Initial Membership Drive Surpasses Enduro World Series’ Organizers Expectations
The Enduro World Series was created at the end of 2012, with the goal of uniting the world's top Enduro racers in one federated global series. Whilst the series is made up of existing well-established events, and although Enduro is a wildly popular format, it was still a bit of a leap of faith for the organizers - you can never really know how something like this will eventually pan out, all best intentions and expectations aside. We were therefore very pleased to hear that the initial reception and uptake have surpassed expectations. So pleased that we decided to ask EWS front man, Chris Ball, a few questions to find out more.
Note: For those wishing to join the movement, EMBA (Enduro Mountain Bike Association) membership is available at www.enduroworldseries.com - you don't have to participate in any races to be a member (we here at Vital certainly think it's a worthy cause for any mountain biker to support!).
Within 48 hours of opening, the newly formed Enduro Mountain Biking Association (EMBA) had signed on its first 125 individual members - a wave of support that continued to grow over the first 30 days of registration to 19 teams (list below), 10 official supporters and over 220 members. The rider list represents the best of slopestyle, 4X, downhill and XC’s global athletes, as well as the founding legends of Enduro racing. All Phase 1 race spots for the inaugural seven event global series sold out within a week of opening registration. The complete and ever-growing EWS team/rider list is available below and you can find out more details on enduroworldseries.com.
Vital: What does “Phase 1” refer to? (and is there also a Phase 2 already defined, then?).
Chris Ball: The term "Phase 1" basically gives the main opening of entries a name. As we didn't know exactly what we were dealing with, we held back a few extra spots for teams that were yet to confirm and riders who hadn't told us what they were doing. Now that we are getting a handle on exactly who is where, we can release the remaining spots. However, we have long waiting lists after phase 1 and loads of riders asking to be wildcards (people who want to race the whole series or are coming from far corners of the globe or that feel they deserve a place awarded to them) so it's unlikely we'll open the next phase to the wider public as most spare spots may be claimed from those on these lists. We've just had too many requests! It's a year one problem but a great problem to have.
When the Enduro World Series was first announced on November 22 2012, the organizing body EMBA was committed to featuring the biggest Enduro races in the best locations on the best trails in the world, not through exclusive partnership agreements or sponsorship opportunities to finance the series, but instead, through individual, team and company membership packages.
Vital: As a federating body, what is your involvement on the financial side of the series? How are the resources collected from the members and sponsors put to use? Is there some kind of overall prize purse planned, or are all the prize purses provided by each race organizer individually?
CB: Prizes per round are awarded by each organizer. Currently, all income for us is going on design, development, legal, expenses, accountancy and the usual overheads that need to be covered during start up. We did not know what we would be dealing with, how many people would be interested or what company support would be like so we've had to take it step by step. We do hope, if we can get income high enough, to award reasonable prize money at the end of the season, but we are not yet in a financial position to state amounts.
While Ball is pleased by the incredibly strong uptake of event registration, he’s even more satisfied with the response to EMBA’s invitation to become a member. “We put ourselves in the hands of the industry by choosing this model. We knew that industry-wide support would be critical for EMBA and would give everyone a chance to be involved in the development of the discipline and to show their support for the sport. We believe that this is how to build the sport - from the ground up, through our members. So the extent of the buy-in is hugely gratifying and a sign that we are on the right track with our model and approach. The faith of all our new team and individual members inspires our entire board to run a series that is worthy of that community support.”
Vital: That Enduro is popular is obvious beyond any doubt, as exemplified by all the “Enduro” edits all over the web lately (even though many of them seem to basically feature riding DH on a slightly shorter travel bike…) – what do you believe is the key to this success now? Is it bigger than even you expected?
CB: We did wonder what interest would be like and I had hoped that we would sell out but we did not expect the level of interest and support we have received. It's been a little overwhelming to be honest. I personally had thought it would take a few years to grow and develop to a reasonable size, not a few months! Now I think the important jobs for us are to make sure the foundations are built properly and any mistakes that are made in year one (and let's be honest, there will be mistakes) are learned from quickly and that we grow slowly, sustainably and as a community. We aren't rich, we don't have any events under our belts yet but we are off to a great start. 2013 is going to be one very interesting year.
Chris worked with the UCI as technical delegate for the gravity events for five years before leaving to help create the Enduro World Series. You can learn more about his journey into creating the EWS in Vital's exclusive October 2012 interview here.
2013 Enduro World Series Confirmed Industry Supporters
It's rad to see so many companies already stepping up to support the series!
2013 Enduro World Series Phase 1 Confirmed Teams and Riders
The following 19 teams have confirmed their participation in the 2013 Enduro World Series, representing a broad cross-section of global cycling industry brands and a comprehensive list of the world’s top riders. “We wanted to ensure that the core Enduro athletes who have built the sport were there at the starting gate, so for this inaugural season we painstakingly looked at Enduro results from around the world and tried to get as good a cross section of committed international racers as possible. We worked diligently to ensure there was as good as balance as possible between the pros who have built the sport up so far, top riders from other disciplines and the community of riders who are critical to keeping the momentum moving forward for Enduro mountain bike racing. The essence of Enduro, after all, is the chance for the public to race amongst the pros.”
GT Factory Racing
Scott Enduro Team
FRM Factory Racing
Trek Factory Racing
Justin Leov - Trek World Racing
Indian Summer/ Norco
Cube Action Team
Anne Caroline Chausson
Santa Cruz Syndicate
About the Enduro World Series
The Enduro World Series was created in October 2012 with the aim of uniting the world's mountain bike enduro racing community. The Enduro World Series links the largest mountain bike enduro events in the world with the best trails possible and exists to deliver the best racing, most relaxed atmosphere and rider-focused organization possible. The team behind the Enduro World Series has one goal - to globally develop and progress the discipline of enduro for the riders, the sport and the industry. With the shared experience of Italian Super Enduro, French Enduro Series, Crankworx and World Cup racing, the Enduro World Series will offer international competitions unlike any before it.
The Enduro Mountain Bike Association’s (EMBA) Board of Directors is supported by an industry Advisory Board, to reflect and respond to the riding community, that includes Santa Cruz Bicycles’ Rob Roskopp, SRAM’s Jeremiah Boobar, Fox Shox’ Mark Fitzsimmons and riders Tracy Moseley, Jerome Clementz and Curtis Keene.