Faster than ever – the U21 racers you should be watching. 

08 July 2022

So far in 2022, the U21 category has been dominated by two riders, each finishing the first block of racing with a hat-trick of wins. Who are these riders and has anyone come close to stopping them?

Propain Factory Racing’s Luke Meier-Smith is on fire this year.

Australian Luke Meier-Smith (Propain Factory Racing) opened his win account at the first round of the year, EWS Tweed Valley. Taking the fastest time on every stage, he finished the day over 30 seconds in the clear. Meier-Smith continued this unstoppable form at rounds two and three in Petzen-Jamnica and Val Di Fassa Trentino - the only rider to deny him a stage win in this first block of racing was Icardo Alexis (Canyon Collective Dainese). However, despite Icardo’s best efforts, we’re yet to see the frenchman take a podium in 2022.

Snapping at his heels is Canadian Seth Sherlock. 

Canadian downhiller Seth Sherlock gave his best efforts to sabotage Meier-Smiths winning streak, finishing on the podium at all three races, with two second-places. However, even Aaron Gwin’s teammate had nothing on the Aussie. With the fourth round of the season taking place in Canada, we bet Seth has set his sights on the top step.

Norco’s Emmy Lan is dominating the U21 Women’s category, winning 15 of the 16 stages raced so far. 

In the U21 Women’s field, it’s another Canadian who has made it three for three in 2022. Consistently bagging times that would place her in the elite top 20, Emmy Lan’s (Norco Factory Team) first full EWS season has gone from strength to strength. With our next block of racing starting in her homeland, we’re excited to see what she can do. 

Will we see last year’s series winner, Sophie Riva, take gold this year?

Last year’s U21 series winner, Sophie Riva, has finished second twice this year and has been the only rider to steal a stage win from Emmy Lan. With her friend and rival from 2021, Polly Henderson, moving up into the elite category we’re yet to see Riva’s winning brilliance in 2022. Will Sophie return to her winning ways in the second block of racing? 

One U21 rider has approached the first block of racing a little differently. Matthew Fairbrother, from New Zealand, has finished 11th, 10th and 24th in the first three races of the year. However, unlike his competitors, he has cycled his race bike between each round, clocking 1550km and 74 hours of riding between rounds one and two alone. With help from his sponsors and the wider enduro riding community, we’re excited to see what Matthew has up his sleeve for the rest of the season. Check out his adventures on Instagram here.