Race Report | Specialized-SRAM Enduro Series #6 – Leogang
Last weekend saw the conclusion of the 2015 Specialized-SRAM Enduro Series as Austria’s Leogang Saalbach hosted the sixth race of the season. More than 250 riders from 10 different nations toed the start line of the Austrian round, which saw Michal Prokop and Raphaele Richter claim overall victory at the end of a long season.
Rounding off the series with a bang, the Austrian region of Saalfelden Leogang went all-out to organize yet another standout sporting event for 2015. Alongside hosting the final of this German-speaking enduro race series, Leogang also welcomed the final race of the iXS European Downhill Cup, a SCOTT Junior Trophy race and a C1 XCO race, ensuring full gas was blown out all over the mountainsides. Last weekend marked the second time that the enduro series took to Leogang Saalbach, which once more offered a course boasting some very interesting stats, doing little to quell pre-race anticipation. Measuring 40 kilometres in total, the route took in 27 kilometres of transfers and approximately 13 racing kilometres split into five stages. Four gondolas were on the agenda too, giving a contradictory 580 metres of vertical height gain against 3,800 metres of vertical descent.
Enduro races aren’t just challenging when it comes to the course, the weather plays a monumental role in the conditions too. Given its late date in the year, the potential for changeable weather around the mountains is at its highest and Leogang had shown multiple sides to itself last year. And while the race weekend looked set to live up to expectations, it was only the temperature on Friday’s travel day that was slightly below par.
After number distribution on Saturday morning it was time for the official training and the riders took advantage of the dry conditions to check out the course. With the higher altitude sections already welcoming significantly cooler temperatures, it was never going to be an easy task choosing equipment.
Damp conditions reigned as Sunday morning dawned and the first start field headed onto the course. This year’s start and finish zone was located closer to the bike park and therefore more in the thick of things. After the official chip timing started, riders headed to Asitz gondola for their first up-lift to almost 1,800 metres. From there, it was just a short transfer to the Schönleitenhütte hut before the first stage began. Fastest on this section was Premek Tejchman (CZE – Commencal) with 6:37.73 minutes. This was followed by a trip up to around 2,000 metres to tackle the top part of the X-Line on the Schattberg for the second stage, which Markus Reiser (GER – Focus Trail Team) dominated with a time of 6:24.20 minutes. What followed was the day’s highest point at 2,081 metres for the riders to drop into the Bergstadl Trail on the western summit. Giving full gas, the remaining stages remained in the firm hand of German downhill champion Marcus Klausmann (GER – Ghost Factory), as he cinched fastest time after fastest time. The two final stages weaved down the Asitz, with the fourth stage following the Hangman 1 trail and the final taking in the Bongo Bongo Trail.
The race concluded with Klausmann clocking the quickest overall time of 25:37.86 minutes, gaining an 11 second lead over Michal Prokop (CZE – Specialized Racing), who managed to successfully defend his lead in the GC and write his name in the history books as the 2015 overall victor. While fifth place on the day was sufficient for Fabian Scholz (GER – Focus Trail Team) to keep his overall second position, Markus Reiser claimed third place both on the day and in the series.
Improving on her second-placed finish at Samerberg, Lisa Policzka (GER) showed her class once again to win the elite women’s race in Leogang. The overall series win, however, went to Raphaela Richter (GER – Radon Factory Team) for a legion of consistent appearances on the podium, despite finishing third on the day. Evidently not at her best in Leogang, Monika Büchi (CH – Schmid Velosport)’s fifth place was just enough to secure second place in the GC, while third place in the series went to Chiara Eberle (GER – Mhw Cube Racing Team)
In the pro masters category, André Kleindienst (GER – Endura Bergamont Team) took his third SSES success, taking a decisive overall victory. Foraying once more into enduro territory, downhiller Benny Herold (GER – Team NRG) rode to second place while Tommy Umbreit (GER – Redheads Team)’s third place in Leogang secured him the second step of the GC podium.
In the Open Women’s race, Jana Götze (GER – Santa Claus Syndicate)’s domination saw her claim both the day’s victory and the series win. The fastest of the Open Men was Stefan Königsmayr (AUT – Stiftingboys) on his first attempt at the SSES series, which meant he had no entitlement to the GC that then went in the favour of Clemens Bachmann (GER – Freeriders Kochertal).
Marking the end of the fourth year of the series, the riders now have a well-deserved rest ahead of them before pre-season preparation will be back on the cards.
As always, head to enduroseries.net for all the information.
Text: Racement PR Bilder: Axel Brunst