The opening day of racing at round two of the Paulo Duarte FIM EnduroGP World Championship saw Beta Factory Racing’s Brad Freeman secure overall victory. Putting in a come-from-behind ride, the British rider took over the lead on the final lap of the ACERBIS GP of Spain to win in Lalin.
After leading for the majority of the day, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Josep Garcia was denied a home win and had to settle for second. Beta’s Steve Holcombe claimed a close-fought third. The GALFER Junior Enduro World Championship saw Fantic’s Jed Etchells secure his second victory of the season with a win on day one. Kevin Cristino (Fantic) was best of the Youth Enduro category.
- Brad Freeman rides to EnduroGP victory on day one in Lalin
- Leading most of the day, local favourite Josep Garcia finished second
- Jed Etchells topped the Junior Enduro podium
Freeman and Garcia fight it out in EnduroGP
After the excitement of Friday’s AKRAPOVIC Super Test, many wondered if Josep Garcia (KTM) would continue his winning ways to claim a home win on Day One. However, with overnight rain remaining through the morning, conditions on the special tests were hard to judge.
But the Spaniard did indeed continue to deliver his best form and mastered the grip levels to perfection. By the end of the JUST1 Enduro Test, at the conclusion of lap one, he had built up a 12 second lead over his closest rivals Holcombe in second and Freeman third, and was looking tough to beat.
At the end of the second ACERBIS Cross Test Garcia was still leading, but his advantage had shrunk to just five seconds. With the sun coming out, Freeman was on a charge. After winning the second JUST1 Enduro Test, the Brit took over the lead with the fastest time in the POLISPORT Extreme Test as they began their third and final lap. On song, he topped the final two special tests to claim his third victory of the season.
For Garcia, hopes of a home win on day one didn’t materialise. With some small crashes and errors on the final lap, victory slipped away. The Spaniard will look to regroup tomorrow. Completing the third step of the EnduroGP podium, Steve Holcombe put in another solid performance. The Brit managed two special test wins along the way. Just four seconds behind Holcombe was GASGAS Factory Racing’s Andrea Verona in fourth. CH Sherco Racing’s Hamish MacDonald completed the top five.
In Enduro1 Josep Garcia ruled the roost. Untouchable throughout the day, the Spaniard won his category by almost three minutes. Matteo Pavoni (TM Racing) got the better of Zach Pichon (Sherco) by seven seconds to finish as runner-up.
Putting his first win of the season on the board, Steve Holcombe was best of the Enduro2 class. Andrea Verona had to settle for second behind the Beta rider. However, the duo are proving to be the class leaders, placing almost 90 seconds clear of Hamish MacDonald in third.
Securing the biggest winning margin of the day, Brad Freeman dominated proceedings in Enduro3. The Beta rider finished three minutes and 50 seconds clear of Mikael Persson (Husqvarna) in second with Matteo Cavallo (TM Racing) third.
Etchells fights back to win Junior Enduro
The GALFER Junior Enduro Championship was exciting to watch in Lalin. Brimming with talent, the top six riders were ultimately separated by approximately 50 seconds at the end of day one. Finishing Friday’s AKRAPOVIC Super Test in 20th, Jed Etchells (Fantic) had put himself on the back foot and with work to do this morning. However, the Manx rider was in determined mood and hungry to fight back.
At the end of lap one he was incredibly tied for the race lead with Jeremy Sydow (Sherco), but there was still a long way to go. Consistently in the top three, he held firm to win by seven seconds over Albin Norribin (Fantic). Despite claiming three special test wins, Sydow had to settle for third. Sergio Navarro (Husqvarna) and Max Ahlin (KTM) completed the top five.
In Youth Enduro Kevin Cristino (Fantic) again proved the rider to beat. The Italian was enjoying the early wet and slippery conditions. Taking seven test wins, he never slipped outside the top two to claim the top step of the podium by 10 seconds. Thibault Giraudon (Sherco) challenged him throughout the day, and despite taking the other three test wins, he couldn’t reel his rival in. Leo Joyon (Beta) completed the podium, albeit finishing almost 90 seconds behind Cristino.
Brad Freeman (Beta):
“It’s awesome to get my third win in a row. It’s been a good day at the office. The rain this morning made conditions tricky. It wasn’t overly muddy, just slippery and I found it hard to judge. After lap one there was a better racing line settled in.”
Josep Garcia (KTM):
“I really wanted that victory, but I just missed out on the final lap. I had some small crashes that cost me and Brad got too far away. Still, it’s good to be back on the EnduroGP podium and nice to have the win in Enduro1. Tomorrow I will try my best again.”
Steve Holcombe (Beta):
“It’s been a good day, and great to win Enduro2. It’s been a while since I stood on top of the podium so I’m happy. But I’m a little frustrated with my middle part of the day. I messed up the second Extreme Test, so Brad and Josep got away from me. But I’m enjoying my riding and keen to make amends tomorrow.”