It’s back to business for the 2023 Paulo Duarte FIM EnduroGP World Championship this weekend as the series bursts back into life with the long-awaited season opening ACERBIS GP of Italy. Setting the scene as the first of seven exciting rounds in 2023, the mountains surrounding Arma di Taggia / San Remo will ensure a memorable first test for the world’s fastest enduro racers.
As the reigning EnduroGP World Champion, GASGAS Factory Racing’s Andrea Verona enters his home race eager to kick off his title defence in style. With a major target on his back, and with countless riders lining up to dethrone him, nothing will be gifted to the Italian.
- Paulo Duarte FIM EnduroGP World Championship set for exciting start
- Italy’s Arma di Taggia / San Remo set to host championship opener
- Four tests of varied terrain to challenge the world’s best enduro riders
After a long winter, excitement is building towards the start of the Paulo Duarte FIM EnduroGP World Championship. The ACERBIS GP of Italy is always a fantastic event, which for 2023 will be all the more special due to it being the first round of the new championship. Along with the expected fireworks in the senior classes, the GALFER FIM Junior Enduro World Championship and Magnorange FIM Women’s Enduro World Championship will also be in action.
Situated a stone’s throw from the French border, alongside the Ligurian Sea, Arma di Taggia and San Remo are set to offer a stunning backdrop to the racing at round one. Providing typically Italian terrain, the surrounding mountains will ensure challenging trails, leading them to the JUST1 Enduro Test and POLISPORT Extreme Test.
It’s then back to the heart of San Remo’s seafront for a contrasting mix of beachside specials with the ACERBIS Cross Test and AKRAPOVIC Super Test. The MILWAUKEE parc ferme in downtown San Remo will be situated within the central paddock area during race the weekend.
Verona Heads Up EnduroGP Title Fight For GASGAS
With many team changes, machinery switches, and new rider additions, round one will be anything but short on excitement. Naturally, as defending EnduroGP champion GASGAS Factory Racing’s Andrea Verona will want to land a decisive blow to his rivals on home soil. For 2023, Verona has moved from Enduro1 to Enduro2, which means we’ll get to witness a new Enduro1 World Champion crowned this year too.
Despite picking up some injuries in 2022, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Josep Garcia still placed as runner-up to Verona in the overall championship fight. The Spaniard ended the season with four consecutive wins and will aim to keep that tally growing in Arma di Taggia / San Remo. A former champion of the quarter-litre category, a switch to Enduro1 for 2023 also serves as added motivation for the KTM rider.
Australia’s Wil Ruprecht ended a tight EnduroGP campaign in third overall last year, while also winning the Enduro2 title. A busy off-season saw him switch camps to Sherco Factory Racing, while remaining in Enduro2. Ready to show he’s settled in his new colours, Wil will be targeting a strong start to the year.
The terrain in San Remo may best play into the hands of Honda Racing RedMoto’s Nathan Watson. World-class in beach racing, the sandy ACERBIS Cross Test should suit the Brit. Along with his Italian teammate Thomas Oldrati, the Honda-mounted pairing will figure highly in the results.
Beta Aiming For Strong 2023 Opener
After a difficult 2022, Beta Factory Racing’s Brad Freeman and Steve Holcombe hope to come out swinging at their team’s home race this weekend. Freeman starts as defending Enduro3 World Champion, while Holcombe competes in Enduro2. Both are former EnduroGP world champions and are among the most experienced riders in the series.
Further changes for the coming season sees Australia’s Daniel Milner join TM Racing alongside Italians Matteo Cavallo and Matteo Pavoni. Milner will look to deliver a good result for his team on their home soil.
With many riders to watch for in the senior category, one everyone will be keeping a close eye on is Frenchman Zach Pichon. Dominant in his efforts to win the 2022 Enduro Junior title, the Sherco Factory Racing rider steps up into the senior ranks for 2023. Competing in Enduro1, he’s sure to add some excitement to the mix.
New Champion To Emerge From The Junior Ranks
After the departure of Zach Pichon, the GALFER FIM Junior Enduro World Championship is now thrown wide open, with the stage set for the next world champion to emerge. With all to play for, Sweden’s Max Ahlin (KTM), Britain’s Jed Etchells (Fantic) and Sweden’s Albin Norrbin (Fantic) are some of the top riders remaining in the Junior category. However, Enduro Youth World Champion Harry Edmondson (Fantic), and Finland’s Samuli Puhakainen (Beta) both join the fold and will look to make their presence felt too.
Runner-up to Edmondson in 2022, Italy’s Kevin Cristino (Fantic) starts as the rider to beat in the Enduro Youth class. The Italian only missed out on the podium twice last year and, having pushed Edmondson all the way, knows what it takes to fight for the world title. With over 30 Enduro Youth class riders entered into the opening round of the 2023 world championship, the category is brimming with future talent eager to showcase their skills.
Daniels Starts As Favourite In Women’s Enduro
Britain’s Jane Daniels will look to get the defence of her Magnorange FIM Women’s Enduro World Championship title off to a winning start in San Remo. The Fantic rider claimed a perfect season in 2022 with victory in all of her races. With 15 competitors entered into the women’s class for round one, it is Spain’s Mireia Badia (Rieju), and Great Britain’s Nieve Holmes (Sherco) and Rosie Rowett (Rieju), who are among the favourites to try and bring to an end Daniels’ unbeaten run of form.
The opening round of the 2023 Paulo Duarte FIM EnduroGP World Championship gets underway with the AKRAPOVIC Super Test in San Remo on Friday evening, March 31.
Round 1 – Italy – San Remo/Arma di Taggia – 31 March-2 April
Round 2 – Spain – Lalin – 5-7 May
Round 3 – Finland – Heinola – 26-28 May
Round 4 – Sweden – Skovde – 1-3 June
Round 5 – Slovakia – Gelnica – 30 June-2 July
Round 6 – Portugal – Valpacos – 29 September-1 October
Round 7 – Portugal – St Andre/Santiago do Cacem – 6-8 October