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…
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.