Race Report & Video: Maxxis ESC Specialized Enduro Finals & EWS Qualifier - Thunder Mountain, MA

Oct 9, 2019
by Eastern States Cup  
Views: 1,103    Faves: 3    Comments: 2

Thunder Mountain Bike Park has grown to become a classic New England Enduro venue, offering steep rock sections, long flowing singletrack, tricky off-camber with slick roots, scenic pedal transfers and everything in between. As we head into the final race of the season with tight margins for the overall in nearly every class it's anyone's game and it's only fitting that we finish it off here. This weekend racers tackled six stages which encompassed everything the Berkshires have to offer, both within and outside the bike park trails. Those who are able to turn it up an extra notch are rewarded with double series points as well as EWS points this weekend. Turn it up they did, both Pro class winners separated themselves from the rest of the field by the largest margins we've seen yet.

The foliage is just starting to pop in southern New England, beauty is all around but soon these leaves will cover the trails.

The young guns kept a strong balance of practice laps to Fort Hill party laps on Saturday.

Rise and shine, temperatures were lingering in the 40's for most of the morning but did eventually reach the high 50's.

The final riders meeting of the season with 227 racers ready to give it one last go.

Chip check followed by a rare lift transfer to the first stage of the day.

Stage 1 kicked off on the freshly cut Loamstar trail before meeting up with Billy's World for an extended trip outside the bike park boundary filled with plenty of punchy pedals and awkward flat sections that would keep even the best riders honest. Saben Rossi kept it smooth this weekend, finishing fifth for the Pro Men which put him fourth in the overall series points come Sunday afternoon.

The grassy area after the chip out of Stage 1 looked like a war zone with bodies scattered, groaning and gasping for air. These riders gave it everything they could this weekend.

Flat Tire Defender Super Stage winners, including our fastest amateurs on Stage 1, Ashley Sterns and Daymien Ide (not pictured).

Next on the menu was a two-mile transfer across Route 2 to the Warfield Trails for some loam harvesting on Stages 2 and 3. Downhill ripper Mazie Hayden threw her hat in the ring this weekend, finishing fifth in a strong field of Pro ladies.

Chris Crispin has been incredibly consistent all season, hitting the podium at every race he's entered. He finds grip on the off-camber madness of Stage 2, finishing second in the race and clenching the 30-39 men's overall title.

Much better vibes after finishing the shorter and more playful stages at Warfield Trails.

After a short pedal up the fire road riders dropped into TV Tower for Stage 3. Rhode Islander Luke Mello shralps a corner toward the bottom of the stage on his way to a third place result which would earn him fourth place in the U21 series battle.

A newcomer to the Pro women's field, Lauren Breza held her own this season, earning five podium results and never finishing outside the top 10. Despite a big crash on Stage 6, she was able to stay on the pedals where it counted, finishing fourth in the race and moving up to second place in the overall.

Following Stage 3 riders made the scenic transfer back to Thunder Mountain Bike Park to grab some snacks and prepare for the second half of their day.

After a trip up the lift and a short pedal to the backside of the mountain riders would start the shortest stage of the day, Hawks Brook Trail. No stranger to the Maxxis ESC podium, Duane Call was rocking his 2015 champions jersey during practice. He won four of six stages this weekend, besting the 50+ men's field by over 49 seconds.

For Stage 5, riders would leave the bike park boundary for a third time on the nearly two-mile long Wilderness Brook Trail. Eric Forde holds the high line on a tricky section on his way to a top ten finish in the super-competitive 21-29 men's class.

After another ride up the Summit Quad, riders would begin their final stage of the season, which utilized a new loamy section of trail to connect to the tried and true Wine Tree. Defiant Racing's Steve Estabrook kept it tire side down on the massive rock slabs, finishing fourth this weekend which would earn him third place in the Pro men's series overall.

Jack Post opts for air time on the chunky gnar of Wine Tree, he would win two stages, securing the race win as well as the U15 champions jersey.

Kale Cushman flows through the bottom of Stage 6, despite not winning any stages this weekend she was able to remain consistent and take the Amateur women's win. She would also clinch the series overall by a commanding margin of 421 points, earning a series record 1800 points throughout the season.

