Photos: Alfredo Escobar, Marcelo Maragni, Red Bull Photofiles
Tackling some of the most difficult terrain in the world -- Chile's Andes Mountains -- the Red Bull Los Andes enduro also produces some of the most stunning photos. Here's our favorites, details of the race below.
Cyril Depres crowned champion at Red Bull Los Andes
At 2,600 meters above sea level, over 100 riders took on the CORDILLERA for a grueling test of endurance in front of over 5,000 enthusiastic spectators. Enduro World Champion Cyril Depres came in first in front of Chilean Riders Nicolas Urrutia and Francisco Chaleco Lopez.
At 12:01 The Halcones flying squadron flew over the starting line, giving signal for the riders to start the race. The thundering sound of the motorcycles and the adrenalin took over the center stage, the riders speeding off to find the first obstacle only 250 meters from the start: a steep 50-meter drop that only half of the riders drove through unscathed.
"Mental strength is a critical success factor in a competition as technical and demanding as this," explained Ignacio Fernandez, President of CNE (Confederacion Nacional Enduro) and Race Director. Later he added that another critical factor is attitude, which has a definitive effect both on driver and machine.
The 30-kilometer route had it all: long ascents, steep descents, loose gravel terrain, mud, river crossings and rock fields. The first lap was tough, yet the second one was even tougher, because - as second-placed Nicolas Urrutia pointed out - the riders were beginning to feel the heat and sun.
Local hero Chaleco Lopez presented his fans with a great spectacle as he fought for the lead against Champion Cyril Depres. "Cyril and me are great friends and we have enjoyed many duels like this. Hopefully in the future I will manage to finish in front of him," said Chaleco after the race.
Red Bull Los Andes consisted of the four categories of Super Experts, Experts, Intermediates and Women. Only two courageous women completed this challenge: Maria Josefina Gardulski and Macarena Garreton. "I am so happy to have completed the race, Macarena and I supported each other throughout the course and we feel this is a shared triumph!" said Gardulski.
The grand prize of the competition was a Honda 450x motorcycle, which winner Cyril Depres decided to auction off in aid of the Wings for Life Foundation dedicated to finding a cure for spinal cord injury.