NZ Enduro

Finish line fails at the NZ Enduro

Embracing the wetness at the first big enduro of the year. Photos: Duncan Philpott, Boris Beyer, Digby Shaw

New Zealand has been suffering with some of the worst droughts in recent memory. But forget rain dances – all you need to do to guarantee some precipitation is to organise a mountain bike race. Even after two days of downpours and lethally slick trails, the organisers of the NZ Enduro felt that the riders weren’t wet or muddy enough, so they routed the finishing straight of the final stage through a 15ft-wide, 2ft-deep flooded stream. Carnage ensued, as riders came in blind and had to make a split-second decision whether to attempt to surf across the top, pull up and pray, or just grit their teeth and plough through. As you can see, the various techniques weren’t all successful. We reckon more races should end with a finish line spectacle like this! ‘Ard Rock 2019, anyone?

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Pushing the eject button
Pushing the eject button
Getting friendly with the stem
Getting friendly with the stem
One expensive camera about to get a soaking in, 3,2,1...
One expensive camera about to get a soaking in 3,2,1…
After a hard day riding it's always important to stretch
After a hard day riding it’s always important to stretch
A textbook scorpion dismount
A textbook scorpion dismount
Ex-World Cupper Cam Cole is a beast and a bit of the wet stuff is no match for him
Ex-World Cupper Cam Cole is a beast, and a bit of the wet stuff is no match for him
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Comedy trail features aside, the NZ Enduro is a great early season proving ground to see who’s on form, and a good place to spot ex-world champs, with the likes of Peaty and Fabien Barel in attendance.

"Cheers!" Beer has and always will be Peaty's secret to racing success
“Cheers!” Beer has and always will be Peaty’s secret to racing success

In the end it was Canyon’s Dimitri Tordo who tamed the conditions – finishing just ahead of British/Norwegian privateer Guy Gibbs.

Second place overall Guy Gibbs tames the flood
Guy Gibbs (second place overall) taming the flood

Ines Thoma secured the women’s victory, making it a Canyon double win. In second was up-and-coming Brit Ella Conolly. The first major enduro race of the season is the opening round of the EWS at Crankworx Rotorua this coming weekend.

Dimitri Tordo hanging on to take the overall win
Dimitri Tordo hanging on to take the overall win…
Dimitri Tordo looking rather chuffed with himself after coming out victorious from three days of tough racing.
… and looking rather chuffed with himself after coming out victorious from three days of tough racing

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