After a long but fantastic season this weekend participants had one last chance to give everything in the Specialized-SRAM Enduro Series. In front of a breath-taking Alpine background 220 riders fought their way through five energy-sapping stages on the final stop of the race series. Alongside flow trails rock gardens, root sections and tricky steep trails made for a demanding course. The quickest lady was Anneke Beerten, whilst Tobias Reiser was victorious in the men’s category. Anneke Beerten and Fabian Scholz secured the overall series wins.
With 55km distance and around 2000 metres climbing the tough enduro race included a high amount of singletrack riding on the transfers along the mountain ridge between Saalfelden Leogang and Saalbach Hinterglemm. Riders were rewarded the mostly gleaming sunshine and exceptional clear views over snow capped mountain summits and jagged cliffs. Even for non-racers there was plenty going on with the Biketember Festival, iXS European Downhillcup and Scott Junior Trophy all taking place at the same time. Many visitors made the journey to Saalfelden-Leogang for the great supporting events and rider party. The prologue race a day before the main enduro event was particularly exciting with numerous excited spectators and animating commentary.
Whilst the training day was sunny and trails were dry as a bone a short but heavy shower drenched the remaining riders and trails in the afternoon. The many and partially very steep root sections became much harder to negotiate especially for the amateur racers who had a later start time.
Stage 1, was only timed for the Pro class riders and took riders through 4 km of heavy root sections, albeit without steep gradients. Good riding technique and power management were immensely important here if you wanted to avoid a forced break halfway through the stage. Stage 2 followed the well known X line a challenge made up of numerous berms, natural rock drops and jumps. Getting off the brakes and building up full speed on the straights was the key to gaining valuable seconds here. Stages 3 – 5 were really technical with steep, slippery roots and descents packed with drops.
The last stage included many tight switchbacks and exposed wooded features.
Tobias Reiser (GER – Focus Trail Team) conquered the five demanding stages quickest with a time of 33:48.15 minutes. Just a blink of an eye slower was second placed Daniel Schemmel, with just a 15 hundredth of a second time difference. Markus Reiser (GER – Focus Trail Team) was third followed by James Shirley (GBR – Radon Factory Enduro) and Ludwig Döhl (GER – Cube Action Team).
In the Pro Women’s race it wasn’t quite as tight, Anneke Beerten (NED – Specialized Racing) dominated with a time of 40:38.54 and almost 4 minutes advantage over second place in-spite of a time penalty incurred during the prologue for inadvertently leaving the course. Birgit Braumann (AUT – Trek Gravity Girls) rode a strong race to finish second ahead of Antje Kramer (GER – Giant Germany). Sofia Wiedenroth (GER – AMG Rotwild MTB Racing) was close behind and Laura Brethauer (GER – Cube Action Team) secured fifth place.
In the Masters category Remo Heutschi (SUI – gravityunion.ch) was victorious with an overall time of 35:53.96, Benjamin Herold (GER – NRG-FOES Racing Factory Team) secured second place and Damiano Rossa (ITA – A.S. Dillentantistica) third. The fastest rider in Amateur Men was Leonhard Putzenlechner (GER – ENVE Composites), with an overall time of 24:12.01 minutes. Second place went to Daniel von Kossak (GER – Propain Factory Racing) who was 30 seconds slower. Ruben Torenbeek (NED – ENDURO-MTB.COM) managed a great third place on his first ever Enduro race. Sabrina Wolf (AUT) was the fastest in the Amateur Women’s category.
The overall series victory after six events this year in the Pro Men went to Fabian Scholz of the Focus Trail Team. Scholz rode consistently this year so that even his 8th place in Leogang/Saalbach Hinterglemm did not endanger his overall series lead. Ludwig Döhl and Markus Reiser followed in places two and three. Petrick Brückner was fourth overall ahead of André Wagenknecht, who secured a podium place with just three races completed.
In the Pro Women’s class Anneke Beerten celebrated a perfect season and reached the maximum available points. Raphaela Richter and Birgit Braumann followed with places two and three. Remo Heutschi won the Men’s Master class over Benjamin Herold and Guido Wachter. With a win on the day Leonhard Putzenlechner secured the overall victory in the Men’s Amateur category just a few points ahead of Daniel von Kossak and Jannik Schlickel. In the Amateur Women’s race Anja Düthmann saw off Stephanie Frankl and Manuela Drenska.
All results can be found as usual at enduroseries.net
Words: Tobias Döring Pictures: Hanno Polomsky
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