It is just a small tip of Tuscany vis a vis the island of Elba. But there are ways that have already inspired the world's best racers. Al dente & di mare – firm in the bite and ending directly on the Mediterranean Sea. Full of energy, the locals present their trails in two racing series this year. After the start of the World Series, which attracted a lot of attention from the media last year, this year the European Enduro Series and later in the year the Superenduro are guests. It's the premiere for the European series. At the end of the season, with six high-quality and very different races with a consistent racing mode, a true continental champion is crowned. As in downhill racing, the prestige of this title will only grow in the years to come. In order to win it, you have to prove yourself as a complete racing driver, focused over a long period of time, internationally on a wide variety of terrain and in a professional environment. Not an easy task, but a worthwhile one.
The start in Punta Ala will be characterized by the combination of Mediterranean flair with the flexible transponder timekeeping that is common north of the Alps. It will be a meeting of racers from eleven nations. The largest participation comes from drivers from Italy and Germany, Switzerland and Austria. The furthest reports come from Israel, Portugal, Ireland, Great Britain and Russia.
The pre-registration list already gives reason to expect high-class racing. Above all, you have to reckon with the freshest offspring of Italian enduro sport. Marco Milivinti from the Torpado Team, the converted World Cup downhiller, impressively demonstrated his form last weekend. He rode a Superenduro Pro for the first time and won it right away. One of his toughest competitors, Denny Lupato, was only prevented from stepping onto the Superenduro podium after a flat tire. Both have reported for Punta Ala and should be hot for revenge. The repetition of this inner-Italian duel alone makes the race exciting. Davide Sottocornola (Cicobikes DSB ION), Vittorio Gambirasio (Officine Red Bike ASD) and the young German Tobias Reiser from the new Focus Team also offered good early form in the Italian series with results in the top seven. Basically, the stages in Italy are also very demanding in terms of fitness, maybe also an advantage for Mirco Widmer and Marco Arnold, the ex-XC racers from Switzerland? Many other drivers have not even contested a race in 2014. So does Tobias' brother Markus Reiser (Focus). The overall winner of the 2012 Specialized SRAM Enduro Series is hoping for an injury-free season. His successor on the SSES throne, André Wagenknecht and his Cube Action teammate Ludwig Döhl are also at the start and look forward to continuing the intense but friendly duels with Petrik Brückner. He is now employed by the Radon Flow team. You have to have all three Germans on the bill.
In addition to the resonance in the German-speaking area and the Italian scene, the pre-registration list also reflects the awakening interest in enduro racing in Eastern Europe. The Czech drivers in particular could present themselves well here. In addition to the ex-Fourcross World Champion Michal Prokop (Specialized), Premek Tejchmann (Commencal FDF) and Pavel Cep (GT CZ) are two career changers who have already easily kept up with the top group of the oldest Enduro series on their Italian debut in Sestri Levante could.
For a few more days, online registration is then only possible on site for an enduro Easter festival in Punta Ala - it's served. Buon appetito!