The Enduro World Series continues to live up to its nickname as round two got underway today in Pietra Ligure. Whilst the weather was not of the insane sort we saw in Zermatt, we were pulled abruptly from sleep around 5:30 to a rather raucous thunderstorm. The dust we saw in practice would be gone thanks to the deluge. While the rain had subsided by 9:00 and the track had started to dry out, the mud turned into that special extra slick consistency. The thunder and rain would return on stage three, causing a fair amount of chaos. Martin Maes had a big off and would go to the hospital to receive some stitches. Robin Wallner also had a big crash on stage two which would cause him to retire for the day.
What was glaringly apparent today, is how fast the French are right now. They utterly dominated the day. Seven out of the top ten men were French and the entire top five of the women's field hailed from France. Adrien Dailly took the day for the men with a stage one win and ended 20 seconds up on second place Florian Nicolai. Jack Moir took his first EWS podium with a third place. Rhys Verner took stage three, and Jesse Melamed took stage two.
Isabeau Courdurier took the win on stages one and two after sustaining an ankle injury at the French National Champs last week, but Melanie Pugin had what it took to take the all-important stage three and never looked back. Courdurier would take second for the day, and Morgane Charre would take third for the women.
All in all, round two was a testament to the work local governments, trail crews, and the EWS staff have put in to ensure we have a safe racing atmosphere. It still has a strange vibe to it, but these are strange times. At the end of the day, we are racing again and it feels damn good.