Johnathan Helly, a Kamloops Enduro World Series (EWS) U-21 racer, recently wrapped up the 2021 series in 23rd place overall, opting to skip the last race due to logistical issues and a successful season thus far.
The second half of the season began in Loudenville, France, where the nature of the trails favoured Helly’s fast and aggressive riding style.
Unfortunately, luck was not on his side when mechanical issues resulted in a 37th place finish after he broke the shifter off his handlebars with his knee, causing it to get wrapped up in his front wheel.
“It jolted me forward off my bike and I went OTB [over the bars],” Helly said.
Helly was only able to finish the stage by sprinting the final 200 metres on foot with his bike in hand.
A slightly better 27th place finish followed at the second Loudenvill stage, but Helly wasn’t shaken, improving with two 15th place finishes, one in Crans-Montana, Switzerland, and another in Finale Ligure, Italy.
“I’m looking forward to next year for sure. For the last two races, my goal was to ride at 70 per cent, to learn as much as I can and make building blocks for myself to grow next year.”
Helly said he is hoping to get into the top 10, and then top five the next year. And, given he was one of the youngest competitors in the U-21 category this year, those at the top of the pack will be moving on to the Pro Men category, making way for the young phenom to top the U-21 category.
Looking back, Helly said his favourite moments from the second half of the EWS season were being able to race against familiar Canadian athletes from past National competition, making new friends, learning from old ones, and of course his sixth place finish in the Loudenville Prologue race, new to this year’s EWS.
“It’s like a mini [DH] race before the second race of the day. I came down, didn’t think I had too good of a run because my foot unclipped a few times and I made a few sloppy mistakes. But, then the time showed up and I was 6th place. I was stoked about that.”
Upon returning from the 2021 EWS, Helly and fellow Canadian EWS racer Emmet Hancock, were able to wrap up their season lapping the Sun Peaks Bike Park on closing day.
“I was looking forward to the Sun Peaks Enduro. Sadly, it got cancelled. But, my friend Emmet came up and we had such a hoot. The trails were running so good,” Helly said.
“Also, I’d like to thank We Are One Composites. They supported me all year in getting me over to the racers over in Europe, and Dustin Adams, as well as Troy Lee Designs.”
To see full results from this year’s EWS, go to enduroworldseries.com.