Punctures suck and Irish spectators don't. What else noteworthy happened?
Last weekend’s round of the Enduro World Series in County Wicklow saw some of the most exciting racing action yet in EWS’ history. It was a tale of local riders stepping it up a a gear and old legends returning to the scene.
What else of note happened during the weekend?
1. Home advantage counts
It counts a lot in Ireland. At all EWS rounds local riders have the advantage of knowing the sort of terrain that they’ll be racing on. Less time is spent setting up suspension and choosing tyres and jut getting used to how the dirt behaves. More time spent on the course practicing the stages. But it’s the loud and partisan crowds that the Emerald Enduro gets that offer the locals a unique advantage. There’s a reason all but one of the categories were won by an Irish rider.
2. Punctures cost
Ritchie Rude very probably would have won EWS Ireland had it not been for a puncture. We reckon the ‘puncture issue’ is going to become a defining aspect of professional enduro racing, even more so than Downhill or XC. Are other companies going to go down the line of Schwalbe and their ProCore system? Will someone go as far as contemplating solid tyres one day?
3. Rude is the one
Ritchie Rude performed a seriously impressive comeback after his puncture to get himself on to the podium in 3rd place. This signified that not only is he ridiculously fast on a bike, he has a rare never-say-die attitude that is sure to pay dividends over the course of the racing season.
4. Moseley still has it
Tracy Moseley isn’t going to race at every EWS this year but that doesn’t mean you can count her out when she does show up. Winning six out of the total seven stages at EWS Ireland was quite a way to remind the young ‘uns of Moseley’s capabilities.
5. Veteran downhillers return to enduro
When enduro first properly started as an international professional scene there weren’t very many known names involved. What names there were older Downhill racers who had perhaps had their day on the DH scene and we’re turning to enduro for a last blast of podium action. Sam Hill reprised this vibe at EWS Ireland and ended up with an impressive 2nd place finish. Similarly, Joel Smith finished in the top 10 as well.
6. Irish crowds are madferrit
As we mentioned above, the home advantage was considerable for Irish riders. The spectators at EWS Ireland outdid themselves in sheer turnout numbers, amount of decibels produced, fancy dress outfits worn and innovation with ‘spectator accessories’ (did someone say “chainsaw”?)