The final day of racing at round five of the Paulo Duarte FIM EnduroGP World Championship was a memorable one for GASGAS Factory Racing’s Andrea Verona as the Italian secured victory. In what’s been a difficult season to date for the defending EnduroGP champion, Andrea came good, while making the most of a technical issue suffered by Beta Factory Racing’s Steve Holcombe, to master the mud and rain and claim the overall win. Holcombe placed a close second to take over the EnduroGP championship points lead while CH Racing Sherco’s Hamish MacDonald secured his debut EnduroGP podium with third.


Fantic’s Albin Norrbin recorded his second victory of the weekend in the GALFER FIM Junior Enduro World Championship.

  • Andrea Verona wins a muddy day two in Slovakia
  • Steve Holcombe takes over EnduroGP points lead with runner-up result
  • Hamish MacDonald enjoys debut EnduroGP podium in third

The champ is back! It feels like a long time coming, but defending EnduroGP champion Andrea Verona finally got his first victory of the season under his belt on day two at round five of the Paulo Duarte FIM EnduroGP World Championship. After pushing Beta Factory Racing’s Steve Holcombe hard yesterday, the GASGAS Factory Racing rider came into his own when the sunshine was replaced with torrential rain and deep mud. In what proved a physically demanding day, heavy rain turned conditions slippery, and very unpredictable for all. At times it really was a case of sink or swim!

Verona returns to his best 

Showing signs of his pace of old on day one, Italian Andrea Verona looked ready to build on his impressive speed as he began day two in Gelnica. With CH Racing Sherco’s Hamish MacDonald fastest in the opening POLISPORT Extreme Test, Verona went quickest on the ACERBIS Cross Test, leaving the top three of MacDonald, Holcombe, and Verona separated by only two seconds.

The back-to-back JUST1 Enduro Test and Cross Pro Enduro Test would prove crucial to see who could gain advantage before the extreme weather conditions began to take their toll. Holcombe rose to the occasion by winning both. Moving into the lead as they began lap two, he held the upper hand, but not by a lot.

The second POLISPORT Extreme Test saw Fantic’s Lorenzo Macoritto (Fantic) best master the conditions. After a disappointing time, Holcombe was back up to speed and won the ACERBIS Cross Test to extend his lead to 10 seconds. But just when it looked like he was in control, the tables quickly turned. A technical issue on the JUST1 Enduro Test cost him over 30 seconds, putting Verona back into the lead.

As they began the final lap, Verona was 13 seconds to the good over a fast-recovering Holcombe. Crucially winning the final ACERBIS Cross Test, Verona pulled his advantage out to 20 seconds with both Enduro Tests to run. With both riders chasing victory, Verona hung on by two seconds to get the job done. Despite a heroic effort on the final two special stages, Holcombe just fell short of victory. However, as runner-up to Verona, Holcombe did enough to head home from Slovakia as the new EnduroGP points leader.

Debut EnduroGP podium for MacDonald

Giving the leading duo a close fight during the first half of the day played dividends for MacDonald. With a comfortable cushion over the chasing pack, the new Zealander earned his debut EnduroGP podium. Coming into his own in the muddy terrain, Sweden’s Mikael Persson (Husqvarna) won the final POLISPORT Extreme Test to take fourth overall, with Fast Eddy Racing’s Jamie McCanney fifth.

That ride to fifth overall for McCanney set him up perfectly to win the Enduro1 class for the first time this season. Continuing to nurse an elbow injury, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Josep Garcia could be pleased with second, while Beta Oxmoto’s Theo Espinasse rounded out the podium.

The Enduro2 victory belonged to Verona, with the Italian taking the top spot over Holcombe and MacDonald. Carding his second Enduro3 class win of the weekend, Mikael Persson moves to within four points of championship leader Brad Freeman (Beta). Antoine Magain (Sherco) and Luc Fargier (Beta) were second and third respectively.

Norrbin does the double in Juniors 

As ever, the GALFER FIM Junior Enduro World Championship was a hotly contested affair. Rising to the occasion in the extreme mud and rain, Fantic’s Albin Norrbin secured his second victory of the weekend. Jed Etchells (Fantic) fought back hard on the final lap, but despite taking three of the four special tests, he had to settle for second. Max Ahlin (KTM) made it a Swedish 1-3, finishing eight seconds behind Etchells in third.

The Youth Enduro class was an exciting affair, with a new winner emerging. The difficult conditions played havoc and it was Beta’s Leo Joyon who made the race his own to secure his first victory of the season. Winner yesterday, Thibault Giraudon (Sherco) was second today, with Clement Clauzier (Fantic) third.

With five rounds complete, the Paulo Duarte FIM EnduroGP World Championship takes a much-welcomed extended summer break, before concluding with back-to-back rounds in Portugal, beginning September 29.

Andrea Verona (GASGAS):

“I’m really happy with that. It’s been a great day. It feels incredible to finally get an overall win. The conditions today were super tough in the mud and rain, but I think everyone was finding it tough, so I had to keep pushing and not panic about mistakes. These last few GPs were tough, so I want to thank everyone who helped me get this win.”

Steve Holcombe (Beta):

“It’s been a fantastic battle with Andrea today in the rain. The conditions were a bit wild out there, so it was a case of battling through. I had an issue on one of the enduro tests and lost a bunch of time. I gave it everything towards the end, but it wasn’t enough to win. Overall, it’s been a very good race for me, heading into this summer break I’m now leading the EnduroGP and Enduro2 classes, so it will be big motivation to keep working hard and be ready for the final two races in Portugal.”

Hamish MacDonald (Sherco):

“I’m really happy to get on the podium today. We came here with a new bike and it’s gone great. The conditions today seemed to suit me a lot. I kept chipping away at each test and managed to get my first EnduroGP podium.”

Albin Norrbin (Fantic):

“I’ve enjoyed these tough races and to come away with a double victory in Slovakia is perfect. I feel like I showed some good, consistent speed. With these wins, it brings a nice feeling heading into the summer break.”