We take a look at the result sheets from last year and see who we think will take to the Enduro World Series podiums for the first time in 2019.
Bagging a podium at the Enduro World Series is arguably a much harder task than it is in downhill. Yes there’s more time to sort a mistake, but also a whole lot more time for a flat out run to go horribly wrong. Plus there’s often three days of riding to content with on top of the fact that that’s only 3 podium places instead of 5.
In any case, here’s our pick of who we think you’ll see on a Enduro World Series podium for the first time in 2019.
A man quietly going about his business, 2019 should be a good year for Leigh Johnson. Setup wise, not a lot will change for the year other than being under the tutelage of Flying Finn Matti Lehikoinen.
Two top 20s in France and Italy show promise, and if the man from the Valleys can find consistency to go with his speed, then he’s a real shout for a podium.
18th overall at the end of 2018 despite finishing 86th in La Thuile shows just how fast the man from Innerleithen was charging last year.
A top 10 in France, then multiple top 20s shows he’s got the speed. Just like the man above, if Lewis can find a little more consistency, the podium beckons.
If Sam Blenkinsop decides to show up in Rotorua for the opening round of the Enduro World Series then he could upset a few of the die hard enduroists.
15th at his only EWS in 2018, 7th at the 2017 Crankworx Whistler round, and never outside the top 20 at any of the others, Blenki certainly has the chops to cut it.
Whether or not we’ll see the Rat at an Enduro World Series in 2019 is yet to be seen, but if he can slide into 8th at the 2017 Crankworx Rorotua EWS, then anything is possible.
One of the best bike handlers on the planet, if Josh decides he wants on an EWS podium, you know fine well he’s got a very good shout at getting there.
Another year with Ibis Cycles Factory Race Team will only serve to see Bex’s rise to the sharp end of the Elite womens’ field continue, of that we can be sure. Taking the British National title certainly will have done her confidence no end of good.
2018 saw her stake her claim as one of the rising stars of enduro and the results certainly backed that up. Fourth in the antigrip of the Andes, four other top 10s, then only three outside the top 10, her worst result being 16th.
Your 2017 Downhill World Champion turns to enduro for 2019 with Kona and we’re expecting big things from the veteran Canadian.
Comfortably shacked up with Canadian enduro pinner Remi Gauvin will only help improve on her previous results at EWS level. Never outside the top 15 at an EWS and fourth at her home event in 2016, she will be one to watch at Crakworx Whistler.
The Dark Horse. Eddie Masters must have upset a few folk bagging third spot in La Thuile and Whistler, with two other top 10s last year.
Yet another Kiwi who can turn their hand to pretty much anything, don’t think for a minute you won’t see Eddie qualifying in the top three, then up at the split at a World Cup final before falling on his head one week, then on and EWS podium the next.
Watch out for Matt Walker at the opening round of this year’s Enduro World Series on his home turf in Rotorua. Last time the EWS stopped there in 2017 he finished four seconds behind winner Wyn Masters.
He seems perfectly comfortable landing squarely in the EWS top 30, which is no mean feat in itself. If he has a flyer he’s a shoe-in for a podium spot.
The Top Chief might well be one to keep an eye on in 2019. One of the only riders to start every EWS round since its inception, Joe has been a top 20 regular of late with consistent forays into the top 10 in years past.
His podium at the Tweedlove EWS may seem like a while ago now, but never count Joe Barnes out. He got a third place on one of the horrendously greasy stages in Millau in 2017, and thrived in the muck of Manizales last year. Expect big things from the Top Chief this year.