Cycling: The European Enduro Series presented by XS Power Drink goes among foxes: The second race of the still young series took place as part of the Dakine Trailfox Festival in Flims. In the top-class, international starting field of around 260 drivers, the day's victory and valuable points for the overall ranking were fought for. The fastest of the day were Ines Thoma and René Wildhaber.
After the opening race in Punta Ala, a completely different terrain awaited the riders in Flims: sea level becomes tree line, Mediterranean becomes alpine. But even if the routes are fundamentally different, the number of vertical meters to be destroyed is on the same – high – level: a good 1900 vertical meters are taken under the tunnels in Flims on the day of the race. A gondola in front of stage one took some of the work off the riders, but they still had to climb around 800 meters of altitude on their own. And they had to be divided up well, because the first stage demanded maximum concentration and maximum bike control with its rutted, technical and sometimes steep terrain. René Wildhaber was able to shine here and already had a lead of almost 20 seconds.
After a short climb, stages two and three were faster and more rooted than rocky. The fourth stage led down the “Runca” flow trail into the valley with numerous north shore sections and numerous berms, and also required physical fitness with two flat pedal sections. The conclusion was stage five, which ran along a mountain ridge over fresh, loose forest soil and, after a pedaling passage, ended directly in the event area in the Laax RockRessort.
In the Pro Men, René Wildhaber dominated the field: He only needed 21:16.52 for all stages and thus secured victory in front of Ludovic May and Lukas Anrig with a lead of almost 40 seconds. Hayden Lee and Jamie Nicoll finished fourth and fifth.
With a total time of 25:34.24, the fastest lady on the mountain was Ines Thoma, closely followed by local hero Anita Gehrig and Meggie Bichard. Caro Gehrig, the second half of Specialized Twins Racing secured fourth place ahead of Lorraine Truong.
Remo Heutschi was able to win the Masters, followed by Benedikt Purner and Urs Stadelmann.
The podium in the Amateur Men category was made up of three Flimsers: Armin Beeli was the fastest through the stages with a time of 22:13.52, followed by Ueli Guntli in second place and Gia Ragettli on the smallest podium, more than 2 seconds behind. In the women's amateur group, Mirjam Wieser set the fastest time, followed by Sabrina Morell and Sara Wunderlin in second and third place.
The extremely high-quality starter field was offered a race in Flims that you can hardly imagine better. The EES stop and the other races of the festival showed the variety of trails in the Flims region as well as the fascination of enduro.
The next stop of the European Enduro Series will take place at the end of the month in Plan de Corones, Italy. More information and full results can be found at enduroseries.eu.
Photos: © Axel Brunst