The Enduro World Series circus came to my neck of the woods and the local trails didn’t disappoint in creating some hard, fast and competitive racing for the top riders; and it didn’t even rain! Nico Lau took the top spot with a dominant performance but it’s fair to say a few of the fancied names had a hard time of it in the Tweed Valley at the weekend. Where did Nico find the big gaps, and where did the others falter? Calculators and pocket protectors at the ready, lets geek out on the stats and find out…
The full eight stages – a grueling two days
The first stats that have to be called out are the distances these riders were clocking up. 50km on Saturday and 30km on Sunday with some serious climbing on the link stages, this really was a true Enduro. Tracey Moseley described it as a 5 day stage race if you take into account three days of practice too! On top of that, the racing was over two more stages than the first round in Chile. Factor in the tight, steep, techy nature of many of the stages too, and the winner had to be a true all rounder on a bike.
Taking a look at the overall placings over the course of the day, Nico Lau took the lead and didn’t let go. The crowd favourite Joe Barnes held on to second place until the final stage where a charging Justin Leov just pipped him to the second step on the podium. Leov recovered from a relatively slow start back in 8th place but gradually made up places across the stages. The most interesting lines here were Martin Maes and Jared Graves. After Stage 2, Graves was sitting in 43rd place and after Stage 3 Maes was down in 23rd. What’s most interesting here is how they both managed to battle back to get into the top 10 come Sunday afternoon. Whilst they both said goodbye to the chance of a win after such a bad start, it goes to show that Enduro is a long game where you do have the chance to battle back and regain some respectability after a slow start.
Looking at the top 10 in terms of time gaps, we still see Nico Lau’s domination. He was supremely consistent, pulling out 18 seconds on second placed Barnes by the end of day 1 and whilst Barnes and Leov made up time on him over the course of day 2, he had enough in reserve to hold of the charge. Here as well, we see how Graves and Maes actually made up time on day 2 to jump up into the top 10.
Let’s simplify this a little bit and take a look at the placings of the final top 10 at the end of day 1 and at the finish. Here we can see the riders that actually made up time and placings on day 2. If the race was run over just day 2 the results would have looked very different with Leov in 1st, Maes 2nd and Graves in 3rd. Lau would have been 6th, over 22 seconds back! Then again, consistency was what mattered, Lau had such a good cushion after day 1 that he could afford to lose a few chunks of time and still take the overall.
We can see the consistent, and not so consistent performances in the top 20 heatmap. Nico Lau absolutely dominated the first day with two 1st places and two 2nd places. Even on day two he only slightly let up but was still consistent, with a 5th and three 7th places. In contrast we can see the light patch on Stage 4 for Joe Barnes where he ended up 18th, 12 seconds behind Lau. We can also see the light first half and dark second half of both Maes’ and Graves’ heatmaps showing their differing fortunes between day 1 and day 2. Further down the list there’s a few interesting looking performances too. Local Ruaridh Cunningham looks like he targeted a few stages here with a stage win, two 4th places then the rest between 29th and 38th position. Richie Rude also seems to have grown into the race with a relatively lowly first day but finishing with 9th, 6th and 5th to sneak into the top 20.
The inaugural EWS round in Peebles seems to have been a resounding success with tough trails, tough racing and some top stats. I’ll be continuing my own stats enduro with the next stage in a week’s time at Fort William. See you then!