Nothing about yesterday’s opening EWS round in Rotorua could have been predicted. The top riders on the EWS circuit and the entire women’s pro field got caught out in an hour-long rain shower that turned the already challenging trails to complete goop. Lines ridden in practice all but disappeared, replaced with axle deep ruts. Controlling the bike in many cases became a lottery, and the biggest names in enduro were crossing the line in positions they were not at all accustomed to, sometimes in the triple digits.
Connor and Tegan, like most non-locals, were not immune to the conditions. Aiming for a top 30 finish Connor laid down a storming first run on the opening stage finishing in 3rd, as the day went on his results reflected not only the drying trails but also the level of fun he was having, posting solid results on stage three with a 7th and a 16th on stage five to finish the day in 20th place, well within his top 30 goal. The day wasn’t without controversy for Connor though, a timing chip error had him finishing a full two minutes off the pace in 143rd place, when alerted, the EWS event organisers were quick to fix the issue and reveal Connor’s true opening stage result!
“I really had no idea how hard this enduro was going to be. It was 8.5 hours of the hardest riding I’ve ever done. I had a few really good stages with two top 10’s and a few shocking stages. The highlight of my day was riding stage 1, which was a super gnarly track and I finished 3rd. At the end of the day this had me in finishing in 20th overall which I’m pretty happy with. It goes without saying though, that the top 30 who raced some time after me were at a huge disadvantage, as the weather and tracks were worse.” – Connor Fearon
Tegan who was having a similar day, had it all end, when she missed here stage six start by 30 seconds. With the top 30 pro men bearing down behind her, officials refused to let her take her run, rendering Tegans day as a DNF. Tegan will be heading to round two of the EWS in Tasmania in two weeks time and no doubt will be looking for redemption!
In the meantime (well after cleaning the bikes) Connor will be heading home to Aussie to continue pre-season testing before the DH world cup kicks off in Lourdes at the end of April.