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Third-year enduro racer — and CES ambassador — Matt Guntert took his very first Pro Men first place win at the Mammoth Bar Enduro.

The Mammoth Bar Enduro — Round 2 of the 2018 California Enduro Series — delivered a massively fun day of racing with the inclusion of the premier black and double black diamond trails at Mammoth Bar OHV park. The June 16th race also featured favorite tracks from last year's course at the adjacent Auburn State Recreation Area. The course showcased the variety of terrain that the Auburn area has to offer, with timed stages running the gamut from loose and flowy to rocky and technical to lung-burning pedally. Racers needed solid strategies for competing in high temps as they crushed challenging rock gardens, sprinted out of loose corners and took on long arduous transfer climbs under a full sun. Race organizers The Hub and Total Body Fitness feted the 500 competitors with complimentary post-race BBQ lunch, local craft beer and massages, and a number of riders beat the Gold Country heat with a post-ride dip in the river.

Essence Barton defended her champion title, maintaining her spot at the top of the leaderboard.

Erik Szayna in fine form on Stage 4, defending — and winning — his first place spot on the top step of the Pro Junior Men's podium.

Expert Boys first place winner Jake Snow on the tight Confluence Trail above the American River.

Event co-organizer Heath Sherrat of The Hub took first place Master Pro Men 40+.

Scotts Valley Cycle Sport riders at the start gate, ready to rip.

Sport Boys 12-15 racer JT Fisher is passionate about racing enduro ...

... as is his brother Brandon, competing in the same category! California Enduro Series is a great way for families to spend time together, racing and exploring exciting areas throughout California and beyond.

Transfer climbs were long and arduous on a hot not-quite-summer day.

MTB Experience's Community Outreach Manager, Kim Rafter, put together a team to race CES this year. 25 joined right away ... and the team wound up with six Mammoth Bar podium finishes from Beginner to Pro.

Oh shoot, here, let me get out of your way!

Riders enjoyed a hearty BBQ lunch post-race.

Event organizers Total Body Fitness and The Hub also arranged for complimentary post-race massages from students at the National Holistic Institute.

Leatt generously donated a helmet to be given as a prize for the event.

Park Tool came on board to sponsor the series this year, providing two fully equipped tool stations and a truing stand so racers can take care of any needed repairs/adjustments.

FOX is a long-time sponsor of CES and this year has donated Transfer seatposts to be given out as Instagram contest prizes for each race.

Another new sponsor of the series, Dynaplug is offering free tire repair at this season's events to help keep racers in the game. Custom CES repair kits are available for purchase — a great way to support the series.

Pro riders Matt Guntert and James Eves are familiar faces at the CES races, spreading the enduro stoke.

Pro Men Stage Summaries and Podium

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Pros kicked off their day on ASRA’s Confluence trail running high above the American River. This stage was all about smooth line choices, pumping, and sprinting. Rocks galore threatened to take out tires and end races quickly.

Evan Geankoplis — who took first place in the series opening race at Toro — made a promising start in the season’s second race by taking the Stage 1 win with a time of 04:25.0. Tim Krentz came in second two seconds ahead of Ryan Gorman at 04:26.7 and 04:28.7 respectively. In fourth on the stage, Matt Guntert came in at 04:30.4 and Ryan Gardner capped off the top five with 04:34.8.

This stage was a series of tracks at ASRA (Bridgeview/Mossy Rock/Flood/Stagecoach) and started off slick with off-camber high-speed grass turns that required demanding sprints out of them. The run then segued into rocky single track, finishing off with a difficult creek crossing, a loose elevator shaft and a fast ‘n furious fire road descent to the stage finish.

Guntert pulled out all the stops on this stage, taking first with a time of 04:40.1. Gorman was two seconds behind Guntert with 04:42.1, while Gardner took third with 04:45.2 and Geankoplis fourth with 04:46.1. Todd Renwick crushed his way into the top five on this stage with 04:52.0. The end of this stage found Guntert in the lead, followed by Ryan Gorman just 0.3 seconds behind him. Geankoplis was in third a mere 0.3 second behind Gorman, and Gardner and Krentz were in fourth and fifth respectively. Times were tight at the top.

Running on Fuel Break/Culvert, Stage 3 was a fast, flowy, hard-packed course with some technical drops and rocky sections that could end your day. Racers had plenty of lines to choose from.

