Enduro World Series Race Report: Olargues, France
Round 3 of the Enduro World Series only enhanced the reputation of the premier Enduro racing series: it was rough, rowdy, and extremely physical. The French round was the first of 2018 in Europe, and featured two full days of racing down some of the toughest tracks to date. While day one saw clear skies and mostly dry conditions, day two was a wet one, which definitely wreaked havoc on the riders. For the Alchemy Factory Racing Team, it was an event of highs and lows. Cody Kelley was firing in practice, and quickly translated that pace into a solid first day where he laid down heaters in stages two and three that put him well up the rankings. With the rain and cold on Sunday (there was even snow on adjacent mountains), it was clear day two would not be an easy one. Many of the top riders had big offs in the early stages and found it a challenge just to keep it on two wheels. Kelley did just that, taking a conservative approach to the stages with the thought that smoother would be faster. But as EWS has shown in the past, risk sometimes nets rewards and it did just that on day two. “It was a solid race for me, not one for the history books, but solid,” said Kelley. “I wanted to have good clean runs without any mishaps, which is exactly what I did, but the pace just wasn’t there. I learned a lot in France and look forward to putting that knowledge into the next races. Anneke Beerten had done well in the first two EWS rounds, carrying a top ten overall into round three, and headed to France with a lot of confidence, boosted by the fact that she was on the new Arktos29. “This was my first EWS of 2018 on the bigger wheels, and I felt both excited and strong on the technical tracks," said Beerten. “But it wasn’t to be my race as I crashed hard on stage five, landing in the rocks and hurting my back.” Though the crash forced Beerten out of the race, there were no major injuries and she will be back at the next round. It’s a bit of a break before they head to Jamnica, Austria, the fourth stop of the EWS, so it’s back to training for the two riders. Kelley will return to his hometown of Salt Lake City and Beerten to Southern California for a few weeks to prepare for what will be a tough event, both physically and technically.