EWS.5 Burke, VT
The East Coast has landed on Enduro World Series roster for the first time. As close as it will get to a home race for Richie, round five brings us to Burke, Vermont, where Rudes by the handful have come to cheer on the fan favorite for his first race on home soil since reclaiming his USA sleeve.
After an unseasonably hot and dusty few weeks, fall-like weather made an early appearance in Vermont, bringing cooler temperatures and two days of rainfall, making the rooty New England tracks properly slick for the Pro Stage. The sun made its return on Sunday and created nearly perfect conditions for Stages 2-6.
The Pro Stage was the task at hand for Saturday, and the morning practice remained slick. Yeti National and Devo team riders Kate Lawrence, Quinn Reece, and Jack Brown each completed the stage feeling that they had more to give, fueling the fire for the race on Sunday.
Yeti / FOX Factory team rider Baraona came to Vermont looking to build off her stage win in Whistler. She charged off the gate strong, thriving in the wet conditions, similar to her home trails in Scotland. She crossed the line in P2, buzzing to continue her momentum tomorrow.
Rude made light work of the slick roots and chunky tech to secure P3 in the Pro Stage, just 1.78 seconds behind Jack Moir in P1.
Day two kicked off with the bulk of the race ahead of the team. Lawrence remained consistent, finishing in the mid-teens throughout the morning and carrying the momentum through the day to finish P13 overall. Brown gained momentum and climbed 18 spots from the prior day finishing within the top ten of U21 men with a P7. For his debut EWS appearance this year, Reece got his feet wet with a respectable P67 on the day and is stoked to see what he can do in Maine next week.
Baraona started the day off strong with a P2 finish on Stage Two. She continued battling for second after Harnden sealed a healthy lead of 17 seconds on Stage Two. After the midday break, she put up a P6 in Stage Five but pulled it back with a P4 on Stage Six, and that was good enough to earn herself P3 overall and her second podium finish of the season.
“I didn’t think I had enough, to be honest. I was really feeling fatigued. I was a little tense in places, and I didn’t know if it was fast enough. I didn’t feel like I was pushing it hard enough. Ella dropped a chain, so I owe her a chain because she has given me a podium. But it's just racing. Buzzing to be on the box.”Bex Baraona
Rude was in the fight for Stages 2-4 with incredibly tight margins, with Moir claiming each stage of the morning. As he rolls in after Stage four, Rude has gained a spot, sitting in second place, just over 5 seconds behind Jack.
Fired up and hunting for the win, Rude delivers the results and takes the Queen Stage and his namesake, Rude Awakening, by five seconds even. With one stage to go, Jack leads Richie by less than one second. It was all to play for.
Rude laid down a hell of a run, crossing the finish line with Melamed and Moir yet to put up their times. In true Rude form, Richie took the 5 seconds he gained in the Queen Stage and doubled it, and put an additional 5 seconds on Moir in the final stage. Rude takes the win with his family and friends to cheer him on, and the feeling couldn’t have been sweeter.
“That was hectic. Graves told me what the time gap was on the last one. I tried not to think about it and just hammer the lap. It was perfect except for the bottom bit, and I was super worried, but man, I can't believe it – all the family here, the girlfriend here and everything, it's so great.”Richie Rude
The title chase is heating up with just three rounds remaining and 190 points separating Rude and Melamed.
Up next: The Yeti / FOX Factory Team continues their East Coast tour and heads to Sugar Loaf, Maine. We’ll see you between the tape next week.
Catch up on Round 4EWS.4 O Canada