Our fastest amateurs on the final stage, Deanna Oliveri and Luke Mello, each took home a fresh set of Alex Rims.

Fox Transfer Seat Post Challenge winner Charles Couture, who was the fastest amateur from the start of Stage 1 to the chip out on Stage 6 and clocked the fastest time of the day for the U21 men.

Kimberley Quinlan had the series lead coming into the final race so all she had to do was remain as consistent as she has all season. She was able to do just that, finishing third in the race to earn the Pro ladies' championship jersey. "Really excited with finishing 3rd for finals and securing the series overall title! The goal this year was to complete all 12 races regardless of how I was feeling, and that came along with some definite ups and downs, but no regrets. I'm happy with the effort and results put down, and it was an awesome season of racing with new and old friends on a variety of rad east coast tracks! I'm so thankful to be part of this amazing ESC family!"

Ella McAndrew only entered a couple races this season but she made those few count, winning one and finishing second this weekend. We'll see her back in action in two weeks at Plattekill Downhill Finals.

Sarah Howerter was on a mission this weekend, winning five stages and besting the Pro women's field by a commanding margin of nearly two and a half minutes. "I really surprised myself this weekend. I went into the race hoping to do well, but wanted to focus on riding safe and having fun on my bike. We had a fast field of ladies out there and I"m still kind of wondering where I found the time. It feels awesome to put it together two weekends in a row at the end of the season and has me buzzing for next year. I can't wait to see the schedule they put together for 2020 and am beyond stoked to now get the chance to go to some EWS races next season too."

Pro Women's Podium: 5th - Mazie Hayden, 3rd - Kimberley Quinlan, 1st - Sarah Howerter, 2nd - Ella McAndrew, 4th - Lauren Breza

Adam Morse held the Pro men's points lead heading into the final race, but was also out of the last two races rehabbing an unstable shoulder. He was able to hold it together on race day, finishing third in the race and earning the championship jersey by 88 points. "A season overall title is a special achievement and was my main goal this year. It represents consistency and strength throughout the entire season on a diversity of race tracks and conditions. I have never had a season like this one, placing in the top 3 at every round. This effort was greatly influenced by competing in a full EWS season last year, which forces you to adapt to the unfamiliar territory at each round. The new Vittoria Graphene 2.0 tires and Yeti SB150 were also significant players in feeling confident on the track. In the last 2 months I have been battling several shoulder dislocations and am incredibly stoked to be able to hold on for one more at Thunder this weekend. The Eastern States Cup Enduro Series podium and MRI for surgery in the same week!"

Vermont shredder Alex McAndrew showed up to throw a wrench in the overall points battle, finishing second this weekend as he warms up for Downhill Finals in two weeks.

Seamus Powell had a rocky start to the season but came into his true form when it counted. He was able to put it all together to win every stage this weekend, making it three Maxxis ESC wins in a row to finish out the season and take second in the overall. "I love racing Thunder Mountain plain and simple. I feel like this venue out of the series provided one of the most dynamic races. Energy management and skills are the name of the game. I'm really happy with how I finished up the last half of my race season with 3 back to back wins, moving myself into 2nd in the overall for the series. I know I'm a strong late season racer, so I dialed in my training a bit more and focused on being comfy and confident on the bike. Everything came together at the right time. That said, I'm ready to lay low for a few months, it's been a year."

Pro Men's Podium: 5th - Saben Rossi, 3rd - Adam Morse, 1st - Seamus Powell, 2nd - Alex McAndrew, 4th - Steve Estabrook

With race results out of the way, let's see who will have one of these works of art sitting on their mantles this winter.

2019 Iron Man (and Woman) Award winners for those who showed up to all 12 races; Andy Parkman, Nicholas Girioni, Kimberley Quinlan and Noah Couture.

Here are your 2019 Maxxis Eastern States Cup Specialized Enduro Series Champions.

