1. The Pro Stage is a good indicator of who will finish on the podium.
At rounds 2, 3, and 4, the winner of the Pro Stage on Saturday evening in both the men's and women's race was also the winner of the overall race at the end of the day on Sunday. In fact, at every round so far this year except EWS Burke, the winners of the Pro Stage in both the men's and women's fields have gone on to finish in the top-3 the following day, whether that's because the Pro Stage is just a good indicator of what to expect on the longer day or there's a mental aspect to winning the Pro Stage that carries forward onto the second day.
The one unlucky rider who won the Pro Stage and didn't go on to podium was Ella Conolly at EWS Burke. However, she was sitting in third place until she dropped her chain on the final stage. On the flip side, the only rider not to finish in the top-3 on the Pro Stage who then went on to win the overall race was Richie Rude at EWS Tweed Valley. He finished fourth in the Pro Stage and took the overall win come Sunday.2. The race for the overall is nowhere near decided.
In the women's series, it's been a war of attrition this year. Ella Conolly took the first win of the season, Isabeau Courdurier took the next two, and Harriet Harnden won rounds four and five. However, none of them have been without hardship this season, with an elbow injury
taking Ella Conolly out of contention at round 3, Harnden finishing a distant 34th at round 2 after a puncture in the first 20 seconds of the Pro Stage, and Isabeau Courdurier battling pain after impaling her foot on a branch
at EWS-E Valberg at the beginning of July.
Currently, despite her 7th place finish at EWS Burke, Courdurier leads the overall with 2265 points, however it's the ever-consistent Morgane Charre currently sitting in second place just 110 points behind after an incredible four second places in a row. With a second place in the overall last year in addition, you can bet she's aiming for the top step. With her second win of the season, Harnden moves up to third with 1940 points.
In the men's overall series, Richie Rude and Jesse Melamed have been swapping back and forth all season. Richie Rude had the early lead with a win in at EWS Tweed Valley, but after his flat tire on the final stage of the day at EWS Whistler, he fell back to second in the overall standings, despite the fact that Richie Rude has three wins to Jesse Melame's two. Richie Rude currently trails Jesse Melamed by 190 points with 2345 points to Jesse Melamed's 2535 points. 2021 overall series winner Jack Moir sits in third despite a slow start to the season and no wins thus far with 2020 points.
With just three rounds to go, every position will count as there is a significant drop off in points depending on where you finish on the leaderboard. Racers get 520 points for the win, 450 points for second place, and 420 points for third place. Pro Stage and Queen Stage points will also be hotly contended at 25 points apiece.3. Never count out Jill Kintner.
Jill Kintner came second at EWS Tasmania in 2019, winning two stages along the way. She was poised to perform at EWS Whistler later that season, before illness took her out of the race. While she's done a couple of enduro races on the North American circuit since 2019, we haven't seen her at an EWS race since her disappointing Whistler race, and it was anyone's guess as to how she'd perform in the ever-stronger women's EWS field.
With an eighth place on the Pro Stage and a 14th on the pedally Stage 2, you may have briefly mistaken Jill Kintner for a mid-pack rider at EWS Burke. While more than respectable, especially for someone who has only done a handful of EWS races in their careers, Jill Kintner proved she had much more to offer in Vermont, saying she preferred the stages with less pedalling later in the race. She took second on Stage 3, third on Stage 4, fourth on Stage 5 and 5th on Stage 6. She'd finish sixth on the day. We're not not considering putting her on our Fantasy Enduro team for Sugarloaf next week. 4. The 2021 overall winners have had a tough start to 2022.
2021 men's overall winner Jack Moir started off 2022 with a 26th place, but has managed to claw back up the leaderboard to third place, albeit a relatively distant 2020 points to series leader Jesse Melamed's 2535. Jack Moir took an impressive five wins last season, but has yet to take the top step of the podium this year.
On the women's side however, Melanie Pugin has struggled to find her groove this season. She took two wins in 2021 and five podium finishes, which was enough to land her in first place at the end of the season. So far this season however, she has failed to land on the podium at all with a 15th, 4th, 5th, 5th, and 9th place. With three rounds left to the season, we hope to see her continue to gain speed. Other facts:
• Racing as a first year pro, Jack Menzies finished an impressive 9th.
• Richie Rude's 90-year-old grandmother was out trackside cheering him on for race day. Rude's time at the top of the results sheet could be as long as Greg Minnaar's with those genes.
• After heartbreak in Whistler last weekend, Andreane Lanthier Nadeau's streak of back luck continues as she was forced to miss this round after testing positive for Covid.
• In the U21 Men's category, Australian Luke-Meier Smith posted an overall time that would have left him ninth in the senior men’s field.