Like a phoenix from the ashes, the Enduro World Series reminded us just how good a race series it is as it launched for 2016 in Corral, Chile.

It’s been a tough winter for enduro following high profile criticism and cancelled series and it looked like the first round of the EWS could have been scuppered too following forest fires on the island of Corral on the eve of the race.

EWS Corral Fires

Forest fires raged around Corral (Philpott)

Thankfully the flames were quenched and the trails untouched so the racing could continue – and what a race it was.

Athletes arrive at the venue for the first day of racing

Most unusual uplift ever? (Philpott)

Richie Rude took the overall win for the men, winning three stages in the process, with 19-year-old Martin Maes in second and the French legend Nico Vouilloz in third.

Cedric Gracia always has time for the fans.

He may not have won the race but he won fan’s hearts – Cedric Gracia (Philpott)

In the women’s race it was Cecile Ravanel that filled the (sizable) boots of Tracy Moseley and Anne Caroline Chausson as she took her maiden win, she was followed by Anneke Beerten and Isabeau Courdurier.

EWS Corral Barnes steep

Joe Barnes in the steep sections of Corral (Philpott)

All eyes were on Jared Graves, who was racing for Specialized after spending the majority of his career on Yeti, but a spate of mechanicals cost him chunks of time on the final two stages and he ended up eighth.

EWS corral graves chain

Jared Graves’ first race for Specialized ended acrimoniously (Philpott)

You can view the full results of the race here.