The opening day of competition at round six of the Paulo Duarte FIM EnduroGP World Championship belonged to Josep Garcia who took a hard fought victory. The Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider led home a three-way fight for the win in Valpacos, Portugal with GASGAS Factory Racing’s Andrea Verona finishing in second and Beta Factory Racing’s Steve Holcombe third.
The battle for top honours in the GALFER FIM Junior Enduro World Championship was equally fierce, with Fantic JET Racing’s Jed Etchells winning by just one second from Fantic Factory Racing’s Albin Norrbin.
- Josep Garcia claims his third EnduroGP victory of season on day one in Valpacos
- The top three in EnduroGP were separated by just eight seconds
- Intense heat ensured a physical day of racing in Portugal
Hot, hot, hot! Both the racing and the weather were at boiling point on day one at round six of the Paulo Duarte FIM EnduroGP World Championship in northern Portugal. With temperatures above 30 degrees Celsius, competitors faced an intense and gruelling day of racing as they battled their way through 11 special tests and over 70 minutes of timed racing.
Garcia, Verona, and Holcombe battle for EnduroGP top honours
On track the action was red hot as riders returned to EnduroGP competition for the first full day of racing following their extended summer break. Everyone was eager to make their mark, and after topping last night’s AKRAPOVIC Super Test it was Josep Garcia who hit the ground running. He topped the opening POLISPORT Extreme Test to build up a five second advantage over Andrea Verona and CH Racing Sherco’s Zach Pichon in third. Beta Factory Racing’s Brad Freeman sat in fifth, with Luc Fargier (Beta) sixth.
Verona was in a determined mood on lap one and went on to win the following JUST1 Enduro Test and ACERBIS Cross Test to edge out Garcia for the lead by nearly two seconds as they ended the first lap. By now Steve Holcombe was up to third, but sitting 11 seconds behind meant he had work to do if he was to catch the duo ahead.
Topping the second POLISPORT Extreme Test saw Holcombe do just that – almost halving the gap to Verona and Garcia. Garcia was up for the fight though and by winning the JUST1 Enduro Test and ACERBIS Cross Test, it put him back into the lead with a lap and a half to go.
On lap three Holcombe won the Extreme and Enduro Tests to set up an exciting end to the day. Swapping test wins, by just fractions of a second, it was ultimately Garcia who won the final ACERBIS Cross Test to clinch the win from Verona and Holcombe.
With the pace of the top three pulling them away from the rest of the field, Pichon placed over one minute and 18 seconds behind in fourth. Honda Racing RedMoto’s Samuele Bernardini completed the top five, edging out Fast Eddy Racing’s Jamie McCanney in sixth by five seconds.
Betriu claims first Enduro3 win of the season
Enduro3 was a closely fought affair. Coming on strong in the latter half of the day, WP Eric Auge’s Jaume Betriu claimed his first victory of the season. Brad Freeman and Mikael Persson (Husqvarna) rounded out the top three.
Enduro1 saw Josep Garcia claim a commanding victory over Zach Pichon in second. Jamie McCanney raced his way onto the podium with third, while Beta Oxmoto’s Theo Espinasse and TM Racing’s Matteo Pavoni completed the top five.
The battle for Enduro2 honours was decided between Verona and Holcombe, with Verona getting the win by just two seconds. Samuele Bernardini scored his first podium of the season with third.
Etchells and Norrbin set the pace in Junior Enduro
The GALFER FIM Junior Enduro World Championship was super-close between Jed Etchells and Albin Norrbin. The duo pushed each other hard for victory, pulling themselves clear of the chasing pack. In the end it was Etchells who just hung on long enough to get the job done and take the win by one second from Norrbin. In the fight for the final step of the podium, Sergio Navarro (Husqvarna) beat Jeremy Sydow (Sherco) by three seconds to take third.
Getting back to his winning ways having missed last time out in Slovakia, Fantic’s Kevin Cristino restored normal order in Enduro Youth. The Italian won by four seconds from Beta’s Leo Joyon, with Thibault Giraudon (Sherco) a further 10 seconds behind in third.
Josep Garcia (KTM): “It feels so good to win again. I worked so hard during the summer break to get back fit and healthy. But you never know how it goes until you race. So, to get this win and know I have the speed to race with the best is amazing. I’m excited for tomorrow!”
Andrea Verona (GASGAS): “It’s been a really big, fun fight today for the victory. I love racing like this, but for sure I wanted to win bad. I’m happy with my riding, everything is good. I’ll see what I can do tomorrow.”
Steve Holcombe (Beta): “It was a great battle on the final laps. I gave away some time this morning that I couldn’t make back when the pace is this hot, but that’s how it goes sometimes. I’m looking forward to tomorrow and will try to be there from the off.”