The 2021 EWS Qualifier calendar is now well underway, with New Zealand playing host to the latest race with the The Emersons 3 Peak Enduro in Dunedin.
Now in its ninth year, the three day race had a steller field with most of the country’s top pros on the start line. Unfortunately due to Covid there were no international riders this year.
Liv Racing’s Rae Morrison was one of the many pros who took to the start in Dunedin. Pic: Jemma Wells
Riders arrived to absolutely mint trail conditions and beautiful weather forecasted for the entire weekend. The first day was a practice day, with all the tracks open and shuttles running on some of them to help riders get around to see all nine stages of the race.
After an initial shuttle from the start, the first day of racing took the riders into the Whare Flat network of trails for five amazing stages in a maze of hand crafted tracks, including a fresh trail dug especially for the event. This was followed by a long epic ride along the Swampy Summit ridge overlooking the city of Dunedin. The final track, down Nicole’s Creek, had a new extension top with very loose gravel and this ended the race for a few riders who crashed hard.
Day two saw the racers undertake some savage climbs in the heat. Pic: Jemma Wells
On day two they were racing in Dunedin's main trail network, right in the heart of the university district, Signal Hill. Riders did three laps, climbing back up to the top each time. It was scorching hot and so were the riders. With the riders coming down in reverse order and the top ten women and men riding down last, and live timing for everyone to see, the ambience was buzzing at the bottom of each run.
Charlie Murray beat out Lucas Cole (Ibis Enduro Team) and Daniel Self (Theory Global Enduro Team) to take the top spot. Pic: Jemma Wells
The racing was pretty close in the end, but Charles Murray from Wanaka took out the win in the mens and young Jenna Hastings from Rotorua took the women's category, despite being in the Novice category. The depth and level of young riders is exceptional at the moment in New Zealand so expect to see many of these names high up on the EWS races soon!
The Open Category Women’s podium with Robin Goomes in first, Louise Kelly in second and Louise Ferguson in third. Pic: Jemma Wells