The opening day of competition at round three of the Paulo Duarte FIM EnduroGP World Championship in Heinola, Finland was a battle of the ages. Beta Factory Racing’s Brad Freeman best managed the rugged, old school enduro terrain to claim his fifth consecutive EnduroGP day victory. Teammate Steve Holcombe was next best in second, with Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Josep Garcia third. All three won their respective Enduro3, Enduro2, and Enduro1 categories.


GALGER FIM Junior Enduro World Championship points leader Jed Etchells (Fantic) came out on top on day one, while Fantic’s Jane Daniels dominated the Magnorange FIM Women’s Enduro World Championship.

  • Finland returns to EnduroGP calendar with a welcome bang
  • Beta’s Brad Freeman took his fifth consecutive EnduroGP day win
  • Fantic’s Jane Daniels rode clear to the Women’s Enduro victory

After Friday’s action packed AKRAPOVIC Super Test in Heinola, Finland, today was time to get down to business with the opening day of racing at round three of the Paulo Duarte FIM EnduroGP World Championship. While the weather was proving ever changeable, the biggest talking point for riders starting their day was the JUST1 Enduro Test. Rugged, gnarly, forest-based and typically Finnish – at over 11 minutes in length for the fastest riders – it was set to prove decisive for all.

Freeman proves flawless in EnduroGP

Chasing his fifth EnduroGP victory on the bounce, Beta Factory Racing’s Brad Freeman was quick to attack on the opening JUST1 Enduro Test. Stopping the clock over 15 seconds faster than Steve Holcombe (Beta) in second, Freeman was off to a flying start.

Although losing a little time on the opening POLISPORT Extreme Test won by Holcombe, Freeman duly won the following ACERBIS Cross Test and JUST1 Enduro Test to extend his lead. A mistake from Holcombe on the final ACERBIS Cross Test offered some added breathing room to Freeman’s lead as he held strong to win the day.

Enjoying the demanding, old school enduro terrain, Holcombe too was pushing hard. Pleased with topping two of the day’s three POLISPORT Extreme Tests, he was rewarded with the runner-up overall result for his efforts.

Behind the leading Beta riders, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Josep Garcia steadily progressed during the day. Needing more time than he hoped to adjust to the terrain, he ended his day with a solid final lap for third overall and will be one the that the leading duo will need to watch for tomorrow.

Coming through for his best result of the season, CH Racing Sherco’s Hamish MacDonald finally cracked the top five with fourth today in Heinola. The New Zealander enjoyed the ‘home-like’ terrain in Finland.

Closing out the top five, the battle for fifth between GASGAS Factory Racing’s Andrea Verona and Beta Oxmoto’s Theo Espinasse went right to the wire. Coming down to the final test, Verona narrowly beat Espinasse by half of a second.

In Enduro1, Josep Garcia (KTM) was top of the pile. The Spaniard took the win, with Theo Espinasse (Beta) in second. Zach Pichon (Sherco) completed the top three. Steve Holcombe (Beta) was best of the Enduro2 riders, winning by over one minute from Sherco’s Hamish MacDonald. With Andrea Verona (GASGAS) third, Holcombe also gained some ground in their title battle. There was no stopping Freeman in Enduro3 as he powered clear to a three-minute margin of victory. The fight for second was much closer, with TM Racing’s Matteo Cavallo holding off Sweden’s Mikael Persson (Husqvarna) by 20 seconds to finish as runner-up.

Daniels on a roll in Women’s Enduro

There was no one to touch Fantic’s Jane Daniels in the Magnorange FIM Women’s Enduro World Championship. Leading from the off, she won the first four special tests. Taking chunks of time off her rivals in the crucial JUST1 Enduro Test, Daniels will prove hard to stop tomorrow.

Australia’s Jessica Gardiner (Yamaha) and Britain’s Rosie Rowett (Rieju) battled it out for the runner-up result. Neck and neck all day, Gardiner bettered Rowett on the final two tests to get the job done. Sweden’s Hedvig Malm (KTM) and Britain’s Nieve Holmes (Sherco) completed the top five.

Etchells tops Junior Enduro on day one

As ever the GALFER FIM Junior Enduro World Championship was closely contested. Continuing his winning form from the AKRAPOVIC Super Test, Jed Etchells (Fantic) won the first two tests of the day in Heinola. With two more test wins and remaining inside the top three, Etchells did enough to hold off Sweden’s Albin Norrbin (Fantic) for the win. Sweden’s Max Ahlin (KTM) joined them on the podium for third.

The Youth Enduro class saw Kevin Cristino (Fantic) top the time sheets for the fifth consecutive race day. The Italian is so far showing no signs of slowing down and added to his win tally in Finland. Leo Joyon (Beta) and Thibault Giraudon (Sherco) rounded out the podium.

Brad Freeman (Beta):

“That’s definitely been one of the most gnarliest enduro days we’ve had for a while. It was a hustle. I felt like I rode within my limits and managed to get through the day with no crashes or major errors. If I pushed more then a risk of a crash was higher, so I think in these conditions that approach was key. Hopefully it goes well again tomorrow!”

Steve Holcombe (Beta):

“It’s been a great day, a proper, old-school style enduro. It’s definitely brought Finland back into the series with a bang for sure! I think I only had one mistake, but otherwise I rode steady, and I feel that was key.”

Josep Garcia (KTM):

“To go third overall and first in Enduro1 is quite a good day. I think my feeling was not the best in the enduro test and that’s where I was losing some time. I’ll debrief and think about how today went and look to being a little stronger for tomorrow.”