Masters ‘smashes it’ to take an upset win.
Words and photography by nicklambert.co.nz
A capacity field of 400 enjoyed dry and dusty conditions in Rotorua during today’s Giant 2W Gravity Enduro, beating the onset of the forecast rain which arrived at the end of prizegiving. New Plymouth’s Wyn Masters put a solid stamp on his credentials as a complete all-round mountain bike racer by winning against a stacked field including current Enduro World Series champion Jared Graves. The field also boasted other heavy hitters like Jared’s Yeti teammate Richie Rude, New Zealand’s best performing EWS racer Justin Leov and a host of other talented Kiwis, Aussies and those from further afield.
The 2W came after a busy week during the Rotorua Bike Festival during which Masters competed in the Road event ‘Flying Kilo’ (placing 5th), Bike speedway (1st), 16” Dual Slalom World Champs (1st), Downhill National Championships (8th, with a flat tyre in his race run) and Pump track (5th).
When asked about his tactics for the day he said he chose to do the longest and most technical Kataore stage first. “I think it was a good move and started me off on a good note. My plan was to smash that stage and go from there,” Masters said. “It needs heaps of energy because it’s full-on the whole way.
“I’m doing three of the EWS rounds this year: Rotorua, Scotland and Italy. They fit in with my World Cup downhill schedule”. Asked why he chose to compete at only three of the rounds he replied, “I don’t want to overcommit myself, so I’ve planned to do those three and see how I go.”
Skill on technical trails and fitness for intense efforts of a few minutes for downhill races are a strength for Masters, but he doesn’t train specifically for longer stages so was happy with his results on the lengthier tracks today. “I thought Jared would have smoked me on the long stage today (stage ‘D’, Hatu Patu to Roller Coaster),” he said, “but I got him by a second.”
T-mo shows her class. words and photography by nicklambert.co.nz In the women’s field there were no surprises with the UK’s Tracy Moseley (T-Mo) winning convincingly by well over a minute in her first event for 2015.
“My plan was just to get back into racing. It’s the first race I’ve done since October,” she said. “I’ve done very little on my enduro bike and I was definitely pretty rusty so I enjoyed the chance to race.” It wasn’t all perfect runs; “I had lots of mistakes, a few incidents like having to stop to drag out a bit of native bush that got stuck in my back wheel - all sorts of things, but nothing major and I really enjoyed the day.” Using the Giant 2W Gravity Enduro as a stepping stone to prepare for the upcoming EWS round in Rotorua, Moseley didn’t take the easy route.
“I pedalled everything and didn’t use shuttles. It was good to do a big day and I feel fine physically, just technically I was pretty rusty.” To say she was ‘pretty rusty’ is obviously judged by the high standards Moseley holds herself to, given her race result.
Asked how she found it, Moseley praised the variety of race stages, “It was a good mix of trails, I think they did a great job, some techy stuff, some pedalling. That’s what I love about enduro, it tests everything in your riding.” Moseley is in Rotorua for a few more days and among the riding she will be doing will be a repeat loop of today’s courses - a good indication of how enjoyable the trails are.
She then heads south for more races including the NZ Enduro in Havelock. After that it's back to ride in Rotorua and prepare along with the other competitors in the Giant Toa Enduro (round one of the 2015 Enduro World Series), during the Crankworx Festival in March.