The final day of racing at round six of the Paulo Duarte FIM EnduroGP World Championship was a thriller with Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Josep Garcia eventually claiming a hard-fought victory following an epic battle for the top of the podium. The Spaniard took the win by just one second from Beta Factory Racing’s Steve Holcombe, with GASGAS Factory Racing’s Andrea Verona rounding out the podium.
- Josep Garcia does the EnduroGP double at round six in Portugal
- Steve Holcombe maintains EnduroGP points lead heading into next week’s finale
- Albin Norrbin secures the top spot in Junior Enduro
After a thrilling day of racing yesterday, today’s action at round six of the Paulo Duarte FIM EnduroGP World Championship was every bit as exciting in Valpacos, Portugal. Despite chewed up special tests and intense heat, competitors raced hard in the Portuguese sun.
Following Saturday’s titanic battle between Josep Garcia (KTM), Steve Holcombe (Beta) and Andrea Verona (GASGAS), the trio picked up where they left off on the first POLISPORT Extreme Test. Making amends for his slow start to day one, Holcombe immediately set the pace by clocking the fastest time and then backed that up by winning the opening JUST1 Enduro Test to claim an early lead over Garcia and Verona.
The fight for fourth was just as intense with TM Racing’s Daniel Milner, CH Racing Sherco’s Hamish MacDonald and teammate Zach Pichon, plus Mikael Persson (Husqvarna) all separated by one second.
Closing out lap one by topping the ACERBIS Cross Test, Garcia gained some ground on Holcombe, but on lap two he got to work topping the Enduro Test and Cross Test, before topping the final POLISPORT Extreme Test to draw within two seconds of the Brit.
For the rest of the day, there would be little to separate them. A crash from Verona on the final JUST1 Enduro Test saw the Italian drop out of the fight for the overall. With a win on the final ACERBIS Cross Test, Garcia incredibly overhauled Holcombe to claim victory.
Behind the top three it was RedMoto Honda’s Nathan Watson who worked his way into fourth. The Brit found some extra pace on the final lap to leapfrog MacDonald and Pichon to claim a well-earned result.
Garcia takes top spot in Enduro1
With his fight for EnduroGP honours pulling him clear of his Enduro1 classmates, Josep Garcia took a commanding victory. The Spaniard ended his day one minute and 40 seconds ahead of Zach Pichon in second with Fast Eddy Racing’s Jamie McCanney third.
Pleased with his day’s performance, Steve Holcombe took victory in Enduro2. The Beta rider was joined on the podium by Andrea Verona in second and Nathan Watson third.
Although losing touch with his EnduroGP rivals, Brad Freeman (Beta) has kept his Enduro3 title hopes on track by securing back-to-back wins in Portugal. Mikael Persson held off JET Zanardo Husqvarna’s Christophe Charlier by one second to take the runner-up result.
Norrbin claims victory in Junior Enduro
In the GALFER FIM Junior Enduro World Championship it was Fantic Factory Racing’s Albin Norrbin who took the win on day two. After losing out to Fantic JET Racing’s Jed Etchells yesterday, the Swede meant business today. With seven test wins from 11, Norrbin topped the classification by 26 seconds ahead of Etchells. Australia’s Kyron Bacon (Yamaha) put in a great ride to claim a debut podium with third.
The Youth Enduro class saw Kevin Cristino (Fantic) make it two wins from two starts in Portugal. The Italian now looks favourite to take the title at next weekend’s final round. Beta’s Leo Joyon placed as runner-up again in Valpacos, with Pietro Scardina (Fantic) rounding out the top three.
The 2023 Paulo Duarte FIM EnduroGP World Championship concludes with the seventh and final round next weekend in Santiago do Cacém in the south of Portugal, October 6-8.
Josep Garcia (KTM): “Going 1-1 in Portugal is an incredible weekend and is the perfect comeback from injury. Today the battle with Steve was awesome, we were pushing so hard in every test. To get the win today by just one second shows how good it was.”
Steve Holcombe (Beta): “I think that was one of the hardest fought second place results I’ve had. The battle all day with Josep and Andrea was brilliant. To come one second short of winning sucks a little, but the racing was so, so close.”
Andrea Verona (GASGAS): “The racing was good today. I was battling with Steve and Josep, but a crash in the final enduro test forced me to slow down. I lost some time to the guys then, but I’m happy to save the day with a podium and get ready for next weekend.”