Making sure that he’ll forever remember the fourth round of the 2022 WPTGlobal FIM EnduroGP World Championship, Honda Racing RedMoto World Enduro team rider Nathan Watson topped the timesheets in style on day one of the EnduroGP of Portugal to secure his first class and outright win of the year. Doing everything right on his 450cc Honda, Nathan finished ahead of GASGAS Factory Racing’s Andrea Verona with Daniel Milner (Fantic) continuing his recent run of strong form to claim third.
As expected, it was Jane Daniels (Fantic) who topped the Magnorange FIM Women Enduro World Championship class, by a considerable margin. In the Enduro Junior category Zachary Pichon (Sherco) claimed his seventh consecutive day win of the season.
- Nathan Watson Honda took the win on day one of the EnduroGP of Portugal (Coimbra)
- Aussie charger Wil Ruprecht (TM) crashed big on the day’s first Enduro Test
- Brad Freeman (Beta) tops Enduro3 by 0.27 of a second!
- Jane Daniels (Fantic) claims the day’s largest winning margin to top the women’s class
Following hot on the heels of last weekend’s EnduroGP of Italy, the WPTGlobal FIM EnduroGP World Championship’s second visit of the year to Portugal certainly didn’t disappoint. Dry and stony but nowhere near as hot as the Italian event, the host towns Coimbra and Souselas served up some great special tests.
Watson wins big as Ruprecht crashes hard
While it was Italy’s Andrea Verona (GASGAS) who started the Portuguese event in the best way possible by topping both the Friday night AKRAPOVIC Super Test and Saturday morning’s opening Just1 Enduro Test, it was Great Britain’s Nathan Watson who ultimately went the distance and ended the day at the top of the outright EnduroGP results.
With Verona just over 15 seconds behind Watson following a day-long battle for the win, the Italian GASGAS rider nevertheless took advantage of Wil Ruprecht’s monster crash on the opening Just1 Enduro Test and subsequent 13th place finish to move to the top of the EnduroGP championship standings.
Rounding out the EnduroGP podium was Australian Daniel Milner. Clearly loving life on his 250cc Fantic, despite not topping any of the day’s special tests, his consistent riding enabled him to finish as a worthy third-place finisher. Placing fourth overall, Steve Holcombe (Beta) put his troubled run through round three behind him to top the POLISPORT Extreme Test on lap one and eventually place fourth overall.
Fifth outright went to France’s Hugo Blanjoue (KTM) who, like Milner, carried the impressive form he showed in Italy over to the Portuguese event. Delivering a stand-out performance to finish a strong sixth on his Motoclub Lago D’Iseo Honda was Italian Samuele Bernardini. Just 0.58 of a second behind Bernardini was fellow Honda mounted Italian Thomas Oldrati in seventh while Matteo Cavallo (TM), Antoine Megan (Sherco), and Brad Freeman (Beta) rounded out the top 10 in EnduroGP.
Verona, Watson, and Freeman the riders to beat in E1, E2, and E3
Marching on in his quest to defend his Enduro1 World Championship title, Andrea Verona (GASGAS) took yet another E1 class win on day one in Portugal. Beaten on just one of the day’s nine special tests, Verona placed 25 seconds clear of runner-up Daniel Milner (Fantic). With Samuele Berdardini (Honda) rounding out the top three in E1 to claim his first trip to the podium of 2022, Thomas Oldrati (Honda) placed fourth with Matteo Cavallo (TM) fifth.
The Enduro2 class saw a British one-two with the day’s outright winner Nathan Watson (Honda) finishing comfortably ahead of Steve Holcombe (Beta), who’d missed the second day of racing at last weekend’s GP of Portugal due to his previously injured shoulder. With the GB countrymen out front, third went to Hugo Blanjoue (KTM) with Wil Ruprecht (TM) battling his way back from his early morning get-off to place fourth with Czech rider Krystof Kouble (Husqvarna) rounding out the top five.
Showing that every second is worth fighting for, Brad Freeman (Beta) again battled through another day of racing with his injured hand to importantly get the better of his closest challenger on the final special test of the day. In finishing six seconds up on Antoine Basset (Beta) in the final ACERBIS Cross Test, Brad topped the podium by 0.27 of a second. With Basset runner-up, third went to Matteo Pavoni (TM) with Mikael Person (Husqvarna) fourth following a spill on the final extreme test.
Pichon and Daniels flawless in Junior and Women classes
Picking up yet another day win in the Enduro Junior class, France’s Zachary Pichon (Sherco) topped the Friday night AKRAPOVIC Super Test in the Juniors, then went on to win the opening Just1 Enduro Test before taking six more special test wins and place close to 40 seconds ahead of Roni Kytonen (Honda). Kytonen in turn finished close to 14 seconds ahead of third-placed Luc Fargier (Beta).
Unbeaten on all but one special test (where she finished second!) Jane Daniels (Fantic) topped the Magnorange FIM Women Enduro World Championship class by a massive one minute and 12 seconds. Doing her best to try and stop Jane from stamping her mark on the class, Mireia Badia (Rieju) claimed a well-deserved second with Rosie Rowett (KTM) rounding out the podium in third.
Battling to the very end of the day to finally claim the Enduro Youth class win Harry Edmondson squeezed every last drop of power out of his 125cc Fantic to claim the win, finishing just 2.47 seconds ahead of team-mate Kevin Cristino with third going to Samuli Puhakainen (TM) in third.
“It’s been an amazing day. I finally had a good Super Test, so that set me up well for today. I made a good start to the day and just felt really good on my Honda. The times continued to come all day, and the extreme was a little easier, which helped me, so all-in-all things went really well. This is my first overall win since 2017, so it feels so, so good.”
“It’s been a good day for me. The ground was really slick, with small stones and grit. I just did what I could and I’m so happy to have got onto the EnduroGP podium. I feel like I was able to get a lot closer to Verona today, so I’m stoked to be where I’m at.”
“It certainly wasn’t an easy day for me today, the loose ground with the small rocks meant that you had to really stay focused all day. From the Super Test last night things have gone really well, and they stayed good all day. I did fall on the second enduro test, so I wasn’t able to win that one, but other than that it’s been a great day.”
“I’ve really enjoyed racing in Portugal today. And I’m really happy with the times I made in the special tests. I struggled a little last weekend in the extreme test, but today things went well. I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”