Pro Women Series Overall: 5th - Sarah Howerter, 3rd - Alison Crocker, 1st - Kimberley Quinlan, 2nd - Lauren Breza, 4th - Clair Sick

Pro Men Series Overall: 5th - Ajay Nagy, 3rd - Steve Estabrook, 1st - Adam Morse, 2nd - Seamus Powell, 4th - Saben Rossi

That's a wrap on the 2019 Maxxis ESC Specialized Enduro season, it's been one heck of a summer chasing the dream around the East Coast. Now go enjoy some party laps with the friends you made at the races before you get training for 2020. Still got the racing itch? Join us October 20th at Plattekill Mountain for Downhill Finals!

Words and photos: Andrew Santoro
Video: Jason Scheiding

Full Race Results
Season Overall Results


May 5 Diamond Hill, RI
May 19 Glen Park, PA – EWS Qualifier
June 2 Thunder Mountain, MA
June 23 Blue Mountain, PA
July 7 Burke Mountain, VT PA – EWS Qualifier
July 14 Plattekill, NY
July 21 Sugarbush, VT
Aug 4 Killington, VT
Aug 18 Plattekill, NY
Sept 8 Glen Park, PA
Sept 29 Mountain Creek, NJ
Oct 6 Thunder, MA Finals PA – EWS Qualifier

June 2 Thunder Mountain, MA
June 23 Blue Mountain, PA
July 14 Plattekill, NY
July 21 Sugarbush, VT
Aug 4 Killington, VT
Aug 18 Plattekill, NY
Sept 29 Mountain Creek, NJ
Oct 20 Plattekill, NY Finals

MAXXIS ESC BOX SHOWDOWNS - DH and Enduro on the same day
June 2 Thunder Mountain, MA
June 23 Blue Mountain, PA
July 14 Plattekill, NY
July 21 Sugarbush, VT
Aug 4 Killington, VT
Aug 18 Plattekill, NY
Sept 29 Mountain Creek, NJ

May 19 Glen Park, PA
July 7 Burke Mountain, VT
Oct 6 Thunder Mountain, MA Enduro Finals

CLIF ENDURO LITE presented by Maxxis ESC
Aug 25 Burke Mountain - Beginner Enduro Racers - Families - Kids - Fun!

Regions in Article
Thunder Mountain Bike Park


  • 19 0
 I'm always so impressed with the coverage of these races! Amazing photos, great video, great commentary. Keep it up!! It really is neat to see a smaller race series get this level of in-depth coverage.
  • 5 0
 I second your comments, however I would argue that the ESC is a premiere regional series, no different than the California enduro series or the BME's in the midwest. We have EWS level qualifier events within the series and some note worthy riders as well. For example, Ella and Alex Mcandrew are featured on another homepage story this week and another rider like Saemus, a back to back national champion in 17/18 and 4th at this years championships has proved we have talent in the north east worth covering.

But above all, yes, we are lucky to have such a well organized series with consistent coverage. That doesn't happen on its own, plenty of hard work goes into making that a reality.
  • 2 0
 @thebigheezy: When I said "smaller" I meant smaller than EWS! So stoked on all the hard work being put in!
  • 2 0
 @bikekrieg: Really appreciate that! It's been a blast covering the ESC, stoked to shed a little light on the many good people and amazing venues in the Northeast.
  • 10 0
 Was here for my first time racing the series - great event all around.
  • 6 0
 Santoro with the ????! Killer photos once again. Quick shout out to Alejandro from Chile who raced w us last weekend, great to meet you.
  • 3 1
 I guess pinkbike doesn’t display the fire emoji, lame.
  • 5 0
 Such an epic race. Thank you ESC!
  • 4 0
 Great season guys! Everything was well organized. Every year im more impressed with esc. Cant wait till next springs series!
  • 4 0
 I was riding at Thunder on Friday, a lot of racers there getting ready. Race turnout is very impressive!
  • 2 0
 Awesome job on the recap! Thanks ESC and Thunder for a killer finals weekend! What a season!
  • 2 0
 Great series, always ends on a high note! Or is it a low note knowing that the season is over???
  • 2 0
 wow, 12 enduros in a season, plus the dh races? quite an undertaking! way to be!
  • 2 0
 Plus 4 ebike races and I hear rumors of strider races for the little ones next season. Now if only they could revive dual slalom here in the north east.
  • 1 0
 I pulled in for Saturday morning laps and was like... Why is there 500 people here...???

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