There is might in most things given and there is a time and moment for everything living, even racing. The world in the desert mountain here in Ecuador started with the weather that was expected for the first ever 3 days of a World Qualifying Series race here in Ecuador but only came during race day. The desert weather dominated, it was scorching hot in the morning but not as hot as the riders waiting, wanting and craving to get a taste of the Membrillal race day.
Repechage had only one spot open to make it to the Open Bracket here in Membrillal. The consolation round of repechage did not continue as it was stopped due to a rider needing immediate medical assistance. If the heat wasn't enough of a wake me up the ambulance on the course sure made everyone be on their safety toes.
Our first ever protest in South America happened in the round of 32. A collision in the famous first left (this has got to have a name sooner) of the track resulted into a change in rider advancing to the next round. There is no room for rough riding on this fast double layered guard rail track. Safe riding is crucial for this world to live on!
As soon as it became the quarter finals (round of 16), the wind in the bottom section was making its presence known. A few upsets were made, most notable was the King of the Hill of the last local race here in Membrillal - Esneider “Disyembre” Osorno (CO).
Semi Final A
(Engel, Clarke, Bertinati, Carrasco)
After the La Leonera Semi Finals this was probably a hot topic. It was back to Clarke vs Engel with 2 South Americans, Yan Bertinati (BR) and Guillermo Carrasco (CL). It was nothing like the build up Clarke led all the way and Engel followed. Bertinati safely trailed and Carrasco rounded up the heat.
Result: 1. Clarke 2. Engel 3. Bertinati 4. Carrasco
Semi Final B
(Laporte, Zuluaga, Duran, Mathieson)
It was same same in the other Semi Final. Pepe Laporte led and Panelo Zuluaga trailed all the way down. Duran and Mathieson were on their 3rd heat together since qualifying yesterday, both of them were to meet again in the consolation finals for the 4th time in Membrillal.
Result: 1. Laporte 2. Zuluaga 3. Duran 4. Msthieson
(Engel, Clarke, Laporte, Zuluaga)
Like all day, Clarke was leading and gaining up front right of the push. They enter the first left in this order; Clarke - Engel - Laporte and Zuluaga. Clarke was busy building a big lead up front while Laporte in 3rd capitalizes on a regulate by Engel on the next right and completely goes full send on the inside. Laporte was now in 2nd but Clarke was way upfront and they were past the mid section. In the last set of right - left hairpins Clarke seemed to be taking a protective line, not knowing Laporte was far from his draft. The gap was shortened but still a significant a gap. The little right sweeper before the finish line Clarke was still infront and with a gap Laporte needed to work hard on inching closer. In the last 8 meters of the track Laporte made a move and the 21 year old from Brazil took his first ever IDF top spot.
If you want to see it on video:
Champion - Joao Pedro "Pepe" Laporte (BR)
2nd - Harry Clarke (AUS)
3rd - Daniel "Dangle" Engel (USA)
4th - Juan Sebastian "Panelo" Zuluaga (CO)
Champion - Jennifer Schaurte (GER)
2nd - Laura Vargas Echeverry (CO)
3rd - Jennifer Carabajo (EC)
Champion - Anderson Maldonado (CO)
2nd - Bryan Suares (EC)
3rd - Guillermo Correa (EC)
Champion - Douglas "Dalua" Silva (BR)
Champion - Roberto Leiva (PE)
2nd place - Guillermo Prado (CL)