EDR.7 Châtel, France
Previous tracks in Australia and France proved to favor local riders, but the final Enduro World Cup round of the season in Châtel, France seemed an even playing field. The weekend consisted of 7 punchy stages: three freshly cut tracks and four in the bike park with non-conforming taping, meaning the typical A-line would not be an option. With lengthy transfers between stages, this week’s race would favor the strongest all-around rider.
The previous six stops of the 2023 circuit have crowned six different athletes, so victory in Châtel could be anyone’s. The series overall, however, was in Richie Rude’s grasp. His consistency throughout the year earned him a 240-point lead heading into the final race. Rude would need to place 5th or better to secure the season overall championship.
After a slow start, finishing in 6th, 15th, and 4th on the first three stages of the day, Rude was feeling the pressure.
“I had a slow start. Stage Two was not very good, I had a good stage three and made up some time and started to feel a little better. Now on to four stages in the bike park to hopefully win a stage or two.”Richie Rude
Fresh off some pep-talks and nerve mitigation from mechanic, Shaun Hughes at a tech zone stop, Rude set off to take on the final four stages. He found his flow and steadily chipped away at the morning’s deficit, doing exactly what he needed to do. Riding consistently, Rude focused on retaining his points lead to secure the 2023 UCI Enduro World Cup Championship.
After seven long stages and just under 25 minutes of white-knuckle racing, Richie Rude secured third place with enough points to lead the 2023 season and became the Enduro World Cup Champion for the third time.
“It’s been about six years since I won my last one and it’s been a long road since. It feels good to wear the jersey a lot this season and bring it home after a slow start to the day”Richie Rude
SławomirŁukasik turned the heat on early, picking up P3 and P4 on the second and third stage. After all seven stages he was just .08 seconds off the podium finishing in 4th for the day and securing 8th overall for the 2023 EDR season.
“Unfortunately, I took a crash on stage four, and it took a bit of time to get going again, but overall, I am happy with the result. My goal for the season was 6th or better, but I’m hoping for next year. Also, this is a really good first season with Yeti and I have learned a lot of new things, so for that side of things it was really good, and I am happy with that."Sławomir Łukasik
Bex Baraona stayed consistent and clean finishing in the top 10 during the first half of the day, with a P6, P9, and a P8 in the first three stages. She continued that trajectory throughout the second half of the race and finished in P10 on the day, landing in5th overall for the season.
“When I think about the race today, there were glimmers of real good bits, but honestly the second half of this season has been a bit of a struggle. Winning in Derby was a double edge sword. I felt a lot of expectation from the team and myself, but I have learned a lot this season."Bex Baraona
Yeti / Shimano EP Racing Team finished strong, with Mick Hannah closing out the season with a podium finish in third place. Hannah finished all but one stage in the top-ten and took the win on the final stage of the day, finishing the season in 5th overall in the Enduro-E World Cup. Teammate, Ryan Gilchrist took 12th on the day and came in 7th overall in the 2023 season. The E-Team has picked up momentum from the 2022 season and we’re keen to see what 2024 holds for the “battery boys”.
Yeti / FOX Devo Team members, JT Fischer, Tom Locke, and Joe Millington showed promise in the U21 category. American, JT, continues to progress, managing top-ten finishes at every round, adding a P9 to his list in Châtel – a stellar showing for his first season with Yeti. Australian teammate, Locke achieved his best EDR result to date finishing the day in P14. An unfortunate mechanical took Joe Millington out of the race after the first stage.
Catch up on Rounds 3,4, and 5Mid-Season Dispatch: Enduro World Cup