When you're riding at a World Series level, taking part in your local race generally won't do a lot to help your cause.
But the Pemberton Enduro is not an average local race.
With a handful of other Enduro World Series (EWS) riders in the pro men's field, Yoann Barelli held on and took the win in Pemberton on April 30.
Barelli won two stages and finished second in the two others to edge out Remi Gauvin by 10.81 seconds and Chris Kovarik by 28.11 seconds. Dylan Wolsky, another EWS regular, was also in the Pemberton field.
"We had a big competition and taking the win is always cool. I did four really good runs and at the end of the race, I was like 'Look, I did really good in the race and now we're going to see what the results are going to be,'" he said. "The riding in Pemby is pretty cool. It's fast. There's nothing really sketchy.
"All the stages were good for everyone."
After a strong winter of training, Barelli said he was raring to go when the season began. Admittedly somewhat of a slow starter, the Whistler-based Frenchman was encouraged to finish well into the top 10 in the season opener.
"I was very happy about my sixth-place in Chile," he said. "I arrived in Chile and I knew that I was stronger than last year. Starting the season like that was good because normally I get stronger during the season."
In his second EWS race of the year, meanwhile, Barelli suffered a couple of crashes late in the race to set him back. But since it's a long season, he took it in stride, knowing he has six more races to climb up from his overall spot of 11th on the EWS.
"I knew that I could have been better, so I wasn't too bummed about it," he said. "I focused on the next event, which was the Sea Otter (in Monterey, Calif.) two weeks ago."
There, Barelli placed fourth in the enduro against other EWS riders like Carlson and Jared Graves.
Buchar cruises to victory
Claire Buchar took one stage to get into domination mode in the pro women's event.
Taking a third-place to start off is not shabby in the slightest, but Buchar was first in the three subsequent stages, which helped her to a victory over Christina Chappetta by 29.92 seconds. Laura Battista was third, 55.70 seconds off the pace.
Buchar explained she also started to enjoy the stages more and more as the race progressed, noting the final two were more like the downhill riding on which she built her career and allowed her to lay off the brakes.
"I've just got to race my own race and do the best that I could," she said. "A lot can happen in four stages and I was lucky to have no mechanicals and no big crashes. I just held it together and kept it safe. It worked out for me in the end."
Since she's not exactly entrenched in the enduro scene, Buchar is still getting a complete sense of the other riders she's facing, though she's well aware they're quality competition.
"All the girls that race are really strong riders. I don't race them often so I had no idea how I would do, but I didn't really care. I was out there for the adventure and it was such a good vibe," she said.
Though Buchar isn't racing as intensely as she once did, she still selects a few tasty courses off the menu. She and her husband Kovarik attend B.C. Cup and B.C. Championship races with the junior team they coach. She has also signed up for the local EWS stop as well as other races at Crankworx, and for the Trans-Cascadia race in Oregon in late September.
"It's not my job to race anymore, but obviously I still love it. I get to pick and choose which events I want to do. I still have some stuff to work on and I do have some big races ahead of me," she said.
In Pemberton, Samantha Shook, Pippa Holdom and Kate Whitley took the top three places in the open women's category, while Nick McLeod, Curtis Bennett and Noel Bolso were the top three in the open men's event. As for the junior men, Felix Abraham, Tristan Sanders and Lucas Cruz made up the podium.
Full results are available at www.spruceracetiming.com.
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