Race Report: Sandokan Enduro

Sep 15, 2015 at 6:01
by Bikulture  
The Sandokan Enduro race was held last year on the 15th and 16th of November in Madeira, Portuguese island in the Atlantic ocean. It was organized by Bikulture, local guiding/shuttling company. Thanks to the support of the local government, Bikulture was able to invite an impressive group of international riders, allowing them to discover the potential of Madeira as a prime MTB destination. The local riders were amazed to ride alongside stars from France, Italy, Germany, Spain and Slovenia, who after a month of rest following the last EWS round in Finale Ligure, were just beginning their winter training. The race was covering two days, ten special stages, for a total of about 50km, 1100m climbs and 2800m descents.

Sandokan Enduro 2014 credit Motion Studios Bikulture
Early morning, the racers gathered at the beach of Calheta, to be briefed by race director, Ricardo Pinto and famous French-Portuguese speaker Pierre.

Sandokan Enduro 2014 credit Motion Studios Bikulture
The symbolic start took place in front of the town hall of Calheta, under the eye of local authorities.

Sandokan Enduro 2014 credit Motion Studios Bikulture
After a few hundred meters in the old streets of the village with traditional paving...

Sandokan Enduro 2014 credit Motion Studios Bikulture
... the bikes were loaded in the uplift vehicles, including this magnificent Bedford truck, mascot of the race, for the only uplift of the day, to the start at the Paul da Serra plateau, at 1600m altitude.

Sandokan Enduro 2014 credit Motion Studios Bikulture
Aboard the Bedford on the high plateau roads.

Sandokan Enduro 2014 credit Motion Studios Bikulture
Last minute track walk on the first meters of the first stage.

Sandokan Enduro 2014 credit Motion Studios Bikulture
Legend, Nicolas Vouilloz started as one of the favourites, after a sub standard 2014 season plagued by injury.

Sandokan Enduro 2014 credit Motion Studios Bikulture
Spaniard, David Vasquez was one of Nico's main competitor in the late nineties. He is now UCI commissary, but showed he still could ride a bike!

Sandokan Enduro 2014 credit Motion Studios Bikulture
Manuel Ducci, italian Super Enduro champion in 2013, was also coming back from injury, a broken ankle in early 2014.

Sandokan Enduro 2014 credit Motion Studios Bikulture
The photographer team of Motion Studios was covering the event. They collaborate frequently with Bikulture, and shot a video for Sandokan 2013.

Sandokan Enduro 2014 credit Motion Studios Bikulture
First transfer, time to ride amongst friends and share early impressions.

Sandokan Enduro 2014 credit Motion Studios Bikulture
Jan Sallawitz, sprinting out the start of stage 2 on the high plateau. The most physical stage, with only a gentle slope, requiring intense pedaling through rock gardens. Marketing director of EVOC, Jan showed he could also ride hard, and got ahead of several local racers.

Sandokan Enduro 2014 credit Motion Studios Bikulture
The third special stage, "Fatty Trail", had been kept secret and was ridden blind. Almost freeride, it was a ridge with multiple lines, rewarding improvisation and engaged riding, with surprise drops and rock gardens that caused a dozen flats

Sandokan Enduro 2014 credit Motion Studios Bikulture
Local spectators were lining the course.

Sandokan Enduro 2014 credit Motion Studios Bikulture
Slovenian Tanja Žakelj, multiple World and European XC champion, proved she was also competitive in Enduro, finishing second in the Women, and 21st scratch.

Sandokan Enduro 2014 credit Motion Studios Bikulture
Paulo Sergio Batista a.k.a. “Cabrito”, local rider and winner of the 2013 edition was starting in first position, with Vouilloz on his heels. The fourth special stage, "Cabeças", one of the most technical, was repeated at the start of the second day, as stage 6.

Sandokan Enduro 2014 credit Motion Studios Bikulture
The rain of previous days had rendered some parts extremely slippery, and audacious lines were rewarded. Robert Kordez, Slovenian masters rider, finished 7th overall.

