Words and interview by James McKnight
Thomas Daddi is the brave man taking on the hosting of the first ever Enduro World Series race, which takes place on the 18-19 May in Punta Ala, Italy.
Familiar with staging enduro races, having already had three Superenduro events at his beachside resort (Puntala Resort), and having proven to be well organised, enthusiastic and meticulous, Tom was perhaps the obvious choice for the EWS team to choose for the all-important first round of the first ever World Series.
Tom pops up at Superenduro events all round Italy where he rides and races not only for fun but also as a way of gauging difficulty levels for his own events and in order to ensure the constant development and progression of them. There is a lot of speculation and anticipation building but we are confident that the first EWS race is going to be a complete success thanks in part Daddi’s drive and motivation to host a perfect race.
We caught up with Tom last week while we were touring the Italian shores and spoke a little about the experience of setting up the course and the event in general.
Can you explain what Puntala Resort is?
Thomas Daddi: The resort has belonged to my family for a couple of generations, and I’ve started managing it recently – it’s been quite a challenge. I’ve explored some ways of making the area into a different kind of attraction from the usual ‘beach location from mid May to September, deserted the rest of the year’.
So out of those main months of the season, I thought, “what’s possible?” I tried sailing, had a couple of big things going, but while sailing does bring a lot of people for specific events, sailors don’t do too much in the way of visiting spots. So I decided to try with mountain biking.
Myself, I had a background in mountain biking growing up in Colorado – I spent a lot of summers there as my mother is American, so it was a return. I’d left mountain biking because it was all hardtails, which was a bit unpleasant… When I started again, I realised there were some massive technical improvements between the 90s and 2009, so I’ve really got into it, I’m riding a lot.
So you’ve worked to cater for mountain bikers in the resort. Are the trails around the resort locals’ trails or have you built them specifically?
The network of trails was all there already. The area is very rich in minerals and it’s all covered in forest. In the past, wood would be burnt and turned into charcoal on the spot to transport it out, so there was a network of existing trails from that. Moving through the trees, every hundred metres you’ll find a pitch that’s perfectly level, where in the past they would build a stack of wood and burn it very slowly to turn it to charcoal, pack it down and take it down the hill.
So all that’s required is to take a GPS and map all the pitches, then draw a line on Google Earth and look for the trail that joins them. Next, put tape on trees and chainsaw your way through… All the trails were walked out by mules, which means the earth is really packed down and close to the rock. The water has subsequently washed through them over the years and worn them down further still. It’s really fun riding on natural trails; our work is mainly related to making the riding safe, cutting down dangerous things close to the trails and so on.