RACE REPORT: Enduro World Series #3 – Madeira, Portugal

Ever wondered what mountain bike paradise would look like? Something like Madeira probably! Huge diversity of terrain, incredible trails, welcoming locals and the most epic views!

Remember in 2017? When we had another episode of the Enduro Wet Series. This year Madeira was way different. Bone dry and dusty. Those were the perfect conditions to spice up the racing and add an extra notch of difficulty to those already gnarly enough trails. The 2019 edition of the EWS Madeira was composed of 8 stages. 3 stages on Saturday and 5 stages on Sunday. For a big total of 67,3km on the saddle.

During Thursday trainings, Keegan got caught off guard while riding the grassy opens of stage 3. Trying to double some rocks, his rear wheel caught up on another rock and it resulted in a TKO with the rock he had previously spotted as his landing. After few hours at the hospital and negative x-rays, Keegan was back on the bike for Friday’s trainings …but a little bit stiff. The Kiwi is unstoppable!

Friday’s training went smoother for Keeg. He was able to ride but he was definitely not as his 100%. His hip was sore, and his movements were limited. He still managed to get through all of the trainings and studied all the stages and the line choices properly.

On Saturday morning, Keegan was off to a slow start. With lots of tension in his leg and his lower back he couldn’t find the pace and the speed he knew he could have reached on the first three stages of the race. For the stages 1, 2 and 3, he finished respectively in 38th, 25th and 25th. Keegan wasn’t very content of these placings, but the times and the race were super close. He was sitting 33rd after Day 1. Less than 10 seconds off the Top 15 which he had set his goal on considering his form.

Keegan approached Day Two with more confidence as the stages better suited his riding style. The 5 stages of that day were more flowy and predictable trails which seems to be the favorite type of tracks of our young New-Zealander.

The rest of the day did not unfold like Keegan would have liked it. A 30th on stage 4 but the rest was to forget. Keegan had difficulties to lean into the corners and set his body in his usual riding position. His contusion was simply too sore and was bothering him too much. He still managed to get through all the stages but that wasn’t without couples’ mishaps. He had few crashes on stages 5, 6 and 7 and simply cruised down stage 8. He finished in 42nd.

Keegan was for sure disappointed of the result but the be able to complete this challenging race with his massive bone bruise was an achievement in itself.

Keegan now sits 10th in the Series’ standings.

“Really tough race for me. The hip was just too sore to get me going to my full potential this weekend. It’s frustrating because I had my best ever results in the first two races of the season but it’s not over. I’m lucky that I am not injured more seriously, and I can’t wait to get back home, reset and hit the refresh button for round 4 of the series! We’ll be back!” Keegan Wright

 “Awesome time in Madeira with the team. This venue is one of the best for sure and this year the course was simply awesome. Bummer we couldn’t see a Keeg in full health to continue to build on his performances of Rotorua and Tasmania… But who said racing was easy? See you in couple weeks for round 4 in Canazei, Italy where Damien will make his return!”Bastien Major, Team Manager

Key facts of the week:
– Keegan was 42nd, is now 10th in overall standings.
– Damien’s comeback is confirmed for EWS #4.
– Keegan is now sitting in 10th place of the EWS overall standings.
– Keegan raced on the Troy 29 Carbon.
– Keegan ate 3 packs of lollies in 3 days…. Sweet teeth.
– Dina our AirBNB host was the best!!!
– Team expression of the week: ‘’Obrigadooo!’’ means thank you in Portuguese.
– Best team meal of the week: Baked chicken pastas with broccolis and cauliflowers.
– Team Song of the week: Old Town Road – Lil Nas X

All photos by Sven Martin