EWS Rotorua Wrapup

Caleb Smith | KONA COG Miranda Miller

Enduro World Series #1 has come and gone and Rotorua did not disappoint! Kona gravity team members Connor Fearon, Miranda Miller, Rhys Verner, and Shelly Flood were able to cut their teeth on the 2019 circuit as a new team on the steep, dusty tracks that have become famous on the north island.

Caleb Smith | KONA COG Connor Fearon

After a busy week at Crankworx racing the downhill event and competing in Whip Offs, Connor Fearon had to race three of the five stages totally blind due to conflicting practice times with other events. While EWS isn’t new to Fearon, his focus has always been primarily on downhill racing. “This enduro business is not easy,” he said. “I raced 3/5 tracks blind so had a few surprises in my race. I finished 35th yesterday. I’m looking for more practice and a better result this week in Derby.”

Caleb Smith | KONA COG Rhys Verner

Sliding just ahead of Fearon in the standings was young Rhys Verner, out of Squamish BC. Verner has been plagued by injuries the past two seasons so his main goal was to complete the race clean and have a good time on course. “I’ve got to say I was a bit nervous to start another year of EWS racing. After last years disastrous start it felt great to put down a pretty well problem free day,” Verner said. “I eased Into the day a bit and felt I really hit my stride for stages 3 and 4 where I finished 28th and 27th on the stages respectively… The whole week with the team was just amazing! Everyone gets along super well and it just was next level to have everything as dialed as it was! Can’t wait for Tasmania and another week with the team!”

Caleb Smith | KONA COG Miranda Miller

On the women’s side, new team member and enduro-hopeful Miranda Miller had a wild day, but still managed to squeak inside the top 10. Miller is shifting her focus to EWS this season after a long career of racing downhill. “With a little time to reflect on my race weekend I can be happy with my day. I crashed on 4/5 stages, but unlike last year, it didn’t feel like the world was ending,” she said. “While 10th isn’t a position I want to stay in, EWS is no joke, and I respect that. I was pumped on all the stages and terrain we got to race, and Crankworx Rotorua put on a killer race for us! I have much to build and learn and I’m already looking forward to Tasmania.”

Caleb Smith | KONA COG Connor Fearon

Rounding out the Kona riders for the weekend were Shelly Flood and Alexander Kangas. Flood was recovering from bronchitis, took a nasty spill and wrapped up the weekend in 24th place aboard her Process 153—a real head turner of a bike throughout the weekend. Kangas finished the weekend in 79th place.

Caleb Smith | KONA COG Shelly Flood

Next up the crew heads to Tasmania for the Derby stop of the EWS which takes place on Saturday and Sunday. It’s sure to be a rowdy week for the squad. Stay tuned for the action throughout the week!

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG Alexander Kangas