Practice Photo Epic: EWS Scotland 2021

Oct 2, 2021
by Dave Trumpore  



For the final Enduro World Series race of the season, it’s back to one of the UK’s most famous venues, the Tweed Valley in Scotland. After a six year hiatus, the series returns to the hallowed trails of Innerleithen and the surrounding hills to crown the series champions. It’s a fitting location for a fair fight and level playing field with trails most riders have never seen prior and conditions unique to any previous round raced. Who the tight trees, slippery mud, rocks and roots favor is anyone's guess.

The Women's title fight may be a pretty sure thing at the front with Melanie Pugin miles ahead, but the battle behind between Isabeau Courdurier, Harriet Harnden Noga Korem and Morgane Charre for the final podium spots is as tight as can be. While in the men's, it's a nail bitter with Jack Moir and Richie Rude trading blows all season, going 1,2 in just about every stage and every race. Jack has a 70 point lead that affords him a buffer, but no margin for error. Just behind the two leaders an equally tight race for third between Jesse Melamed and Kevin Miquel is brewing.

The stages in Scotland are a mix of flat out and fast combined with technical, steep and slow. The heavy rains each day leading up to the event have thickened the mud in the woods to add another element of physicality to the equation. Strength to muscle through will be paramount as well as being able to keep it pinned but smooth to carry maximum speed. Unlike other venues where a mistake means going off line and getting right back into groove, the narrow trails in the Scottish forest mean mistakes are costly, often resulting in a full stop against a tree. The trails flow at pace, but are incredibly difficult a slow speeds, so getting started again after a crash can be a nightmare. Considering the stakes at hand and how tight racing has been all season, the slightest error could be the difference between standing on the podium or watching from the crowd.

Racing gets underway with the Pro Stage on Saturday in what is forecast to be pouring rain, followed by an additional 5 stages on Sunday. It will be wet, it will be wild, and it will be a battle to the end for the championship.


The rolling hills of the Scottish Borders play host to the final round of the 2021 EWS season.
The rolling hills of the Scottish Borders play host to the final round of the 2021 EWS season.

Lots of rain keeps things lush
Lots of rain keeps things lush

Slick roots can be found just about everywhere you look here
Slick roots can be found just about everywhere you look here

It s a pretty mice place to be when the sun is shining
It's a pretty nice place to be when the sun is shining

The woods are dark and the trees tight here in Scotland
The woods are dark and the trees tight here in Scotland

Kasper Woolley trying to squeeze through some tight spaces on Stage 2
Kasper Woolley trying to squeeze through some tight spaces on Stage 2

Two stages start point out in the open and offer a bit of breathing room for riders elbows before heading back into the tight trees
Two stages start out in the open and offer a bit of breathing room for riders’ elbows before heading back into the tight trees

Richie Rude needs to be out front and one the gas if he wants to make up the 70 point deficit to Jack Moir in the overall
Richie Rude needs to be out front and on the gas if he wants to make up the 70 point deficit to Jack Moir in the overall

All eyes and cameras are on Jack Moir this weekend to see if he can fend off Richie Rude to take the overall title
All eyes (and cameras) are on Jack Moir this weekend to see if he can fend off Richie Rude to take the overall title

Isabeau Courdurier would like to cap off her season with a win here in Scotland
Isabeau Courdurier would like to cap off her season with a win here in Scotland

Dmitri Tordo always looks fast and committed
Dmitri Tordo always looks fast and committed

Bex Baraona will be looking to use her local knowledge to be good effect here.
Bex Baraona will be looking to use her local knowledge to be good effect here.

Adrien Dailly out on the open moorland atop The Golfie which plays hosts to the majority of this weekend s stages.
Adrien Dailly out on the open moorland atop 'The Golfie' which plays hosts to the majority of this weekend's stages.

The open bits in the woods might be nice and bright but it makes seeing where you are going that much harder when you dive back into the darkness
The open bits in the woods might be nice and bright, but it makes seeing where you are going that much harder when you dive back into the darkness

The woods are dark enough when the sun is shining but when clouds roll in it would be nice to have a headlight in some spots
The woods are dark enough when the sun is shining, but when clouds roll in it would be nice to have a headlight in some spots

Robin Wallner recently announced his retirement from racing but that didn t seem to be holding him back today.
Robin Wallner recently announced his retirement from racing but that didn't seem to be holding him back today.

Jack Moir in the muddy green and brown room on Stage 2
Jack Moir in the muddy green (and brown) room on Stage 2

Kasper Woolley looking to end his impressive 2021 season on a high here in Scotland.
Kasper Woolley looking to end his impressive 2021 season on a high here in Scotland.

Jesse Melamed making light work of the tricky top of stage 2.
Jesse Melamed making light work of the tricky top of stage 2.

Martin Maes navigating the mud and roots on Stage 5 as the sun makes a brief appearance
Martin Maes navigating the mud and roots on Stage 5 as the sun makes a brief appearance

Last rounds winner Morgane Charre in Stage 2
Last round’s winner, Morgane Charre in Stage 2

Greg Callaghan has had strong results in the previous two Tweed Valley EWS .
Greg Callaghan has had strong results in the previous two Tweed Valley EWS rounds.

