EMS Shimano Australian Enduro Tour: Round 2 Derby

The Shimano Australian Enduro Tour lit up the weekend and set the trails of blue Derby ablaze with style, finesse and world class speed. With a stellar line up in the elite class and some blockbuster trails, the recipe for an outstanding event was about to be served up to the hungry hecklers in Derby, Tasmania. Brakes Wide Open were there to blast through the race tape, strap on a race plate and get a birds eye view of one of the best events of the year.

Derby trail head, where the magic begins…. Photo by Mike Branch

Derby is situated approximately 90 minutes drive from Launceston in Tasmania and is host to some of the best mountain biking trails anywhere in Australia. The weekend saw Derby host round 2 of the Shimano Australian Enduro Tour and Round 1 of the EWS Asia-Pacific Continental Enduro Series. An EWS qualifier at quite possibly the most technical and scenic trails anywhere in Australia, event organizers Event Management Solutions did not disappoint.

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Sam Hill’s Nukeproof Mega ready to rumble – Photo: Nathan Kennedy (Diall’d Industries)

The Stage Was Set

Six stages were selected for the race, totaling a whopping 39 km and 1800 metres of elevation over some of the most demanding stages available. Included in the six stages was the 2017 EWS Trail of Year ‘Detonate’ which provided a technically demanding trail over rocks, steep terrain, the infamous chute and a fair dose of carnage on race day. With 3 Double Black diamond trails built specifically for technical enduro racing, this course was born to separate the weak from the strong. Stages included new trail ‘Roxanne’ into ‘Black Stump’, ‘Detonate’ into ‘Flickety Sticks’, ‘Trouty’, ‘Shearpin’, ‘Dambusters’ and ‘Return to Sender’. All in all it made for a big day on the bike with some super challenging trails and some great spectating to be had by all.

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Chris Finlay heading down Trouty – Photo: Nathan Kennedy (Diall’d Industries)

A World Class Field

With one a world class destination came a world class field and the elite men and women arrived in droves. With names like Ben Forbes, Connor Fearon, Wyn Masters, Josh Carlson, Chris Panozzo and 2 x World EWS Champion Sam Hill; the elite men’s field looked ready to set the trails on fire. Shelley Flood, Rowena Fry and Emily Parkes served a fair dose of speed into the elite women’s field and the rest of the field was certainly making for a fast-paced race. With over 100 racers in the elite field there was no shortage of talent form all over the nation and the world lining up for qualification points for the EWS.

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Sam Hill putting the pace in the race on Trouty – Photo: Nathan Kennedy (Diall’d Industries)

When the rubber hit the Dirt

As the rider’s hit the trails and the race was under way it was clear to all that witnessed, this was going to be a trying day for the riders with over five hours in the saddle. Tires met rock, helmets tested the integrity of the ground and roost was served to the hecklers. All and sundry turned out to heckle the riders on the trails near town and the atmosphere was world class. ‘Detonate’ delivered adrenaline rushing, crowd pleasing carnage, ‘Trouty’ delivered epic scenery over rocky slabs and ‘Return to Sender’ delivered a hefty dose of flow for the riders to finish the day.

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Photo: Nathan Kennedy (Diall’d Industries)
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The Heckle level was high at the end of Return to Sender – Photo: Mike Branch

As the last riders rolled into the finish corral the results began to roll in, Wyn Masters was first to finish the course, but Sam Hill took the race win in the Elite Men over Chris Panozzo and Andrew Cavaye. Rowena Fry took the top step in the elite women over Emily Parkes and Lucy Mackie rounding out an epic day in the elite fields on a physically demanding and technical course. For full results click here.

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Sam Hill 1st, Chris Panozzo 2nd, Andrew Cavaye 3rd – Photo: Mike Branch
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Rowena Fry 1st, Emily Parkes 2nd and Lucy Mackie 3rd – Photo: Mike Branch

Round 2 of the EMS Shimano Australian Enduro Tour was a blockbuster event that had the crowd on their toes and the riders on the edge. A technically demanding course with over 39 km of riding and 1800m of elevation pushed riders to their limits and beyond. Blue Derby certainly delivered with weather, terrain and world class trails built by World Trail. A vast difference from round 1 of the series and a welcome step up, we look forward to seeing what the last round in Mt Buller has to offer….

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