For the first time in the Enduro World Series history, a same round of the series was happening across two different countries. With two stages in Jamnica, Slovenia, four Stages in Petzen, Austria and nearly 100km in distance to cover, round 4 of the 2018 Enduro World Series was set to be one of the most epic round we have ever attended. Add to this fresh cut trails in 8 inches deep loam and a liaison in an old underground zinc mine and you are truly set for an all-time race to remember. Here’s how Round 4 of the 2018 EWS unfolded for the UDFR pilots.
Unfortunately our favorite Kiwi sprained his left wrist while training earlier in the week. Keegan couldn’t race this round of the series. So while Keeg decided to sit out this round, Damien Oton was in full form to hold down the fort for the team this week. With 2 excellent results this season, Oton was aiming for nothing than the top 3 this weekend.
Race Day 1 – Saturday June 30th:
EWS Petzen Jamnica wasn’t going to be an easy one. Even though it “only” featured 6 stages over 2 days, the huge liaisons and the length and brutality of the stages were going to take a toll on the riders. Day 1 was composed of 3 stages and a 52km distance to cover. On Saturday, the riders spent more than 6 hours on the saddle. Stage 3 was Damien’s favorite this weekend. He unfortunately left precious seconds on that stage as his bars got badly stuck in a tree after a little crash. He would get the 6th position of that stage even though.
“This weekend we have some of the best trails of the year so far! I enjoy my time here and hopefully I can transform my fun on those trails into a good performance,” said Damien just before the action of Day 1 started.
Damien still finished his day with great stage results that gave him the 6th position after Day 1.
Race Day 2 – Sunday July 1st:
The main goal for Sunday for Damien was to attack hard on Stage 4 and climb at least two spots after Stage 5 and give it all on Stage 6 to get that podium finish. Day 2 was featuring about 42km in distance; 1368m of climbing and 2448m of descend.
Damien started the day with a 6th on S4 but had a time costly mistake on S5. He was 7th with 1 stage to go. The Catalan Eagle wrapped up his day with a 6th position on S6 and also made him climb back a spot to finish in 6th place on the race. Damien was happy with his result but knowing he could have done better motivates him for the second half of the season.
“It’s really frustrating to be here and watching the race from outside the tape. But I think it’s a safe decision to sit back this one and give time to my wrist to get better for the next big races to come.” – Keegan Wright
“My goal this weekend was to finish inside the top 3 and maintain a solid overall. I’m really happy about my riding generally. Couple frustrating mistakes but like they say, it’s racing! 6th is good and I’m still in 3rd place in the overall of the series. It’s going to make the rest of the season even more exciting!” – Said Damien Oton after the race
Damien Oton: 6th (S1: 2nd, S2: 6th, S3: 6th, S4: 6th, S5: 9th, S6: 6th)
Keegan Wright: DNF
All photos – copyright Sven Martin