GT Factory Racing’s junior rider Martin Maes won his 3rd out of 4 junior titles in this inaugural Enduro World Series and claimed an amazing 7th place in the overall competition against the cream of the Enduro Series – and an influx of top- class US riders who joined the Colorado Round.
Martin was the sole representative for GT Factory Racing in this round as team mate and mentor Dan Atherton remains in the UK for an operation on his shoulder which dislocated during the Mountain Of Hell. The event took place in and around the Colorado Bike Park over 3 separate days. With the base at 9,000 feet above sea –level and start gates for the 5 stages at over 11,000 altitude was a factor – organisers said that they had purposely made the racing short and intense (Martin’s preferred mode of operation) to allow afternoons for the riders to recover.
Practise sessions took place while the course was still open to the public so the only opportunity to ride at race speed was in the race itself but Matteo Nati, GT Factory Racing’s Enduro team mechanic reported that Martin got 3 practise runs in each on Stages 1 and 2 really enjoyed both of them.
Matteo said “It’s great for me to see Martin enjoying the trip so much – even if we are sad that Affy is not with us, it does make it more difficult for Martin but we have such fun together and I was able to make some small adjustments to suspension and tyre pressures that mean the bike is spot on. He’s also getting more confident on the new Force, and at riding with click pedals so he’s going to go from strength to strength!”
Day 1 consisted of Stage 1, a rough downhill track with lots of opportunities for interesting line choices and Stage 2 which was long and fast with lots of jumps. At the end of Day 1 Martin was sitting 10th overall and the team were well pleased, On Friday evening Martin and Matteo emailed HQ “ “We’re stoked, especially with so many fast local riders pinning it here at Winter Park! The bike is mint!”
A Friday night thunderstorm with a lightning strike which took out a chairlift caused some disruption to Saturday’s racing – the planned stage 4 was cancelled so organisers split Stage 3 into two parts – 3A and 3B. This day’s riding was very different to day1 – long back country trails with climbs to the top! Martin found the pedally XC nature of Stage 3A challenging and came in 20th overall on this stage, 3B was more Downhill based and quite technical which he found much easier to ride and finished 6th for this stage – 15th overall for the day.
Sunday’s Stage 5 was pretty much entirely Downhill, The team had a detailed discussion on Saturday night and Matteo’s advice to our young racer was “Pin it all the way!” Matteo said “I knew that Martin could do well and that his confidence was high after 2 good days of racing – luckily the strategy paid off with 3rd overall in the stage only 0,1sec behind the 2nd, so at the end of the day he finished 7th overall for the entire event!”
Martin said “I am stoked!”
Next stop for the Enduro team will be EWS Round 5 at Whistler in 2 weeks time.
Photos: Dave Trumpore