The North American Enduro Series kicked off in style last weekend in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.
Nearly 300 riders took to the start line at the Arkansas Enduro Series to compete over 12 incredible stages. Weather forced the cancellation of a stage on Saturday, but it wasn’t enough to dampen the spirit of the event, with competitors enjoying trails in both Lake Leatherwood and the Passion Play trail network, and even a urban stage in Downtown Eureka Springs.
The Arkansas Enduro Series put on an amazing race to kick start the series. Pic: Keith Smathers
McKay Vezina (Giant Factory Off-Road Team) put in the fastest time amongst a stacked field of pros, finishing the race a full 17 seconds clear of second placed Cody Kelley, with Peter Ostroki (Rocky Mountain/Race Face Enduro Team) in third.
Mckay Vezina won by over 17 seconds. Pic: Keith Smathers
In the women’s competition it was Porsha Murdock who dominated from the outset, leading out team mate Alex Pavon by over 20 seconds, with Jennifer McHugh in third.
Porsha Murdock won amonigst a stacked women's field. Pic: Keith Smathers
Meanwhile across the pond the second round of the European Series took place on the famous trails of Innerleithen with the POC Scottish Enduro Series. The sold out event saw 400 riders tackle six stages in a single day, with a gruelling 1800 metres of climbing, followed by some of the most technical trails in the whole of the United Kingdom.
Jess Stone took a convincing win in the women's category. Pic: Brodie Hood
In the women’s category it was Jess Stone who won every stage to win by a sizeable margin, with Jessie-May Morgan in second and Louise Borthwick in third.
Could we see Recce Wilson at a few EWS races this season?! Pic: Brodie Hood
Meanwhile in the men it was Trek Factory Racing’s Reece Wilson who just pipped Christo Gallagher to the win, with Ben Cathro over 40 seconds back in third. A mechanical for top ranked rider Chilean Pedro Burns (Trek Factory Racing Enduro) saw his hopes dashed and he was unable to finish the race.
Both the North American and European Series races feed into the new Enduro World Series (EWS) Global rankings structure, which allows riders to earn points to claim the title of European, North American or Asia-Pacific Enduro Champion. These points also earn riders qualification to race in the EWS but also for the all important Trophy of Nations in Finale this September.
The Trophy of Nations will allow enduro riders the chance to compete for the coveted rainbow jersey for the first time whilst they represent their nation - and the teams of three will be selected from their global ranking. So for example, Mckay’s win in Arkansas has boosted his global ranking by 250 points - meaning if the Trophy of Nations were to be held tomorrow he’d qualify for the Canadian team alongside Remi Gauvin and Jesse Melamed. Teams will be selected in August, and you can find out more about the Trophy of Nations here.