Ibis Cycles EWS Team Holds Down Number One – Ireland Race Report

Ibis Cycles EWS Team Holds Down Number One – Ireland Race Report

Photo by Dave Trumpore

EWS IRELAND
The new Ibis Mojo HD4 delivers
The race in Wicklow Ireland is a classic in the Enduro World Series and promised to be a spectacular one with thousands of spectators lining the tracks. The short but demanding stages on the 46-kilometer course—with 1,500 meters of vertical—has it all from steep rock sections to pumptrack like parts in the lower sections. It was set to be a great race and the Ibis Team couldn’t wait to get out there aboard their new secret weapon, the brand new Ibis Mojo HD4 bike. This was to be the first official reveal of the bike, and the team was buzzing to give it a proper baptism.

Ahead of the six stages on race day we had two full days of practice, and the conditions for the two days could not have been more different. The first day greeted us with the best weather Ireland could’ve offered. Sunshine, dry trails and warm weather—what else do you need? Even though the trails are on the mellower side, compared to other EWS venues, you had to watch out for the sharp, sniper rocks that littered the tracks everywhere. A few flat tires in practice made reminded us all to stay on alert for them come race day…

Photo by Dave Trumpore
Photo by Dave Trumpore
A bit of rain was forecast in the morning for Saturday’s practice session, so no one was in a rush to start riding too early, but the torrential downpour wouldn’t stop and “waiting it out“ in the pit area didn’t help. We just had to “man up” at some point and get it started! Big puddles and deep ruts were the order of the day, compared to Fridays dry, even dusty at times practice.

Photo by Dave Trumpore

Sunday – Race Day

Fortunately, it stayed dry for the race on Sunday, but this didn’t make the conditions any easier. The saturated ground was very difficult to read. Between good grip to black ice, there was everything. The first rider from our team to leave the pits was our young American kid, Dillon Santos, who had joined us for his first EWS race this year, and indeed his first race in the open category, as prior to this race, Dillon had only competed in the U21 category. We sent him off with a big cheer and got ourselves ready!

Prior to the race, Dillon visited his friend and former team mate Gary Forrest in Scotland to prepare himself for the Euro mud races. It helped him to adapt to the trails we had to race in Ireland, and boosted his confidence to attack the wet and slick conditions. By the end of the day, he found himself on a solid 62nd place and is eager to build on that.

Photo by Dave Trumpore
bigquotes This was my EWS of the year with the team, as well as my first race overseas. The week consisted of tons of fun riding, walking, and practicing the iconic tracks of Wicklow Mountain. Saturday’s practice threw everybody a curve ball with lots of rain, which made for a wild and slippery race day. Having not ridden a ton in the wet, I made it my goal to give it my best, but more importantly finish the race. So at the end of the day, I’m healthy and really eager to get to some more of these races and sharpen my race craft.Dillon Santos
Photo by Dave Trumpore
Our other youngster, Zaharias Blom Johansen, was loving the trails in Ireland and it showed in his riding. He was able to pull consistent stage results throughout the whole day and was rewarded with his first ever Top 10 EWS result, way to go Zakka!

Photo by Dave Trumpore
bigquotes Stoked, emotional and relieved are the words I would use to describe this race weekend. Something just clicked for me this time. I was riding relaxed and with confidence, all weekend and couldn’t be happier leaving Ireland with my first ever Top 10 EWS finish! Proud of the whole team for putting in some solid work this weekend that ended with us continuing to lead in the overall team standings. Thanks to everyone that supports the team and make it possible for us to do this.Zakarias Blom Johansen
Photo by Dave Trumpore
The Gehrig Twins were looking to snag a podium spot in Ireland. They knew it was one of this year’s races that would best suit their strengths. So the battle was on! Unfortunately, both sisters started were a bit off the pace in the first stages, but they were able to turn it up towards the second half of the day. Anita’s 4th was off the podium by a mere 0.5 seconds, and with several impressive stage results who knows what would have happened if Caro would listen to her ‘older’ sister’s advice about line choices on Stage 3! In the end, she settled for a solid 5th place.

Photo by Dave Trumpore
bigquotes It was my third time in Wicklow and it’s definitely one of my favorites. It is an intense race with short stages where mistakes are costly. All the crazy Irish fans lining the track is always an extra boost for me. I had a really good race and I’m happy with how I rode. The conditions were very tough. It was my goal to deliver a consistent race without big crashes and mistakes. In the end, I missed the podium with less than half a second, which of course disappoints me, but this keeps me hungry and motivated to keep on charging the new bike.Anita Gehrig
Photo by Dave Trumpore
bigquotes With a crash in the first stage I did not have an ideal start to the race, but after that, I improved steadily and had some really good stages. A bad line choice at the start of Stage 3 buried my podium ambitions. My sister Anita advised me to not jump on the rock just after the start cause I suck at trials. I didn’t listen to her. So I found myself upside down even before I even had my front wheel on the rock… She’s definitely the smarter racer out of us. Stoked on a 5th place and some sick stage results! The speed is here, but I need to hold it together better for a full race to be able to step it up in Millau!Caro Gehrig
Photo by Dave Trumpore
After Robin’s mechanical in Madeira at the previous race but still a Top 10 result, he was more than eager to pull it together in Ireland to show his true ability. He was riding at his very best the whole day and truly made an impressive mark in the front row of the pack with this career-best 6th place.

Photo by Dave Trumpore
bigquotes Racing in front of the Irish crowds was just amazing! Last year I DNF’d in this race. So I just really really wanted to pull through and get the full experience this time! Small hill racing is usually not my strong suit. So I am super happy that I was again fighting for a Top 5 placing at the midpoint of the race. After a crash on Stage 3, I lost my momentum a little and had a bit of a hard time after that. I “kept it lit” like the Irish would say, and am more then happy to hold onto my best EWS result to date.

I have been riding with a bit of an injury for a while that is looking forward to a bit of a break so I feel confident that I can recover and do my homework for the second part of the season and start fighting for a podium! I am so happy to see my brother from another mother Zakka making it into his first Top 10 ever with some amazing riding!! Thanks to all our friends, sponsors and everyone that came out to cheer for us this weekend you guys rock!Robin Wallner

Photo by Dave Trumpore
Photo by Dave Trumpore
The Irish fans made the race to an unforgettable experience and we came back home with a huge smile, four Top 10 results in the women’s and men’s races, and 2nd in the team competition for the Ibis Cycles Enduro Race Team. With that, we are still holding onto the number one overall ranking in the Enduro World Series Team competition! Way to introduce the new race bike!

Now we’re stoked to have a few weeks at home now to get ready for the second half of the season. It’s crazy that we are already at the halfway point by now.

Photo by Dave Trumpore
Thanks to all our team sponsors and mechanics Mats and Tassilo for the amazing support, we all can’t wait to see what we can do in Millau at the beginning of July.


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