Sandokan Enduro 2014 credit Motion Studios Bikulture
Local guide Sergio Abreu, dropping in the rocky part of stage 4, "Cabeças"

Sandokan Enduro 2014 credit Motion Studios Bikulture
Valentina Macheda, determined look, full throttle on an open section of stage 4. Due to a foot injury, she couldn't practice at all during the previous days, and raced blind, wearing one bigger shoe borrowed from her companion!

Sandokan Enduro 2014 credit Motion Studios Bikulture
Manuel Ducci had his best stage result on stage 4, finishing second behind local DH WC rider Emanuel Pombo.

Sandokan Enduro 2014 credit Motion Studios Bikulture
Even though he arrived late and only trained for one day, Nicolas Quéré had no trouble getting into the swing of things, finishing 3rd on day one, and fastest on day two.

Sandokan Enduro 2014 credit Motion Studios Bikulture
World Cup downhiller, Emanuel Pombo is the local star (8 times national champion). Outdistanced in the first two stages, he was able to diminish the gap by winning stages 3 and 4, with a significant gap on the latter.

Sandokan Enduro 2014 credit Motion Studios Bikulture
German Enduro champion Ines Thoma won the first day, and repeated on the next day, finishing 17th amongst the men.

Sandokan Enduro 2014 credit Motion Studios Bikulture
French racer, Jérémy Arnould had some mechanicals and finished 9th on day one, and finally 12th.

Sandokan Enduro 2014 credit Motion Studios Bikulture
French connection: Jérémy Arnould, Nicolas Quéré, Nicolas Vouilloz relaxing at Calheta beach after a beautiful first day.

Sandokan Enduro 2014 credit Motion Studios Bikulture
The racers were ending their day with a cold one sitting at the beach-side terrace, or by a dip in the ocean.

Sandokan Enduro 2014 credit Motion Studios Bikulture
Portuguese (from the mainland) Zé Borges surprised everyone by leading after day one. He created a significant gap on the first two pedally stages, losing only a few seconds in the more technical following stages. He started first on Sunday morning, in very different conditions, with fog and intense rains.

Sandokan Enduro 2014 credit Motion Studios Bikulture
Some transfers were using forest roads through pines and eucalyptus.

Sandokan Enduro 2014 credit Motion Studios Bikulture
Despite the tough conditions of the second day, the smile of Valentina Macheda warmed up the hearts of many racers.

Sandokan Enduro 2014 credit Motion Studios Bikulture
Max Schumann, best German in the EWS ranking in 2014, in full attack on eponymous 9th stage "Sandokan". Short but very varied, with natural vegetation tunnels, a flat out open grass part and a few rock gardens, very slippery due to the capricious weather.

Sandokan Enduro 2014 credit Motion Studios Bikulture
Despite the rain, don't forget to have fun and splash some puddles!

Sandokan Enduro 2014 credit Motion Studios Bikulture
Emanuel Pombo exiting one of the tunnels of stage 9. He would finish third behind Quéré who won that stage. Finally, the consistency of Nicolas Vouilloz would award him the overall.

Sandokan Enduro 2014 Podium Women
Women's podium: 1. Ines Thoma, 2. Tanja Žakelj, 3. Valentina Macheda

Sandokan Enduro 2014 Podium Men
Men's podium: 1. Nicolas Vouilloz, 2. Nicolas Quéré, 3. Emanuel Pombo

Sandokan Enduro 2014 Results
Rankings. Full results

Photos: Motion Studios / Bikulture.
REGISTER FOR SANDOKAN 2015, November 14th-15th on sandokan-enduro.org

sandokan-enduro.org
bikulture.com
facebook.com/bikulture


MENTIONS: @bikulture




3 Comments

  • + 2
 Fantastic event, congrats!
  • + 1
 Great report! as usual. We will be there this year!!
  • + 1
 Awesome work guys ! Hope I can be there this year ! All the best !

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