It was another wet wild day of racing as the cold and heavy rain hammered riders all day long while they took to the hills of Derby, Tasmania for the latest round of the Enduro World Series. For the second event in a row it would be a battle in the mud, but with much of it falling overnight and during the entirety of the race, the conditions were the same for all, so we saw fewer surprises than the previous round in Rotorua.
The dry and dusty conditions of practice were a thing of the past and having not had a chance to practice any trails in the wet, riders set out in the torrential rain unsure of what they might encounter in the forest. The seven stages had been the most fun ever during practice but were exponentially more intimidating in the wet. As always though, wet weather makes for the most exciting and dramatic racing, and this round would have no shortage of drama and upsets.
After multiple race leaders throughout the day, including Martin Maes and Jared Graves, in the end, it would be Adrien Dailly who reigned supreme. This would mark his first win since moving up from the U21 category, and proof of the potential he showed at the close of the 2016 season. The heartbreak would come for Greg Callaghan as he crashed while leading the race on the relatively basic Stage 7 to throw the race away. A late resurgence from Sam Hill and Richie Rude saw a battle for the final podium spot run right to the wire with Sam coming out ahead by the smallest of margins.
In the women’s race, Isabeau Courdurier showed right from the start that she was the one to beat in the technical slippery terrain, winning the first three stage of the day by a convincing margin. While Cecile Ravanel found herself in the familiar position of chasing down time for the win, she was able to rally back to take stages four and five, but it wasn’t enough to match Isabeau's pace. A hard fought battle by Ines Thoma (Canyon Factory Enduro Team) saw her take a very deserved third place.
As we head into a one month break, the series chase is now shaping up and at the top sit Adrian Dailly and Cecile Ravanel of France. But it's still wide open, and points are tight enough between lots of riders to ensure the drama won't be settling down anytime soon.
The sun actually started to poke out after a night of heavy rain to give organizers a little optimism, but just before riders headed up to Stage 1 things went black.
The skies opened up while the women were on Stage 1 and didn't let up till the afternoon.
Katy Winton was on podium pace for the first few stages until fatigue and mistakes took their toll later in the day.
Close your eyes and feel the Flo. Florian Nicolai back on form and in 5th.
Richie got off to a bad start but would come roaring back later in the day to battle with Sam Hill for the final spot on the podium.
Uncharacteristically chasing the leader all day, Cecile Ravanel would finish 2nd for the first time six rounds.
He might not speak a ton of English, but he doesn't have to. Adrien Dailly let his riding do the talking today.
Martin Maes was on, looking like he might be the man today but a missed check in set him back.
Jack Moir showing his skill and fitness with a 10th in Tasmania. Will we see the DH racer contest more rounds now that he sits high up in the points?
Cody Kelley feeling the burn after a physical and muddy Stage 2.
Maggie Bichard in 9th.
Bex Barona 6th in the Women's.
Cecile Ravanel had an off on Stage 1 that she just couldn't recover from. She took the win in Stages 4 and 5.
Katy Winton had another solid race, taking fifth for the day. Winton sat in third for the first half of the race.
Theo Galy held it together to take eighth place today for Devinci Global racing.
Robin Wallner was running as high as 6th before crashes would push him back to 12th on the day.
Marco Osborne getting closer to that elusive top ten with a 12th in the mud.
It was a rough day for Casey Brown who would pull out after this second of two big crashes in the rock garden on Stage 4.
A tough one for Casey Brown. The toughest girl out there will be back stronger next time.
The Hoff just wanted the rain to stop. He also looked like he fell out of The Shining.
Dave trying his best to be optimistic, but we were all pretty shattered by Stage 4.
Unstoppable and determined, Isabeau Courdurier came out swinging with three stage wins to take her first EWS race victory.
Anita Gehrig going down just in the rocks on Stage 4.
Eighth for Theo Galy.
Martin Maes finished seventh after a hard fought battle.
Adrian Dailly, unstoppable through the raindrops.
Sam Hill is showing he has the consistency to be a threat in every race and will be a serious contender for the overall title.
Ines Thoma snakes her way through the trees on Stage 5. Speaking of snakes, the rain kept the snakes away.
Remi Gauvin navigating the rocks to 9th place.
Round one winner Wyn Masters left a little skin behind after this crash in the rocks on Stage 4.
A rough off for Wyn. This race pushed everyone to the edge.
Jared Graves held the race lead at two points throughout the day, but consistency in such gnarly conditions was a challenge for every racer. He would eventually slip back to 6th.
Ines Thoma with another podium today. Thoma took third in a day of rough racing.
Greg Callaghan was on it today and took second. It was a nail biter finish for the Irishman who was in the lead at the end of Stage 6.
Noga Korem, fourth and just a few seconds off what would have been her first podium appearance.
The near constant rain meant the mud was much less sticky than we saw in Rotorua. While it wasn't clogging tires and frames here, the constant wet grit destroyed the brake pads of more than a few rides by days end.
Into the mouth of the Wheel Eater.
Richie Rude doing what he does best. Smash rocks.
Greg Callaghan was on his way to another EWS win at this point on Stage 6. A slip up on seven cost him the win.
Thomas Lapeyrie has amazing style and speed. 13th for the day.
Grubby was charging today. He took the win on Stage 1, and finished 6th.
While the skies did clear for the final stage of the day, the damage was already done.
Remi Gauvin drops into the slick woods of Stage 6 while the massive crowd looks on.
Florian Nicolai's skills always seem to shine the more technical and rocks things get.
Isabeau Courdurier takes her first EWS win.
It was a hard-fought battle right to the end between Adrian Dailly and Greg Callaghan.
Isabeau's winning bike
Adrian Dailly's Lapierre headed to the top step of the podium.
Sam hill said he felt like the weight of Australia was on him today with all the fans cheering louder for him than anyone else.
Marco Osborne tired and happy with the day's result.
It was a battle for the photographers as well, and Matt Delorme was feeling the fatigue by the end of Stage 7.
Sven Martin checks the optical quality of his filter at the end of the day. It's not so good.
The unhappy hands of Duncan Philpott.
The last man down the Hill; Wyn Master's had a rough and wild day.
Greg was in good spirits despite the deluge.
Greg Callaghan's hands after seven hours on the bike in the cold and wet rain.
Isabeau's best friends visiting from France carry her onto the top step.
The fastest ladies in Tasmania.
The fastest team of the day – Rocky Mountain, Canyon, and Ibis.
A Frenchman, and Irishman, and an Aussie on the podium in Tasmania.