- 25 Nov, 2023
In a thrilling display of skill and endurance, Indonesia’s cycling sensation Rama Teguh Ady Pratama has clinched the Men’s Elite title at the Pokhara Enduro International Mountain Bike Race.
The race, which had 56 riders from 11 countries, concluded at Mahaprabhu Dham in the Arba Hills, Pokhara, on Saturday. The event drew a large crowd of spectators, adding to the festive atmosphere.
Laxmi Magar won the Women’s Open title, while Pokhara rider Rajan Bhandari lifted the Men’s ‘A’ (30-39) category, and Suraj Panday secured the Men’s ‘B’ (40-49) category. Similarly, Prashanna Gautam emerged on top of the E-bike section, Beepul Thapa (Men’s Junior) and Lal Bahadur Ale (Veteran’s Men).
The challenging terrain of Arba Hills provided the perfect backdrop for the intense competition, where Rama showcased exceptional prowess and secured a comfortable victory.
Having won Friday’s prologue by a margin of over seven seconds, the Ertap Sports Management rider completed the four-trail course in 7 minutes 4.66 seconds on Saturday.
“The course was demanding, but I felt in sync with my bike and the terrain,” Rama said, expressing his excitement after the presentations. “It’s an honour to compete against such talented riders, and I’m thrilled to come out on top.”
Rama’s performance stood out as he navigated the rugged landscape with precision and speed. That opened up nearly 10 seconds for an overall lead over UK rider Christopher Keeling (10:16.97) to more than 17 seconds as the latter struggled to carry pace on corners.
Keeling acknowledged Rama’s dominance. “His speed was truly impressive. Today. It was a tough race, and he deserved the win,” he said. “I have to work hard on the cornering speed, as I was 2-3 seconds late on each trail compared to Rama.”
Nepali rider Prachit Thapa Magar of Gnarly MTB finished with an aggregate time of 10:36.16 to complete the podium.
In the Women’s Open, Magar put in another dominating display of controlled descents and speed around the corners for an aggregate of 9 minutes 53.48 seconds.
Mingma Sherpa came home with more than 90 seconds in 11:25.31, while Singaporean Eevon Chia stood third with a timing of 15:35.36.
Magar praised the event’s overall atmosphere and the riders’ camaraderie. “The enduro community is like a big family, and events like these bring us together. We all pushed our limits without incidents,” she remarked.
In the Junior class, Nepal’s Beepul Thapa overcame a blip on SS2 to trump favourite Elijah Steward of the United States, earning applause for his spirited performance. Thapa finished the course in 8:25.77, more than 17 seconds earlier than Steward. Coming home at 9:12.68, Deepesh Thapa stood third.
Winner Thapa shared his experience, saying, “Competing alongside international riders is always a learning experience. The Arba Hills track was challenging, but it’s an incredible feeling to be part of such a competitive race.”
Rajan Bhandari dominated the Men’s ‘A’ category to complete the course in 11:21.06, finishing more than 25 seconds ahead of second-placed Mangal Lama in 11:48.99. Kunga Woesar claimed third place in 12:10.29.
The Men’s ‘B’ category race saw Suraj Panday use his downhill skills to good use for a comfortable victory. He finished the loop in 12:18.39, Rabi Karki (13:11.89) came home second, and Nayan Manandhar (13:18.47) completed the podium.
Singapore-based Nepali rider Lal Bahadur Ale claimed the Veteran’s class, completing the course at 11:10.05. Sulochan Rajbhandary (11:22.05) finished second, while Saisab Pradhan (11:36.39) came home third.
Ale was happy to have won his maiden race in Nepal. “I competed in the Singapore Open Enduro last week. I was careful not to throw caution to the wind. But winning the title came as a bonus,” he said.
A spectacular presentation ceremony held at the main venue served as the event’s culmination. The cheers of the crowd echoed through the mountains as each rider stepped up to receive their well-deserved recognition.
Pokhara Metropolitan City Sports Development Committee chief Deepak Godar and Pokhara Metropolitan City Ward 13 Chair Kiran Baral gave away prizes and certificates to the winners.
The Men’s Elite winner was awarded a cheque for Rs50,000, the runner-up Rs30,000, and the third-place finisher Rs20,000. Similarly, the Open Female category winner received Rs35,000, while the runner-up took home Rs25,000, and the second runner-up Rs15,000.
Prestige Consulting, Jewel Trek, and the Nepalese Society, Singapore, sponsored the cash prizes for the two categories. The organisers also provided sponsored gifts from Gravity Nepal and The Loose Riders from Singapore to the top five finishers in other categories.