Words – Matti Lehikoinen | Photos – Sebastian Sheick
The first round of the 2019 Enduro World Series took place in beautiful Rotorua New Zealand. The race had a variety of 5 stages with steep and loamy to longer and physical ones. Throughout practice, the weather held up, and it was nice and dry without any drama, but on the typical race day fashion we all woke up to the misty and rainy morning on Sunday. Luckily enough the race didn’t get affected by the weather, and it held off and everyone had the same race condition.
Racing took place in two different locations in Rotorua two of the stages were helped at the Crankworx site in skyline and tree of the stages were in the red woods about 20min drive from the paddock. Leigh Johnson and Joe Nation both were feeling strong and riding well in practice, and things were looking good for us. We were looking for a steady and consistent race for both riders to start of the year. But when it comes to racing things don’t always go according to plan… Leigh was riding well but unfortunately had a crash on stage one followed up with a mechanical and a crash on stage two. By then the race was pretty much over, and it was just a matter of finishing the day. Leigh fought through the pain and setbacks and managed the finish the race in 37th place.
Joe Nation was flying high throughout the week, and a was looking to redeem his bad luck of racing in Rotorua. Joe started pretty steady on the first two stages and then put the hammer down on stage 3 with a 3rd place finish putting him to 13th overall going to stage 4. Unfortunately, Joe had a mechanical on the following stage, and that put an end to his hopes for a good result in Rotorua.
On the positive note leaving from the first round, both guys are feeling good on the bikes and riding fast.