This time, it was under the clouds and the rain of Manizales, Colombia that the second round of the 2018 Enduro World Series stopped. Colombia was welcoming its first ever EWS event. With a big Colombian mountain biking scene, the turnout was huge. Good crowds and lots of selfies with some great fans!
Before getting back into race mode, the team attended a coffee plantation guided ride hosted by the organizers Wednesday prior the event. Amazing trails, lots of friends and good fun!
Unior/Devinci Factory Racing riders, Damien Oton and Keegan Wright were once again ready to attack the trails for another weekend of racing. The Manizales EWS featured short stages and very humid conditions… Except for Stage 1 that happened right in the middle of the city on Saturday. A short ‘’Urban DH’’ with an estimated crowd of 20.000 spectators on site!
Race Day 1 – Saturday March 30th:
Only one stage for Day 1! And it was a stage in the heart of Manizales. An urban DH! Damien and Keegan were both at their first experience in urban racing. ‘’It was unreal! All the fans cheering and roaring on the side of track. It gave me a little boost that’s for sure!’’ said Damien after this stage.
Damien finished in 7th position while his teammate Keegan, ended up in 31st. Super tight results as the stage was just a little over a minute long. The real challenge was going to be on Day 2 though…
Race Day 2 – Sunday April 1st:
It was going to be a hard day for all the racers as it rained more than 70mm of rain in the nightmof Saturday. Minions & Aggressors were switched for Shorty’s (mud tires), Mudhugger fenders were installed and silicone spray was applied to the bikes to prevent mud accumulation. The battle was on and the boys were ready for a long day of 6 stages in the muddy trails of Manizales.
Damien started the day in full form with a 3rd position on Stage 2. Keegan was affected mentally by the weather and struggled his way down this stage, the longest of the event. He finished 63rd of that one. Damien was sitting in 3rd overall after 2 stages.
The day went by and Damien was sitting in 4th with 2 stages to go. The Catalan Eagle spreaded his wings and grabbed a stage win on stage 6 with a nearly 6 seconds margin. With this good performance he climbed back to 3rd overall and managed to keep this same position till the end.
First podium of the season for Damien!
It was a different day for our young Kiwi. Keegan had a tough day in those extreme conditions and finished in 50th position.
‘’Hard day out fighting the conditions. Still managed to have a lot of fun in front of the awesome crowd! Learnt a lot. Time to go home, refresh and come back stronger for the next races! ‘’ – Keegan Wright
‘’ Tough day that’s for sure! Weirdly I was feeling slow but happy to have kept it on the rubber side down! My times showed I was up there so this is good for the confidence going into next round in my home country! Let’s keep it that way! ‘’ – Damien Oton
Damien Oton: 3rd
Keegan Wright: 50th
Photos by Sven Martin // @svenmartinphoto