The first round of the 2020 Asia-Pacific Enduro Series, the Giant Toa Enduro presented by CamelBak, saw home grown talent shine through with five of the six podium places awarded to New Zealand.
Rae Morrison on her way to winning the first round of the Asia-Pacific Enduro Series at Crankworx Rotorua. Pic: Kike Abelleira
In the women’s competition it was Rae Morrison (Liv Racing) who dominated the competition, winning every stage to finish the day with an impressive lead ahead of fellow Kiwi Kate Weatherly in second. Canadian Georgia Astle got her race season off to a strong start (Unior Devinci Factory Racing) rounded out the podium in third.
Speaking after the race Morrison said: “I really enjoyed all the tracks and all the stages. A good mix of gravity and a few little climbs here and there. It was super fun. The liaisons were a bit of a challenge. They were quite tight - just kind of red-lining to make them, but apart from that, sick event. Absolutely amazing. I just had a great time.”
Eddie Masters is back from injury and straight to the top step of the podium. Pic: Kike Abelleira
In the men’s competition it was triumphant return to form for Eddie Masters (Pivot Factory Racing) who took the win in the men’s competition - his first race back after a season ending wrist injury at EWS Northstar last August. Just six seconds behind him was Cole Lucas in second - an impressive result for his debut ride for Ibis Enduro Team's new signing. In third was Masters’ Pivot teammate Matt Walker.
Masters said of his win: “It’s such a roller coaster. I’ve been injured for the past two off-seasons. I was just trying to keep up with the locals really. But I’ve ridden here a few times, so I kind of knew the stages. And it’s really nice to race here when it’s not wet. Last two years it’s been super wet. So that was mint.”
Matt Berry put down an impressive time in the U21 Men to secure the win, whilst local rider Jenna Hastings did the same in U21 Women. Damiana Gehrig posted an impressive win in the Master Women, with Byron Scott taking the top step of the Master Men podium.
The race was the opening event at Crankworx Rotorua. Pic: Kike Abelleira
The Asia-Pacific Enduro Series has expanded to six rounds for 2020, and returns in just two weeks time for round two in Maydena, Tasmania.