Photos: Seb Schieck
The race season is now well and truly under way. After the wilds of Fort William the World Cup downhill racers are now out in Leogang, Austria, for round three of this year’s series. We’ll report back next week on how they got on.
But let’s rewind a little, because last weekend (June 3/4) INTENSE Factory Racing (IFR) team rider Seth Sherlock tried his hand (for the very first time) at enduro racing at round 1 of the Enduro World Series (EWS) from the Tweed Valley in the Scottish borders. Seth was racing in the U21 (under 21 years old) category onboard the new INTENSE Tracer 279.
Six stages of racing over 9.6km, but with a total distance travelled of 42.5km, with 1797m of climbing. With roughly 20 minutes of actual ‘race time’ it is one hell of a day. We’ll be honest, we had no idea how Seth would do. He’s got the skills for sure, but anything can happen in enduro… but let’s just say that he killed it! Even with a crash in the Pro Stage on Saturday, Seth managed to race his way back and hit the podium with a second place finish. It’s a great result. We grabbed a few words with him.
How did it compare to a World Cup weekend?
The whole experience felt much more laid back, social and less stressful. You got to do a lot more riding than you would at a World Cup and the pedals-up were quite a lot of fun chatting with other competitors. You also got to explore the area much more than you would at a World Cup. At a World Cup you put all of your time and energy into one track and don't really get to see or think about anything else.
Do you think the format suits your style of riding and racing?
Yeah, I think the format is pretty good for my riding style. I'm able to ride at like 95% pace super consistently, and that's enduro race pace pretty much. I think Tweed was especially good for my riding style because it was pretty much all gnarlier, harder downhill stuff, which is where I'm able to ride my best.
Will you be doing the rest of the series now after your success?
Hopefully! I still need to figure out logistics and get everything planned. but my primary focus for this season is the EWS U21 overall championship now.
The Tracer is new, how was it for you?
The Tracer did not disappoint. I've been on the Primer up until this season and it's been as good as it gets for a 140/150mm bike, but being on a proper 170/170mm enduro bike is a game changer. It feels amazing and the in-bike storage is super convenient for enduro as well. I’m excited to keep working on the setup and getting to ride it more.
Apart from your crash did you encounter any problems on track?
No not really. It was a pretty smooth week other than the disaster on the Pro Stage. A few mistakes here and there and I punched a tree really hard on stage 4, which hurt a lot, ha ha. I also laid-up pretty hard on stage 6 because I had a fifteen second lead on 3rd and didn't want to throw it away.
What was the whole weekend like?
Overall it was a really friendly and fun vibe. It was a little weird at first because I didn't know many people, but everyone seemed pretty welcoming and friendly. I had a ton of fun overall and I can't wait for more. I’m very excited for Leogang and some more EWS's now, let's keep this momentum going.
And we had further good news from the EWS. INTENSE Ambassador, and UK MTB living legend, Andrew Titley, raced the EWS100 (100% of the course, 100% of the racing) and won his age category. He was racing in the Masters +45 age group and won by over 40 seconds, taking the win on every stage in the process. It was a much deserved victory, and we can’t wait to see how he gets on with the rest of the series.
“EWS Tweed Valley has been a phenomenal event. Amazing weather, great company, incredible trails and to top it all off a win in the EWS100.” Andrew Titley
And finally, if you have a bit of time on your hands why not check out Singletrack's latest Making Up The Numbers Podcast with our very own Dak Norton. Dak talks about his season so far, his US win a few weekends ago, and riding with the sized wrong wheel! Dak’s section starts at 47min 11sec.