It was Thailand’s first foray into the world of the Enduro World Series, with Chiang Mai hosting the 3rd and final stage of the Asia-Pacific Continental Series of the EWS for the first time and participants were in for a treat as they experienced some of the finest trails in Asia.
Chiang Mai is the epicenter for mountain biking in South East Asia, with an extensive trail network located within Doi Suthep-Pui National Park, which overlooks the city. There is a wide variety of trails to be found, with steep, rooty and rocky, to fast and flowy with bermed corners and plenty of features.
The weather was perfect for the 4 day event, hosted by Trailhead Thailand – a leading mountain bike tour company, with clear blue skies and temperatures hovering around 25 degrees C. The trails were dry and dusty but in good shape thanks to the team of volunteers that has helped shape them for several months prior to the event. Over 200 people registered and participated in the event, from an incredible 37 nations. For many, the Amazing Thailand International Chiang Mai Enduro is the can’t miss event of the year and was their 2nd or 3rd time participating, for others it was their first time visiting the region and for all those involved it was a memorable event in terms of biking, meeting new friends and experiencing the local culture. A number of professional mountain bikers from around the world also joined, including Cody Kelley (winner of the 2018 International Chiang Mai Enduro), Wyn Masters and Matej Charvet among others.
The event comprised of 8 special stages and 8 liaison stages taking place over 2 days. Each day involved approximately 23km of mountain biking with 700-800m of gain each day. Doi Suthep-Pui National Park is renowned for it’s grueling climbs and participants were certainly tested during the event. The first 2 days gave participants a chance to practice each of the stages and familiarize themselves with the terrain and trail conditions. A shuttle service was provided by the organizers to take them to near the top of the mountain at 1500m for a morning session and afternoon session to ensure everyone had enough time to practice. Practice day 2 also included a qualifying session to determine the starting waves for race day.
All participants gathered at 7am on the 30th November to depart for race day 1. A mass start from liaison stage 1 ended in the hilltribe village of Chan Khian, with school children presenting every participant with a handmade wrist band as a good luck charm before performing a short dance showcasing village traditions. With the Special Stage starting near the village, a large boisterous crowd formed at the start to cheer everyone on with qualification winner, Matej Charvet starting proceedings on day 1 but it was 2018 winner Cody Kelley who came out on top at the end of the day. In the women’s elite category, Ingrid Larouche was out in front on day 1 and led Chelsea Kimball by just under 5 seconds after the 4 Special Stages.
Day 2 was another tough battle between the men and women elite riders with perhaps the 2 most technical stages 5 and 6 to get through. As the trails became dry, dusty and loose riders had to stay focused not to make a mistake and by the end of day 2 it was Matej Charvet, 3rd from day 1 that won, with Cody Kelley in 2nd and Wyn Masters in 3rd. Despite this, the win wasn’t enough to seal overall victory which went to Cody Kelly for the 2nd year in a row with just 13 seconds separating him from Wyn Masters in 2nd place and Matej Charvet taking 3rd.
The top riders in the elite women’s category remained consistent throughout the race and on day 2 Ingrid Larouche again took the victory by the smallest of margins over Chelsea Kimball and after 2 days of racing won by just 10 seconds with CJ Selig taking 3rd position.
With the Asia Pacific Continental Series wrapped up in Chiang Mai, the winners of the 3 race series were announced. Cody Kelley was the overall men’s winner, Rowena Fry, the women’s winner, the men’s under 21 title went to Roland Kyme, women’s under 21 to Isabella Flint, Men Master 40+ went to Lionel Sequera and the women master 35+ went to Ingrid Larouche.
Despite the tough racing, there was an amazing atmosphere throughout the event and camaraderie between riders and spectators. The event was supported by a large number of volunteers and support staff, all of whom are passionate about developing mountain biking in Chiang Mai which was reflected in the atmosphere.
Race director, H.S.H Nawaphansa Yugala stated after the event “It has been a privilege to welcome 200 participants from 37 countries throughout the world to Chiang Mai and the Amazing Thailand International Chiang Mai Enduro”. “We hope the event leaves a lasting impression and has given the opportunity for people to meet new friends, experience Thai culture and ride our fantastic trails.”
Final Chiang Mai Results
|4th||Dan Sheng Shan Chiang||17:09.82||(4)||14:38.65||(4)||31:48.47|
|5th||Riska Amelia Agustina||23:26.76||(6)||20:36.27||(5)||44:03.03|
|1st||Ananda Bagus Efendy Dwi Putra||18:53.17||(1)||16:42.70||(1)||35:35.87|
|3rd||Wee Chong Yaw||19:30.41||(3)||17:10.77||(3)||36:41.18|
Final Overall Results for Asia-Pacific Continental Series
MEN: Cody Kelly
WOMEN: Rowena Fry
MEN Under 21: Roland Kyme
WOMEN Under 21: Isabella Flint
MEN Master 40+: Lionel Sequera
WOMEN Master 35+: Ingrid Larouche