Friday, August 24th, 2018
“Another awesome podium for Sam Hill and his Blueberry Mega 275c”
Whistler Enduro World Series is part of the biggest MTB festival in the world: CRANKWORX
With 4 wins so far this season, Sam Hill and Elliott Heap headed into Whistler with the lead in the u21 and overall series. Unfortunately Elliott had to sit out of the race due to a bad crash he had a few days before the race after suffering a migraine whilst doing some filming. Luckily in the Under-21 category it’s your best five out of eight rounds that count so Elliott can drop this Whistler round and hopefully still be on target for the Under-21 world title.
Whistler has always been a brutal one day race and this year was no different, 5 stages to challenge the riders physically and mentally. The first two stages on the Blackcomb side of the resort starting off with a trail called Micro Climate and then Crazy Train. These were two super rough technical trails that have had a lot of use over the last few years, so really challenging for the riders with huge holes, big roots, rocks and some scary rock drops. A real challenge to start the race with two really tough transitions to pedal to the start of each stage.
Stage three and four were over on the other side of the resort in Creekside using the gondola to access the top of stage three which consisted of two established trails, Delayed Fuse into BC then a transition on the bike over to stage four which consisted of Heavy Flow, Hind Sight and Tunnel Vision which had a tough fire road sprint before the last minute of flowing trail.
The final stage of the race started up at the highest point at Top of the World. This stage is a super long brutal track using bike park trails that take a beating all the time. There are high speed sections, rock gardens, bike park jumps and berms, you name it this stage has it all and at the end of a long day. From Top of the World you drop into No Joke, Drop in Clinic, lower No Joke, Little Alder, Expressway, Too Tight, Upper and lower Angry Pirate, Samurai Pizza Cat, Afternoon Delight, Longhorn and finally Monkey Hands, finishing into the main bike park arena.
After a second place finish last year here Sam was looking to push for the win again. He started off as strong as usual with a third place on stage one and a sixth place on stage two putting him in third, only a few seconds from the leaders. Sam found the first two stages tough with the big holes and trying to maintain speed on the root trails with a few little climbs which used up a lot of the champions energy.
On stage three he managed another third place and then another sixth place on stage four ranking him third with the 21+ minute stage to go and only 16 seconds back from a charging Martin Maes and Richie Rude.
With stage five all to play for in the battle for the race, Sam gave it his all but admittedly had nothing in his legs after the first four tough stages. The World Champion managed a fourth place on that final stage giving him second overall for the day.
Kelan Grant who was riding great all week and through practice. After 4 solid stages a huge crash on the big final stage of the race from Top of the World and had to be brought down the mountain by the medical team. It was a nervous long wait to hear how bad Kelan was but luckily after a trip to the local hospital it turned out he was just badly bruised hip and a slightly separated shoulder.
What an amazing achievement once again and extends his lead in the Championship to 2830 points with a flying Martin Maes moving up to second in the Championship with 2270 points. Well done Sam.
There is now a small break before the final two rounds in Spain and Italy in a month’s time, so hopefully enough time to for Elliott and Kelan to heal up.
Photo: Fraser Britton