Photos: Sven Martin
For Leah and her brother Jonathan Maunsell, the team aspect is very important, as a brother and sister race team they have a unique relationship which they work to their advantage. For this round of the EWS, Jonathan would act as Leah’s manager and effectively her only source of support at the race. As a privateer racer with minimal mechanical support at the races or any pit area to base yourself from, competing at such a high level isn’t that easy.
As some people may have already seen, the Enduro World Series to date this year has been nicknamed the “Extreme Wet Series” and Millau would certainly be no different. With two days of practice and two days of racing covering 88km and 9 stages, it was never going to be a piece of cake. Coming from Ireland the thought of another wet race didn’t phase Leah so much, instead, she thought she could use it to her advantage. So after two lift assisted practice days she was ready to battle the steep, slick, muddy and rocky stages and of course the challenging, very long transitions.
Day One – Five Stages
The stages had quite a lot of traffic on them between my practice run and race run so the track conditions had deteriorated a lot from both the number of riders on them and also the torrential downpours during the day which made for some exciting moments. I started my day getting a bit too rowdy on stage one which led to me crashing and losing time. Learning from my mistakes I pulled it back a tiny bit to take the stage win on stage two. I tried to ride fast and clean to keep it (mostly) upright for the rest of the day, and I was happy to finish day one in second position with the win still in sight. I was feeling quite well considering how physically and mentally draining the six hour day in the saddle was.
Day One – Four Stages
I started day two knowing that consistency would be key to a good result here so it was great to get the day off to a good start by bagging the same stage time as the leader on the first stage of the day. I knew it was going to be hard to gain time on the stages today but I still rode as fast and smooth as I could. There were some very long energy sapping transitions also, one being as long as 12km. As the day went on I began to feel the climbs in my legs a bit more but I pushed on. It was so muddy that I had to detour into the pits between stage eight and nine to clean my bike. It was a long tough weekend but I was so glad that I pushed through and held onto second place. I was also so happy that my Kona Process 153DL was 100% mechanically sound all weekend! Big thanks to my brother Jonathan for his help all weekend with everything, I couldn’t have done it without his support! Teamwork making the dream work 🙂
This weekend has been another huge learning experience for me and I’ll be back for more at Finale Ligure.