With the beach battles put behind them, competitors in the 2016 Red Bull Sea to Sky headed to the hills for the second day of racing with the Forest Race. Matching his Forest Race victory from 2015, Wade Young delivered a masterclass in riding by topping the standings over Manuel Lettenbichler and Lars Enöckl.
“It’s been a good Forest Race for me,” told Young. “I was first rider home and first in the overall standings. “I wasn’t riding as smooth as I would have liked but I’m happy enough. I managed to pass both Mani and Andreas so my speed was good on the forest trails and that’s definitely going to help in tomorrow’s Mountain Race.”
As the winner of yesterday’s Beach Race, Manuel Lettenbichler had the honour of leading the field of riders out into the Turkish hills for the 40km-long time trial. Despite being his first time to open the track in Hard Enduro, Lettenbichler proved unfazed by the task. Riding well, it took Young – having started third – until Checkpoint Five to reel the young German in. But once out front Young kept charging and showed he’ll be a serious threat for top honours once the Mountain Race begins.
“There’s no real strategy for the main race,” said Young. “Get a good start, avoid the carnage early on and just keep climbing up that mountain. Hopefully I can get there first.”
Continuing to impress in this year’s Red Bull Sea to Sky, Lettenbichler ended his day as runner-up. “I thought Wade would have caught me earlier but I led until Checkpoint Five so I’m happy about that. I tried my best to stay in touch with him but he was flying today and riding really well. Finishing is the most important thing but I do feel like I can challenge for the podium in the Mountain Race. That’s the ultimate goal. A podium would be like a win.”
The battle for the third went down to the wire with Enöckl narrowly beating Andreas Lettenbichler by four seconds to claim a top-three result. “I found a strong pace early on and pushed hard the whole way around the course,” commented Enockl. “There’s a lot of guys who believe they can win or podium in the Mountain Race. I don’t think anyone is going to pace themselves. It’s going to be an all-out sprint.” With Andreas Lettenbichler fourth, Scott Bouverie made it two South Africans in the top five with fifth.
Kirsten Landman – Reaching for the summit
“Get to the finish. Keep your wheels turning” are the words every Hard Enduro rider lives by but most notably Kirsten Landman, the first-ever female finisher of the Red Bull Sea to Sky.
Back for more in 2016, Landman has her sights set on taming the Olympos Mountain again while making it inside the top 50 finishers… “It was special to become the first female competitor to finish the Mountain Race last year. I came with no expectations. I just wanted to enjoy the race and see why everyone says it’s the most enjoyable Hard Enduro. Finishing was a bonus.
“For me it’s all about the Mountain Race – the mountain is where it’s at. You’re climbing up the mountainside, through some pretty rock pools with the spectacular coastline to your back. It’s like an enduro paradise here. It’s in your face, it’s technical – it’s what Hard Enduro is all about.”
“If everything goes to plan I want to reach the finish line on the top of the Olympus Mountain. The route changed, they’re promising a tougher race, so it won’t be the same as 2015. I was 58th last year so if I can crack the Top 50 this year that will be a result to be proud of.”
Provisional Forest Race results
1. Wade Young (Sherco) 1h 30m 05s
2. Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM) 1h 32m 14s
3. Lars Enockl (KTM) 1h 32m 56s
4. Andreas Lettenbichler (KTM) 1h 33m 00s
5. Scott Bouverie (KTM) 1h 35m 32s
6. Blake Gutzeit (Yamaha) 1h 38m 27s
7. Kyle Redmond (Beta) 1h 41m 16s
8. Pol Tarres Roca (Beta) 1h 42m 21s
9. Dwayne Kleynhans (KTM) 1h 27m 36s
10. David Cyprian (KTM) 1h 28m 34s