It was a tight race between Krentz and Guntert, with Krentz ultimately coming out just 0.4 seconds ahead of Guntert. They clocked 03:26.5 and 03:26.9 respectively, with Geankoplis right behind them at 03:27.9. Steven Godman took fourth on the stage with 03:28.5 and James Eves fifth at 03:31.2.

At the end of Stage 3, Guntert’s lead had increased to 1.6 seconds. Geankoplis moved into second, Krentz's stage win moved him into third, and Gorman and Gardner were in fourth and fifth respectively.

This highly anticipated stage featured Stonewall to Rocky. The course was extremely loose and fast with sharp switchbacks, off-camber corners and lots of uphill sprints. A high-speed rock garden section finished off this stage. Letting go of the brakes and running high tire pressure were key to not flatting. Pros had the added challenge of surprise babyheads that came loose in corners after the sport and beginner racers ran the track earlier.

Godman’s time of 02:47.0 beat Guntert’s (02:47.5) by half a second, while Geankoplis came in 0.4 seconds behind Guntert at 02:47.9. Gorman finished the stage in fourth with 02:50.5 and Renwick again took fifth with 02:53.5. By day’s end, it was Guntert on the top step with a total time of 15:24.9; Geankoplis in second with 15:26.8; Gorman in third with 15:44.7; Krentz in fourth with 15:52.2; and Gardner in fifth with 15:52.6.

Pro Women Stage Summaries and Podium

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Looking at the Pro Women’s race, Round 1’s champ Essence Barton joined her teammate Evan Geankoplis in taking the fastest run on the first stage of the second race of this season, clocking 05:17.8 — a full three seconds ahead of the second fastest rider Liza Hartlaub who came in with a time of 05:20.8. Brianne Spiersch came in third on the stage with 05:23.7; Heidi Kanayan fourth with 05:26.4; and Lili Heim rounded out the stage’s top five finishers just 0.2 seconds behind Kanayan with 05:26.6.

Barton took the win on the second stage of the day with 05:42.3, with Heim coming in less than half a second behind her with 05:46.6. A solid nine-second gap loomed between Heim and the stage’s third-place finisher Cicily Kessmann who clocked 05:55.5, with Hartlaub following in fourth with 06:00.4, and Spiersch coming in fifth with 06:02.7.

After two stages of racing, Barton was holding her lead, followed by Heim 3.2 seconds back, Hartlaub in third, Spiersch in fourth and Kessmann in fifth.

Kanayan pushed her limits on this stage to a first place finish time of 04:02.2, nearly three seconds faster than Barton who took second with 04:05.0. Kessmann came in third with 04:09.1; Spiersch just behind her in fourth with 04:10.2; and Heim holding on to her top five stage finish streak with 04:12.6.

At the end of this third stage, Barton had a commanding 20 seconds lead overall. She was followed by Lili Heim in second, Hartlaub in third, Kessmann in fourth, and Spiersch in fifth.This final stage once again found Kanayan with the fastest time, clocking 03:30.4. Barton was just 0.3 seconds off with 03:30.7, taking second place for the stage. Heim came in third with 03:35.6, Spiersch fourth with 03:48.2, and Hartlaub fifth with 03:50.9.

The pro women’s podium found reigning champ Barton on the top step once again with a total time of 18:35.8. Heim — who narrowly missed the podium in this season’s first round at Toro Park — took second place with 19:01.7. Kanayan came in third with 19:04.6; even with her two stage wins, she couldn't make up for the time she lost on Stages 1 and 2. Spiersch took fourth with 19:24.9 and Kessmann snagged the final podium spot with 19:29.2.

View full race results and podium shots from all categories here. Check out 2018 series standings here.

Words by Michele Charboneau

Photos by Kasey Carames


Next up: China Peak Enduro June 30 in Lakeshore, CA. Round 3 of the 2018 season takes racers to the southwestern Sierra about 65 miles east of Fresno. The rugged terrain of China Peak Mountain Resort is an ideal setting for the first round of the CES Golden Tour, the series' pro triple crown which spotlights the gnarliest venues and courses.

About California Enduro Series

CES is a for riders, by riders non-profit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to promoting world-class enduro events that everyone from amateur to pro can enjoy, at a geographically diverse range of venues.

The series is grateful for the support of the following sponsors: FOX, CLIF Bar, Specialized Bicycles, Dynaplug, WTB, Kenda Tires, Kali Protectives, Cranked Naturals, Michael David Winery, Voler Apparel, Park Tool, Mynesweepers, Adventure Sports Journa, ESI Grips, Gamut USA, Zodiac Lights.

Check out the 2018 schedule and learn more about the series here

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