Max Fejer and Gorana Težak win round four of SloEnduro series in Dražice, Croatia after some last stage drama. Final in Grožnjan in five weeks.
Spirits of two-wheeled racing came alive again last weekend at the other end of Grobnik Field from the motorsport race track which used to host the moto Grand Prix of Yugoslavia. This time for mountain bike enduro. Trnduro race, organized by Team Rodeo from Rijeka for the fifth time, drew a field of 80 riders from five countries. Not a huge crowd but the weather forecast was not that nice.
Saturday was sunny for training on the five special stages, one (Brlog) added from last year’s edition and named Kenda SuperStage. On Sunday, even with some rain overnight and then during the day the trails remained dry under the thick forest but it was grim and dark on the race track.
The story of the day was the battle between series leader Max Fejer (Team Dorrong) of Austria and the defending SloEnduro champion Vid Peršak (Orbea Enduro Team), also the battle for overall title. The new Austrian Champion won SS1 and SS3, Peršak was fastest in SS2, all by small margins, and after three out of five stages, Fejer was leading by 1.25. Peršak gave it all in SS4 and took the lead by 5.58. But then he snapped his chain on top of SS5.
With the total race time of 17:53,93 after some 40 km of riding and 1250m of climbing/descending Fejer won his second SloEnduro race with a 10.02 gap on Peršak in second place. Another Austrian Peter Mihalkovits (Radwelt MK Factory Racing) placed third 33.58 behind the winner.
Before Enduro Grozni in Grožnjan on October 13, the final race of the series, Fejer has a lead of 250 points over second placed Peršak, Mihalkovits is in third. It is 400 points for the win, 300 for second and 250 for third so only a really bad day can now rob Fejer of his first overall title.
In women’s race as well…
It was a similar unfolding in women’s race with Tina Perše (Calcit Bike Team), the Krvavec winner, leading from second stage, then being slowed down by a flat tire on final stage and leaving the victory to Croatian champion Gorana Težak (Adrenalina MTB Team). Austrian Yana Dobnig (Team Dorrong) who missed the race stays on top of the ranking before Grozni but with Perše only 100 points behind it will be an interesting final.
Fejer and Težak were also the fastest on the Kenda SuperStage.
Filip Vunjak (BK Opušeno) was fastest Master 1 rider in 5th overall. Local rider Alen Smolić (BBK Team Rodeo) won men’s junior category and finished 6th overall. Austrian Walter Ziedler was the fastest in Master 2 while Slovenian Martin Brus (Kamplc Racing Team) was the only Master 3 this time. There was also a lone e-MTB class rider on course this time, Iztok Slapnik (Golovec trails), while local youngster Sebastjan Kinkela (BBK Team Rodeo) won the three stage race of U15 category.
What the winners said
Max Fejer: »My weekend was really good. Training was awesome, I really enjoyed it, and today I just pushed hard, kept on pushing as Vid went faster than me, and in the end it came down to him braking the chain and me taking the win. I’m super stoked to go to the last round leading.«
Gorana Težak: »It was a tough day for me. I had a great first stage, then a terrible second, followed by an even worse third one… The fourth one went well, then Tina flatted on fifth and that was it. I didn’t race much this year, be it for work or lack of form or willpower. Now it’s time for Enduro Grozni on my almost home terrain!«
Enduro Grozni, the classic final
Once again, the season wraps up in Grožnjan, Istria peninsula, Croatia, with Enduro Grozni by BBK Grožnjan. The date is October 13. The old town, the pizzeria, the sweet trails above Mirna river valley are waiting. See you there!
But before Grozni, there are the last two SloEnduro 4Fun events on the calendar, both in Slovenia: Enduro Kočevje in MTB trail center Kočevje makes series debut on Saturday September 14. A week later, on Sunday September 22, last year’s hit event Golovec Trails Ljubljana returns to shake the capital. To 4Fun calendar
Photos by Ivan Duran