Big Picture | The EWS Emerald Enduro Opens For Practice
The Emerald Enduro is now well underway with stages 1-4 open for practice – living up to its name it was ‘fifty shades of green’ in the woods. Starting on rocky moorland with sweeping views, the stages dropped first through Gorse and Heather covered shrubs, before diving into Pine and Eucalyptus stands, and finishing in frantic turns through a Bluebell rich forest floor.
Niall Davis and the organisers must have worked some magic to create a series of stages that all feel very different, all based on the same hill. With a buzzing atmosphere and ‘fun to ride’ trails, it was all ‘big smiles and fast trains’. Let’s check out some of the action from the first day of practice.
Lucky charms, the weather looked promising as the marshals received their caffeine fix
Jet lagged Kiwi Jamie Nicoll was up early, or late? Depending on whos body clock you asked
We see plenty of race dogs. but this is the first ‘race cat’
No takers for the airbag first thing! Gas to flat!
Blink and you will miss it, a well camouflaged race hut
The atmosphere was chilled out like a grass roots race, only full of pro riders Niall Davis (in car), the man with the vision
The super fun trails had everyone playing about, Florian boosts one for the camera
Ben Cruz, cruising with the tunes on! Backpack speakers are the new enduro!
There was a few wee mud holes on Stage 1
A lot of the sections looked fresh cut, keeping minds focussed
The top of Stage 1 was flat out fast, the only thing slowing riders down was a healthy survival instinct
Big views over Wicklow, Carrick Mountain is only small but its trails pack a punch
The top of Stage 2 was the place to be for line scoping, a naughty, chunky affair
Everyone was having a laugh on the trials rocks
Anneke put that 4X power to good use to pop through the rocks
The Emerald Isle delivered its amazing spectrum of green
Cheeky rocks littered the fun trails
There was plenty of flow, but power on the pedals will be key
The enduro moustache, timeless and elegant
The climb to Stage 2 involved some ‘proper’ mountain biking
Good to see the use of the ‘safty’ mattress!
This chute at the top of Stage 3 raised some eyebrows, no place for shrinking violets
Everyone loves a cheeky manual
Hannah Barnes, like most, was happy to be out of the rocks
Flat out in amazing terrain
There was no stress during practice, just loads of fast trains and good times
Stage 3 had some long pedals, racing will be tight come Sunday
Stage 4 had a few sneaky obstacles to negotiate
Ibis main man Scot Nicol demonstrates the perfect 400mm bar turn
DH shredder Andrew Neeithling is having a crack at enduro – he looked fast
Gorse, great colours but terrible to crash into
Bluebells covered the floor of the lower forest section
Loosedog getting, well – loose!
Most were pumping this small rise, Sam Flanagan tweeked the life out of it!
Fun tracks, and still 3 more stages to practice tomorrow. Sunday will be a big race
A star of tomorrow?
Words and photos: Trev Worsey