GT Factory Racing’s young Enduro rider Martin Maes put in another fantastic ride this weekend to grab third place in the Open Enduro at Metabief against a field of serious World Series contenders.
Conditions were atrocious, the mass start stage had to be abandoned because the start was covered in snow and some commentators wondered whether the risk in riding such a technical course in such conditions might have caused a few of the big riders to save themselves for Punta Ala, the start of the World Series next weekend. But there was still plenty of competition with Enduro stars Jerome Clementz, Francois Bailly-Maitre, our own Martin Maes and Florian Golay all taking stage wins in an epic battle over a severely testing course that the riders likened to a muddy pro-downhill. Jeremy Arnould and Remy Absalon grabbed 5th and 6th places respectively.
Friday was an important day for the team in that Martin Maes and Dan Atherton rode a full day together, smashing out runs on stage 3, the stage that Martin was to win on Saturday, taking 5 clear seconds from Jey Clementz. Dan said “ Martin was riding really confidently – that stage was steep and rooty, and it suited Martin’s flat-pedal style – Matteo and I knew that he could take it. Martin rides very differently to me his style is loose, more flamboyant – it was great to get to know his riding in more detail.”
Dan took the decision not to ride on Friday so that he could concentrate on testing the brand new prototype bike he received from GT just hours before flying out to France. Dan said “I love this bike! Metabief has a chairlift so it was perfect for testing different things and getting the bike dialled for Punta Ala, I needed those two days of flat out testing and riding to get the bike ready so we took a call. I think it was absolutely the right decision. Martin rode so well and did us proud– he’s immensely talented and has great attitude, it’s easy to forget that he’s still a junior.”