Oh beautiful Tassie! It’s good to see you again! Last time the Enduro World Series stopped in Derby, Tasmania, it was in 2017—the year of the Enduro Wet Series. But, this year was luckier.
Before the racing action got going, the team took part in the Official Unsanctioned EWS Whip Off, hosted by the local bike shop, Vertigo MTB and the media squids … We had quite a blast! Massive trains and airs on the finest jump line of Tasmania! Air Ya Garn! We ran a little comp on our social media to see who did it better between the manager, the rider and the mechanic. Manager’s Table Top won the most votes!
Weapon of choice for Keegan this week? Again, the trusty Troy 29 Carbon that led him to the silver medal the previous week at EWS Rotorua. Same set-up, same pressures, same tires … Why change a winning formula?!
The mecano Phil “Steak” Ricard is always carrying around his camera. Here’s a little vid from the inside.
Training took place on Friday, and Keegan enjoyed every inch of the Tasmanian trails. Fast and flowy, but also very rocky. Good thing the CushCore inserts were on.
The race was divided over two days. On Saturday, racers only had Stage 1, the Queen stage of the event. Owing to his best ever EWS result, Keegs was full of confidence and wanted a strong start on that day to really gauge his pace with the rest of the field. He placed 8th on that stage. Eleven seconds behind Martin Maes.
Stage 2 was a good challenge for the riders. The famous tight rock tunnels and sharp rock gardens, Keegan was committed on that stage and grabbed 2nd place. With four more stages to go, he was sitting in 5th.
“Derby offers some of the best trails of the year. Short and punchy, but the flow, the lines and the features make them so awesome to ride!”
– Keegan Wright
Stage 3 was another really good stage for our Kiwi. Keegan managed to finish this stage in 3rd place, two seconds behind Maes, who was seemingly unstoppable … winning every single stage since the beginning of the season!
Stage 4 was the flattest part of the race, requiring the most pedalling. Keegan was expecting it to be tough and planned to charge hard. And it cost him … He slipped his front wheels in a turn and lost some very precious time. He was 43rd on that stage and 8th in the race at that point.
After stage 4, the riders had a mandatory tech and feed zone in the pit. While eating his veggie sandwich, Keegan had a quick look at his GoPro POV’s from stage 5 and 6 before heading back to the top of the mountain. Doing so helps him revisit crucial lines and sections of the stages Keep in mind that they only have one practice run on each stage prior to the race! So, the mounted cameras become a very useful training tool for the riders.
The last two stages of the race were also very good for Keegan. He placed top 10 in both; securing 9th and 7th place. An impressive performance that helped him gain a few spots, ending this hard day’s work in 6th place. Another very good result under the belt of our 22-year-old New Zealander!
Reached by phone after the race, here’s what Damien, his fellow teammate had to say: “Wow! Good job to Keegan! After Rotorua, I knew that he would build up on his podium performance and do well in Derby. Last year, I was giving him the advice not to ride in the red zone, and only stay in the 80–90% range during race runs, but coming from his downhill and explosive background, it was tough for him. He tried it and it worked in Rotorua and I guess it payed off again this weekend!”– Damien Oton
“Awesome day out! Bit of rain yesterday which helps to make the trails faster. Everyone was super fast, solid racing! Unfortunate crash on stage 4, which cost me a bit of time, but to climb up a few places on the last stages and finish 6th got me really stoked!”– Keegan Wright
“Two big weeks of racing all wrapped up! Awesome times with the crew in New Zealand and Tasmania. Keegan has shown to everyone that he has the speed to battle for wins and Damien has already started the recovery process for his broken scaphoid. Overall, I’m very happy with everything we’ve achieved in the past few weeks and we are looking forward to Round 3 in Madeira!”– Bastien Major, Team Manager
Stage 1 0:06:30.71 8th
Stage 2 0:03:43.02 2nd
Stage 3 0:04:10.32 3rd
Stage 4 0:04:18.70 43rd
Stage 5 0:03:46.15 9th
Stage 6 00:02:24.08 7th
Final +0:30.78 6th
Overall Ranking 3rd