Rowdy Trails and Views for Days
None of the team members had visited the beautiful island of Madeira but we all knew that this would be an amazing place to ride bikes.
Madeira lies in the Atlantic Ocean between Portugal and Africa and this small island is home to some of the most diverse terrain on earth. From rocky singletrack down volcanoes to tight trails through native forests, we could experience an incredible selection of both natural and purpose-built trails. In practice, we were once again victim of bad weather and got to experience the trails in the slickest condition, which was quite a challenge.
The two-day race consisted of 9 special stages with approximately 95km of pedaling, 4839m of descending and 2525m of climbing. The forecast looked a lot better and for race day and indeed we were finally treated with sunshine. Nevertheless, the already very technical tracks stayed slippery and were super hard to ride, full commitment was needed.
Robin Wallner started off with a stormer of a day placing 5th after day one of racing. He was on fire and more than willing to make his first podium happen in Madeira. A broken chain in the first stage of day two destroyed the hopes for a top spot, but with his relentless attitude, he still placed a very strong 8th place in the overall.
Caro started off well into the race and had a solid first day sitting in 5th overnight. Day two of the race made her slip down two spots, she had to settle with another 7th place.
Flying Frenchman François Bally-Maître aka FMB had a strong race and finished in 11th position, enjoying the slippery conditions that occur oh so often in his home the French Jura.
Zakka, our Norwegian pinner, rode consistently well this weekend, securing a 34th place in the overall and holding on to a respectable 27th place in the series rankings.
Anita started well into the race with a third in stage 1, but lost confidence in the slippery rocks after three heavy crashes on stage two. An 8th place it is for this race.
The second day of the race was held in bright sunshine again, the rooty and rocky tracks though were still a gamble to find traction. The first stages of the day included some very slippery root sections, steep chutes and many off-camber turns where it was hard to keep the speed up. Stage 8, "Boca do Risco" was probably the one with the best view ever in the EWS circuit, what a track!
The team put in an amazing effort and we ended up placing third in the team rankings...
...which also brings us on the top of the current standings of the championships! Yeah!
Bye Madeira, it's been a blast!! We look forward to visiting Ireland in less than two weeks time. The team is more than keen to show that we can all do even better! Also, we will be reunited with our American team member Dillon Santos.
A special thanks goes out to all our sponsors and our mechanics Mats Petterson and Pascal Krieger.