This was one for the history books. If there ever was a race where the outcome couldn't be predicted, it was this one. It was a weekend of extremes. We had weather that was wild, tracks that were long and taxing on the racers, and tracks that ate bikes for dinner. There were roots, loam, and slick as snot rocks. This race was a true war of attrition and being consistent was the key to winning. The stages of day two were rough and unforgiving. Jesse Melamed had a commanding lead coming into day two when he broke a wheel on stage seven. So many other riders flatted or broke something that cost them precious time. Madeira served up a race that was pushing everyone to the breaking point, both mentally and physically.
Greg Callaghan was the man who held it all together and took the lead when the race started to fall apart for others. Callaghan had played it safe in Tassie. He rode the final stages on the safe side and made a mistake that cost him the race, but he wasn't making that mistake here. With wins on two separate islands, Enrico dubbed him the "Island King." But it's looking like Greg's winning ways are just starting up. Cecile Ravenel wasn't taking less than a win after Tasmania, and she held no quarter out there this weekend. This race was certainly one we won't be forgetting anytime soon.
That view though.
Casey Brown was this happy heading into day two.
Theo Galy and Damien Oton ready to do some damage out there.
Calm and collected to start the day, Jesse Melamed was in control of the race until unlucky stage number seven.
Never say die was the attitude Jared Graves took after a puncture on Stage 3. He kept pushing hard and ended the weekend in 4th.
Mark Scott gets his engine primed for the day.
There's nothing like a Miller stare down.
Isabeau drops into some steep gnar on Stage 6.
Back on top and in control of the series lead, Cecile Ravanel will be tough to beat once again this season.
Korem Noga has been picking up pace and took third for the women.
Isabeau had a good pace out there but it wasn't enough to take down Cecile this time.
8th this week for Anita Gehrig.
Innes Thoma finished just off the podium this week in 4th.
Miranda Miller got her first stage win and fifth place.
Cecile Ravenel was unstoppable on the long brutal tracks.
Ines Thoma on her way to fourth place.
Low and fast. Ravenel skips over the rough stuff.
The oldest taxi on Madeira?
Consistency and a positive attitude no matter the stage result kept Jared in the mix all weekend.
Adrien Dailly was close to the top spot at the start of the day but a crash on Stage 5 and a flat on Stage 7 took him out of the running.
Richie Rude was on a burner on stage seven when he slid out on the final 30 feet to the finish. Rude won the next two stages.
Craig Evans loves front wheel.
Greg Callaghan didn't hold back today. He rode hard and it paid off. "I had a couple of close moments out there today because I wasn't playing it safe like I was in Tassie."
Mark Scott was looking to one of his best EWS finishes but a flat on Stage 7 pushed him down to 13th.
Early race leader Thomas Lapeyrie riding as aggressive as ever throughout the day.
Greg kept it steady and avoided the mechanical disasters on his closest competitors to grab the lead with two stages to go.
Consistency is key, and Damien Oton was consistent. Oton rode to third place.
Jerome Clementz railing corners on stage five. Clementz took tenth today.
Richie smashed rocks a bit too hard and crashed massively at the bottom of Stage 7 to lose even more time, but wins on the last two stages of the day would push him back to 6th in the overall.
Stage 7 was carnage with big crashes, broken frames, and punctures. When all was said and done three of the mornings top five riders were out of contention.
Jesse Melamed's wheel exploded after riding with a flat tire, and he said the only reason he kept going was because he wanted to be sure he left Madeira with a photo from the epic view on Stage 8... Well Jesse, here's that photo.
A late charge from Martin Maes put him into the mix late in the game, and if it weren't for a big crash on the final stage he might just have ended up on top.
Flats on stage seven cost many riders precious time.
Martin Maes takes a moment to relax before stage eight.
With two stages to go it was time for a coffee.
When you to the store for an Ice cream and a bike race shows up.
Double wheelies. What does it mean?
Theo Galy attacked the final day to finish in 7th.
After throwing a lead away on the final stage in Tasmania last round, Greg Callaghan kept his cool down Stage 9 to take his first win of the season.
Robin Wallner stared the day in 5th and ended in 8th for his best finish of the season.
Damien Oton hucking it into third and the final spot on the podium.
Sam Hill charging through the rough stuff on stage seven.
Yoann boosting into the finish. Barelli took ninth today.
Jared Graves charging out of the last corner to take fourth place.
Greg's dad made the trip out and was the first to congratulate him at the finish of Stage 9.
Poncha for all.
How stoked was Greg to take the win today?
Thanks to these guys from Freeride Madeira for the incredible week. We can't wait to be back.
The three fastest teams this weekend in Madeira. Cube, Commencal, and Ibis.
Greg takes the overall series lead before heading into his home race in Ireland just two weeks from now. Considering he has won that event the last two years, his competition should definitely be worried.
The fastest man in Madeira.
Friends make sure friends drink their share when on top of the podium.
This one was good to the last drop.
Randy sends it one last time.
Thank you, Madeira We will be back real soon.