UKUPACHA – ECUADOR’S BADASS EXTREME ENDURO
The Ukupacha Extreme might just be the toughest extreme enduro in Latin America – if not the world.
Taking place in Quito Ecuador, the event has riders gasping for breathe before the racing even begins. Located at an altitude of 4000 metres above sea level, Quito is one of the highest cites in the world. That means it’s tough on machines and even tougher on the body before you get into the mountains.
This year the race continued to live up to its badass reputation with only four riders seeing it out.
Kicking things off, the Saturday prologue determined the starting order for the main event. An endurocross course separated the men from the boys with Cory Graffunder taking the win from Paul Bolton and Kyle Redmond.
The following morning at 7am, Graffunder led everyone out to begin the 105-kilometre mountain loop. With nine hours to complete the course it was clear from the off this would be anything but an easy ride.
Fifth on the road, Wade Young set about reeling the leaders in. Ticking Redmond, Graffunder and then Mario Roman off his list he eventually caught up to Bolton. With neither rider able to gain the upper hand, it was a fight to the finish as they arrived to the final hill climb ‘El Maldito’ battered bruised but not quite beaten.
Laying everything on the line, Young was first to the summit and with it snatched victory from Bolton’s hands by the narrowest of margins.
Proving again to be a serious force to contend with in extreme enduro, rookie Roman backed up his podium result from Extreme Lagares with third in Ukupacha.
Graffunder was the fourth and final rider to reach the finish within the nine-hour limit.