Shawn Neer through the trees on Stage 6
Shawn Neer through the trees on Stage 6

Vid Persak looked good out there today.
Vid Persak looked good out there today.

Slick rocks and even slicker roots make up Stage 4
Slick rocks and even slicker roots make up Stage 4

Harriet Harnden is still in the fight for a podium spot in the series overall
Harriet Harnden is still in the fight for a podium spot in the series overall

It s good to see Mark Scott back between tape and racing his first EWS of the season
It's good to see Mark Scott back between tape and racing his first EWS of the season

Lewis Buchanan is on home turf and looking fast at his first EWS race in almost two years
Lewis Buchanan is on home turf and looking fast at his first EWS race in almost two years

The rain is never too far away here.
The rain is never too far away here.

Even when it s sunny the rain seems to be falling here in Scotland
Even when it's sunny the rain seems to be falling here in Scotland

Rain sun wind maybe all three at once... it s anyone s guess here
Rain, sun, wind, maybe all three at once... What conditions racers will face on Sunday is anyone's guess here



34 Comments

  • 14 1
 Post on Instagram stating Richie Rude and Slawomir Lukasik both disqualified for going outside the gates on approach to finish of pro stage, shame if that's how the season is decided but Rude definitely did go around at least 2 gates on the vid
  • 2 0
 Gotta link?
  • 5 0
 @mashrv1:
Alexridesmtb has it on his live stories so can't post a link

This is from Matt Stuttards Instagram tho
www.instagram.com/reel/CUh7kxTgTaV/?utm_medium=share_sheet
  • 2 0
 Yup the EWS website has removed both of their names from the results
  • 1 0
 According to the EWS race updates he was 2nd, no mention of disqualification. However if you look at the stage results Rude isn't there. If you look at the the overall race results he's 2nd, but if you click on his results it says 'not available'. Maes' is 3rd on the leader board, but if you click on his results it says he's in 2nd.
  • 2 0
 @Pothead78: what on Earth?! I was giving them the benefit of the doubt until I saw them going full-bore down the inside! Wonder if they were relying on wording of the EWS rules to get away with it?
  • 6 0
 It is a bit confusing how there is tape but also flags, however I assume it would have been clear in practice. I don't know the rules but a dsq seems a little harsh, maybe a 30 second penalty
  • 3 0
 I was watching that and they both deliberately picked a line outside the gates. Nobody else did. I was wondering what the penalty would be. Moir was 3 seconds faster than Rude even with the shortcut.
  • 1 0
 What vid? Please share a link mate.
  • 2 0
 @chmurka3rg:
That Instagram link above
  • 2 0
 @chmurka3rg:
It's on the Instagram link I posted earlier
  • 2 0
 @chmurka3rg: Instagram link is above
  • 2 0
 @DC1988: Agreed. Having a gap between the tape and the chicanes is poor course marking
  • 1 0
 @blanshard16: yeah seems to have broken the rules but the section in the EWS rule book has diagrams of tape or gates, not both.
  • 2 1
 @pisgahgnar: On another note this is really going to shake things up in the fantasy league!!
  • 4 0
 @MysticMCyclist:
Some other riders must have taken the inside line as well, you can see from the grass that they weren't the first to do it.
  • 2 0
 “The Commissaire or Race Director may choose, in exceptional circumstances, to apply a time penalty instead of a DSQ to a rider found to have cut the course without intention. However, any rider leaving the obvious line must be aware that they risk a DSQ.”
  • 1 0
 @Pothead78, @bummed, @DC1988: Yea yea, got it, thanks!
But what the hell? It's not like they wouldn't know which side to ride on, right?
Can't believe it. I was especially rooting for Lukasik, so bummed.
  • 2 0
 @DC1988: that’s hope those people get pinged too if those males are from race runs. Still doesn’t excuse those that got caught
  • 2 0
 males = marks
  • 3 1
 @blanshard16:

Have you ever watched a ski race? That’s absolutely normal. There was no reason for them to pick the inside line. It was clearly visible.
  • 2 1
 @DC1988: Those lines from press etc I think. I watched all the Pro-stage and only 2 riders cut the course. I heard that the riders had been briefed specifically on the rules regarding the gates on the finish section.
  • 1 0
 After viewing the video seems like an easy disqualification. Bummer but only himself to blame.
  • 1 0
 @DC1988: EWS100 the day before?
  • 1 0
 @MysticMCyclist: Selective hearing on Rudes part....All he heard was GOTTA WIN!! Pressure is on but no excuse.
  • 7 0
 @DaveTrumpmore "Rain, sun, wind, maybe all three at once... What conditions racers will face on Sunday is anyone's guess here"

There's an old Scottish saying for that; If you don't like the weather, wait 10 mins. It might not be better but it'll be doing something different.
  • 7 0
 Looks dry for this time of year.
  • 7 0
 Well done Dave Trumpore and Ross Bell
  • 3 0
 I rode the amateur race today and conditions were brutal. The trail conditions for some of the stages in tomorrows pro race will be extremely challenging.
  • 4 2
 Well done to Bex and Jess Stone came 1st and 3rd in the pro-stage today
  • 1 0
 So many gates used for course markers in the photos
  • 1 0
 great pics make up a bit for the sparse coverage of EWS this year.
  • 1 1
 that new Giro full-face looks awful....

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