massive advantage for EWS level,” Fry added.
Fry recently took out the first round of the Shimano Enduro Tour on the Gold Coast and claimed victory in the National Round recently in Adelaide.
In the Asia-Pacific series the top three riders in each category, per event, automatically progress onto the Enduro World Series reserve listing.
Derby burst on to the international race scene in 2017 when the EWS first visited, and he series heads back there again in 2019. Photo: Duncan Philpott
With the Enduro World Series coming back to Tasmania in 2019, these top three positions at the Asia-Pacific Continental Series were hotly contested and this level of competition will continue across the series.
Hill and Fry lead the series rankings heading into round two of the series, which takes place with the Shimano Enduro Tour in Mount Buller, Australia on December 2nd. The tour will also visit New Zealand for rounds three and four, at the Aorere Enduro in Nelson February 7-10 and conclude at the Christchurch Adventure Park on February 16 where the new Asia Pacific Enduro Champions will be crowned.