After the opening race of 2021 series and Slovenian National Championships in Ajdovščina with the winner Peršak and delegate Štrancar. What do you think?

Mainly with the goal of equalizing the chances for the locals, the ones from close by who can come and “do a couple of rides” and the ones who don’t have the chance, SloEnduro and local organizers planned all the 2021 big league races as single day event. We publish the course Friday night, it’s signed and taped from Saturday morning, but only for track walk, no training on bikes. On Sunday all the participants do a recognition (or training) lap, followed by another lap with timed runs on all the special stages.

Of course the reactions at the first event weren’t all good, but we’d say it was much better at the end than at Saturday’s track walk.

Vid Peršak, winner

Vid also commented on the format during his regular after race short interview.

How did it go today and how do you like the new single day format?

Vid: Today went good for me, no major problems. I’m pretty happy with my riding. Except the second stage maybe, I caught some tape in my brake rotor so I couldn’t use my rear brake for the last quarter of the run, but the rest was fine.

I find the single day format pretty good. It’s all in one day, you don’t need to complicate much. You get your bike ready and you ride everything in one day. I think it’s fair for everyone, nobody has an advantage, so I think it’s a good format.

Was it a hard enough race to make it a good training for you races at the highest level?

Each race is the best training, definitely. So it was a good training before the big races. We’re stepping it up with my preparation now so we hope I can be in the best shape sometime by June.

This weekend Peršak will race a round of the Triveneto Enduro MTB series in Aviano, Italy. His first bigger international race follows June 11-13 in Vallnord, Andorra, a Maxiavalanche event. Then EWS starts in Val di Fassa Trentino on June 23 and another race will be held at the same venue on 25/26.

Primož Štrancar, SloEnduro delegate and legend

Primož Štrancar, a former XCO Olympian and EWS Masters champ, was involved in development of the new format from the idea on. This is what he posted on his facebook page:

The organizer did a great job on the tracks, as promised they were taped outside of the existing lines and included some completely new sections. This made the conditions equal for all riders.

There were some sparks flying during the track walk even if it was wet :) … At the end it was all settled.

The track walk is an element of mountain bike racing that riders need to master. It’s not the same as riding the track, a situation may seem more difficult. It’s a learning and developing thing. Choice of lines, not visible from the bike… Lots of things…

The race was held in very tough conditions. We reacted quickly and shortened two special stages when we realized the conditions will only be getting harder. I think these are the conditions when rear racer are born, fighting to get to the finish line no matter what… It’s a proof of character, no surrender.

The race was safe, we had some crashes (sliding out not counted, it was on all the time) and two minor injuries. The speed was kept down by the turns added (I’m sorry to say that the mud had the same role anyway).

In the end the response was fantastic. I got some calls today, very positive ones. THANK YOU

I’d like to thank to everyone for respecting the rule on not riding the track on Friday and Saturday.

This is the right spirit, this is fairplay. It’s a joy to race in such an atmosphere!

(end of quote)

Let’s wrap this up the same way Primož did in his post: Comments are welcome! We wouldn’t want to just be quoting the ones who like it. SloEnduro is strongly behind this format but if it’s not welcomed, we are not going to force it. As it’s only right in mountain biking, it’s a “riders for riders” series.

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Tim Jež in cover photo by Klavdij Blažko