The eighth edition of Black Hole Enduro, part of Black Hole Bike Festival, was a round of the SloEnduro Series. The 2018 Enduro World Series and 2019 EWS Continental Series event was this time also an Enduro World Series Gold Qualifier event. After two days and four special stages in two countries the winners of 2021 Black Hole Enduro were Austria’s Yana Dobnig (Team Dorrong) and Slovenian Vid Peršak (Orbea Fox Enduro Team).
Vid, who won the first round of the SloEnduro series but skipped the second, was the pre-race favourite and was racing on home terrain. But on Saturday’s shortened special stage on Petzen’s Thriller track in Austria he didn’t start on top. In difficult wet conditions which caused the start to be moved down the hill, he finished third after a big mistake. His teammate, Spaniard Gabriel Torralba, was the fastest, Austrian Matthias Stonig finished second and Peršak was only 0.62secs behind Torralba in third. The race was on!
Yana Dobnig won every stage in the women’s race. Pic: Urosh Grabner
It was all to play for before Sunday’s three special stages in Jamnica on the Slovenian side of the venue. Sunday’s weather wasn’t any nicer to the riders. Shower after shower battered the hillside with only a couple of breaks in between. But this time the special stages in Jamnica didn’t include the nastiest of trails under wet conditions, the ones that sucked the will for riding bikes out of some of the best in the world three years ago. Of course there was some sliding and lots of dirty bikes, clothes and faces, but the race conditions were relatively normal. Here, Peršak moved into lead after SS2 and kept winning the stages all the way to the end. Second place went to Torralba who took a 3rd, and 8th and a 6th in Jamnica.
The German Janik Voth (Propain Factory Enduro) finished 3rd in the men's category. In the women’s race Dobnig who returned to SloEnduro after two years was dominant. She won all the special stages of the weekend. Gaia Kravanja (KK Črn trn) finished second and Urška Korasa (KD Zverinice), winner of women's 35+ category, finished third. U21 and 35+ In U21 male category Smrdel the SloEnduro overall leader Miha Smrdel (Slo, MBK Črni Vrh) took the win with the time that would have put him in second place in elite category! Austria’s Julian Auer (Union VR fahrradprofi.at) finished second and Slovenian Jernej Kavčič (KD Sloga 1902) third place. Michael Unterweger (ARBO ASKO RLM OMYA Villach) won the male 35+ category.
Conditions were extremely tricky amidst the wet roots in the woods. Pic: Urosh Grabner
Vid Peršak: “The conditions were very hard for everyone but I don’t mind, I usually do well in hard conditions, so I didn’t have too much trouble. I’m happy I was able to race at home after a while. The tracks were well prepared, it was the right level of difficulty. The riders who can ride were able to prove it here this weekend. Thanks to everyone who made this event happen, especially under the conditions. The fact is the competition was quite strong so it wasn’t so easy. I also got home from EWS pretty tired so I’m looking forward to some time off, time to think things over and start training for the rest of the season.”
Yana Dobnig: “The weekend was super fun but very slippery, so much rain but so much fun too. The first stage today was pretty tough with slick corners, I slipped once. Because of work I am not racing any EWS this year, I will see what’s coming and I hope to be back to SloEnduro soon.”
Complete results are availble HERE.
Photos by Urosh Grabner are available HERE.