How Was Your Weekend - EWS #1 with Eddie Masters
After a long eight months off, the Enduro World Series is back on! Fresh off a weekend of dodging tree's in the Tweed Valley, Scotland, we caught up with Eddie Masters to see how everything went for him at the opener and get an insight into an Enduro World Series weekend from a top contender.
Crankbrothers: Eddie, great job on yesterday’s 8th place finish! How do you feel about your start to the EWS season?
Eddie Masters: Cheers team; I’m stoked. It’s great to know the work we’ve put in has paid off, and we’re on the right track with bike and body. It felt like I hadn’t raced enduro in such a long time, so it's a good boost to know that I can be back up there at the pointy end of things.
CB: Did you do anything different this off-season to prepare for enduro?
EM: Yes and no, my off-season wasn’t exactly how I’d planned as a fair chunk was spent rehabbing my shoulder injury I’d picked up in Maribor last year. Not being able to shoulder press a 2kg dumbbell at the start meant I had my work cut out for me! Once I was back riding full time in the New Year, I spent a lot more time in the bike park trying to focus on skills rather than climbing meters. Far more enjoyable by all accounts haha.
"There’s no hanging around in enduro these days and you’ve really gotta get a move on if you want to get good stage results."
CB: You’re one of the few guys still racing at the top level of both Enduro and Downhill. Is it difficult to juggle both?
EM: I always say it's easy when things are going smoothly, but sometimes it's hard if things aren’t quite going your way. I love racing both disciplines, and I think juggling the two keeps things interesting, especially when we are on the road for 5 months. Staying busy makes the time fly by and keeps the homesickness at bay.
CB: There’s lots of hype about the Tweed Valley riding these days; what are the trails like there?
EM: They’re awesome. We’ve been stopping in here to ride for a long time now, it's that good! There’s a lot of variety, the climbing isn’t too steep, and I really enjoy the tight tech stuff that they have in the Golfie.
CB: Talk of the town in the pits seemed to be bar width with all the tight trees; how wide did you run your bars and why?
EM: I clipped my bars on the tree on our first ride and cut them down that night. Normally I run 770, but I went down to 750 for the Tweed Valley, but I’m thinking I might keep 'em at that width for the remainder of the season as I think it makes it a bit easier to duck and dive when things start getting a bit hairy.
CB: By race day, do you feel like you know where you’re going or is it still somewhat blind?
EM: I study my GoPro a lot, and by race day I have a pretty good idea of each stage. I don’t try and remember every corner as such, often I’ll make mental notes of pieces of track that are safe to really push, and anything that is tech or could catch me out.
CB: You finished 28th in the pro stage, and then progressed through the Sunday, is it difficult to really take a step up after the first stage?
EM: After the pro stage I knew I would have to push hard as I was a little further back in the results sheet than I would’ve liked. It was a nice little wake-up call and also a reminder that there’s no hanging around in enduro these days and you’ve really gotta get a move on if you want to get good stage results.
CB: For race day, you had some great stage times and were really consistent. How did the race day go? Did you have any big mistakes or issues?
EM: For me, it was pretty smooth sailing. Going in, I really wanted to have a clean day with no crashes, and apart from clipping a tree on S5, it was about as clean of a day as you get in EWS racing. All the stages were mint, the conditions were prime, and it was sick that so many people were trackside following the race around.
CB: What’s next for you? Will you be in for all the EWS races this season?
EM: Right now I’m taxiing on the runway about to head to Austria for the Leogang round of the World Cup this weekend. I’ll be racing all the enduros this season and will be at all European WC’s and World Champs. It's a busy year, but I count myself lucky to be able to do it, so a big thanks to everyone in my corner who makes it possible.
CB: Cheers for the time, and good luck in Leogang!