Photos: Seb Schieck

The penultimate round of this year’s Enduro World Series (EWS) visited the snow-dusted mountains of Crans-Montana in Switzerland. With it all still very much to play for in the battle for the Under 21 overall series title, INTENSE Factory Racing’s (IFR) Seth Sherlock was ready to do battle. After a string of great results Seth was sitting pretty in first place in the overall title chase… but nothing is that simple when it comes to racing bikes down mountains! Seth takes up the story:

“Crans-Montana was a tough race for me. The Pro Stage on Saturday was a rough start to the event. It had snowed the night before, which was very cool, but it made conditions quite unpredictable. My run was going decently until the very bottom.

There was a high speed right into a slow left, and I completely forgot the left was there, haha. I came in flat-out and by the time I saw the tape in front of me, it was too late. I braked hard, lost the front, and ended up on my face outside of the tape. I got up pretty quickly, but that, combined with being a bit off-pace at the top, put me 20 seconds back after the first stage.

Coming into the main race day (Sunday) the plan was to push hard, and I was hoping for a top 5 or maybe a podium if I was lucky. Unfortunately, a crash at the top of the first stage of the day put an end to those hopes. I guess I underestimated how slippery the grassy open section at the top of the stage would be. It was freezing cold and I think there was still a bit of ice in places.

I lost the front on what would have normally been a pretty mellow flat corner and broke my dropper post cable, so my seat was stuck in the up position! I got back on the bike but had to stop again to pull on the cable and get my seat back down, and by this point, Luke (Meier-Smith, series leader), who dropped-in 30 seconds after me, was pretty much right there. I figured I was pretty much out of the running by this point so I let him pass and followed him the rest of the way down, ending up 32 seconds back.

At this point, I was 50+ seconds back after two stages and in 25th place, so my hopes for the day were low. I figured I'd focus on just having fun and on stage results, and maybe end up top 10 if I was lucky.

Stage 3 wasn't great, I was 4 seconds off the pace on a very short track, but I climbed back a few positions. Stage 4 was some of my best riding of the day. It basically started with a 4-minute pedally section then went into a downhill track. I was 10 seconds off the pace on the pedally split but rode the second half really well and actually won the bottom split by 3 seconds, which levelled out to 5th on the stage and 3 seconds back, bringing me up to 13th.

I figured I had a shot at the top 10 now if I had a good stage 5, which was a repeat of the Pro Stage and then the final stage of the day. I rode it quite well, winning the bottom split and ending up 2nd on the stage, bringing me up to 8th overall! It was a great way to finish a tough day.

In the end I had a ton of fun and was happy with my riding on the last couple of stages. I was also stoked about the recovery back to the top 10 after losing so much time early in the race. It obviously wasn't the result I was looking for, but still ending up in the top 10 on my worst days feels good.

This race also secured me second place overall for the series, which feels amazing (Note: In the EWS U21 category the top 5 results count towards the overall series title). It has been an amazing EWS season for me and second overall is better than I ever expected... so stoked about that. Only one EWS to go, Loudenvielle in France this weekend (Sept. 24-25), so let's try and end the season on a high note.”

Seth races on our 170mm Tracer Enduro bike. Check it out.