The first race and goal of the season for the Tribe Sport Group Team was really expected after the start of the first regional enduro races in February. The big fight between the top enduro riders finally took place this week-end in Samoëns and our 5 riders were obviously there. The 6th rider, Alex Balaud doesn’t have the same program this year as on the Enduro Series, he’s part of the organization and track building team.
Morgane Jonnier, winner of the female 2011 ES French Cup, was not far from missing the first round because of a badly broken ankle that kept her out of training for 3 months. She was back on her bike only a week before the Samoëns race. So the goal for her this week-end was simply to ride, not so easy for her to see all her friends and fellow riders beating her. But she did well enough finishing 8th, let’s wait for the rest of the season to see her true potential.
Fouad Gourirane was using his brand new Yeti SB-95 for the first time and took the start in Samoëns with a 29er as he’ll be doing for the rest of the season. Saturday, as a good southern French man used to dry conditions, he suffered from the wet conditions that he was discovering for the first time on his new ride. Sunday was a lot better as he placed his 29er closed to a Top 30 finish and to be noted, first 29er. He said he was blown away by his Yeti and he’s looking forward to discover its full potential and to push its limits.
The 3 other members of the Team have high expectations to do well this season, but for the first round, they had very different results. Starting with the worst scenario, the one experienced by Alex Cure, ranked 15th Elite and 2nd Junior in 2011. First stage, a mechanical problem jammed his drivetrain on the entire track and disaster on the 2nd stage as he hit violently a pole and fell over. Result: he had to give up, he’s out for 3 weeks with a seriously pulled shoulder muscle. Maurian Marnay, ranked 14th Elite and 1st Junior in 2011 started too strongly as he fell over 7 times in the first stage. He would hopefully then get his act together again to finish 15th over the week-end. A good enough place but he hopes for more and targets the Top 10 this season, starting with the next round in Val d’Allos next week-end? In any case, he feels very confident on his Rocky Mountain Slayer 70 that didn’t have any mechanical trouble this week-end and is still a fantastic all-round machine.
This week-end big satisfaction for the Team has finally come from Olivier “Giordy” Giordanengo, our national enduro veteran and ranked 9th in 2011. After a good start of the season and few wins in the 1001 sentiers championship, he was expecting a lot from this first national round. Delighted by the potential of his Yeti SB66 carbon, he took the 2nd spot on Saturday and would be the only rider to beat fairly Nico Vouilloz. Even more surprising as he was complaining about a bad chest infection. This would probably cost him 3 or 4 places on Sunday on more physical tracks where he finished 6th. Overall, he took the 5th place and therefore a podium spot at the Samoëns Enduro Series.
The Samoëns round was well received by all the riders thanks to the quality of the tracking, probably one of the best Enduro Series ever ridden.
This start of the season is definitely very exciting for the Team riders and their mechanics (Nico, Guillaume, Lilian), motivated like always. Next race is this week-end in Val d’Allos for the 10th Tribe 10000, 2nd round of the Enduro Series French Enduro Cup 2012, a really nice race with a specific flavor this year!