Excitement is building among enduro fans as the 2024 Paulo Duarte FIM EnduroGP World Championship arrives in Fafe, Portugal for the opening round of the season. Marking the first of seven races, the ACERBIS GP of Portugal will see the many exciting battles to become this year’s world champions begin at what is expected to be a challenging series-opener.


In the premier EnduroGP category, defending champion Steve Holcombe has made an exciting switch to the Honda Racing Redmoto Enduro Team and will look to deliver victory in his debut world championship outing with the Italian outfit. Additionally, the GALFER FIM Junior Enduro World Championship and FIM Women’s Enduro World Championship are wide open and hotly contested, with fresh title contenders set to emerge in Fafe.

  • Seven-round 2024 Paulo Duarte FIM EnduroGP World Championship begins in Portugal
  • Fafe plays host to ACERBIS GP of Portugal for three days of demanding racing
  • True mix of traditional Portuguese terrain set to test world’s best enduro riders

The quiet town of Fafe in the north of Portugal is set to become the focal point of attention for enduro this weekend as the Paulo Duarte FIM EnduroGP World Championship calls it home for round one of the 2024 season. A country that always delivers a true test of enduro, the ACERBIS GP of Portugal has an exciting, demanding, and fun three days of racing in store.

AKRAPOVIC Super Test adds spice to Friday evening

As per tradition, racing begins on Friday evening with the action-packed AKRAPOVIC Super Test in the heart of Fafe town. For 2024, AKRAPOVIC has introduced two new trophies. At each round the leader of the AKRAPOVIC Super Test classification will receive an award. The overall winner at the end of the year will also walk away with a prize of €1,500. Beta Factory Racing’s Brad Freeman claimed the overall win in 2023 and will no doubt be a hotly tipped favourite for victory on Friday evening.

Saturday and Sunday will see the riders get down to business. Event organisers have prepared a 60-kilometre loop that will be ridden three times. Leaving the starting ramp in Fafe, competitors first take on the high-speed ACERBIS Cross Test. A liaison will take them to the MAXXIS Enduro Test, which will no doubt prove itself as one of the most decisive tests of the event. Completing the POLISPORT Extreme Test, riders return to the paddock service to mark the end of each loop.

Holcombe starts EnduroGP title defence with Honda

Following a busy offseason for all riders and teams, the time has now come for everyone to show their hand. Creating the most exciting headlines this winter was the high-profile news of defending EnduroGP and Enduro2 champion Steve Holcombe moving teams. The nine-time world champion departed Beta Factory Racing following a long and successful relationship to join Honda Racing Redmoto Enduro Team. The move also sees the Brit step into the Enduro1 category for the first time in his professional career. Could 2024 become the year Holcombe wins in Enduro1 and in doing so puts the finishing touches to a full set of senior world titles?

As the current Enduro1 World Champion and EnduroGP vice-champion, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Josep Garcia is one rider with a clear plan to stop that happening. The Spaniard boasts explosive speed in the quarter-litre category and will be sure to have the top step of the Enduro1 podium closely guarded in Fafe. Naturally, this is a battle everyone will be closely watching in Portugal and throughout 2024.

Finishing third overall in EnduroGP last year was GASGAS Factory Racing’s Andrea Verona. The Italian had a mixed season in his switch from a 250F to 350F. But having bounced back to his best during the closing stages of the year, the 2022 EnduroGP champion will look to come out on top form this weekend.

Beta Factory Racing’s Brad Freeman arrives at round one eager to put a troublesome 2023 behind him. Despite winning the Enduro3 world title and topping the first five days of racing in EnduroGP, Freeman was hit with injury and ultimately dropped out of EnduroGP title contention. The Brit carries a hand injury into round one but is a rider who can never be ruled out of a surprise performance.

CH Racing Sherco’s Hamish MacDonald completed the EnduroGP top-five in 2023. The New Zealander remains with the same team for 2024 but moves into the Enduro3 category and onto two-stroke machinery. As a rider on the verge of breaking consistently into the top-three, this move could be the motivation the likeable Kiwi needs to become a regular EnduroGP podium contender.

All to play for in Women’s Enduro

For 2024, the FIM Women’s Enduro World Championship is wide open. After claiming her fourth world crown in 2023, Jane Daniels (Fantic) made a high-profile switch to the Dakar Rally for 2024 and won’t be in Fafe to defend her title. With the top step of the podium vacant, we will see a new winner emerge this weekend.

Placing third and fourth in 2023, Francesca Nocera (Honda) and Rosie Rowett (RIEJU) will likely feature strongly, along with Spain’s Mireia Badia (RIEJU) and Britain’s Nieve Holmes (Sherco). Excitingly, USA’s Rachel Gutish (Sherco) joins the EnduroGP paddock for the first time. A two-time winner of the FIM ISDE, Gutish could make history in Portugal as the first American to stand on top of the FIM Women’s Enduro World Championship podium.

Senior ranks hotly contested

While Holcombe and Garcia are the major Enduro1 talking points heading into round one, there are plenty of other riders eyeing up a strong start to the season. Zach Pichon (Sherco) can never be counted out either. Adding in Fast Eddy Racing’s Jamie McCanney and Team Beta Oxmoto’s Theo Espinasse ensures a place inside the top-five will be hotly contested.

With defending Enduro2 champ Holcombe moving to Enduro1, many will see Verona with a clear path to victory. But racing always throws up surprises and Enduro2 is sure to be no different. With some tough competition in the category, Nathan Watson will look to impress in his debut with Beta Factory Racing. Also expect 2022 Enduro2 champion Wil Ruprecht to come out swinging. Junior World Champion Jed Etchells moves up to the senior ranks for 2024 with Fantic Racing Team too.

In Enduro3, it’s Brad Freeman who starts as the defending champion with Beta Factory Racing. The Brit has made the class his own in recent years and despite numerous injuries, he has managed to come out on top. However, with the addition of MacDonald, Fantic’s Albin Norrbin, Marc Sans Soria (Yamaha), and RIEJU Factory Team’s Loic Larrieu to the category, among others, it should create some exciting battles.

Big battles expected in Enduro Junior

In the GALFER FIM Junior Enduro World Championship, a new champion will emerge as Etchells moves up to the senior ranks. Sweden’s Max Ahlin (KTM), France’s Leo Joyon (Beta), and Thibault Giraudon (Sherco) all have the potential to reach the top step in Portugal. Following a dominant season in Enduro Youth, Italy’s Kevin Cristino (Fantic) moves into the Junior class and will look to make his presence felt immediately.

In Enduro Youth, expect fireworks between Luca Colorio (Husqvarna), Alex Puey (Beta), Valentino Corsi (Fantic), and Alfredo Pellicer (Sherco), among others, as they look to establish themselves as the rider to beat.

The opening round of the 2024 Paulo Duarte FIM EnduroGP World Championship gets underway with the ACERBIS GP of Portugal this weekend in Fafe, from April 5-7.

2024 FIM EnduroGP World Championship Calendar

Round 1 – Acerbis GP of Portugal, Fafe – April 5-7
Round 2 – GP of Portugal II, Valpacos – April 12-14
Round 3 – GP of Romania, Bacau – May 10-12
Round 4 – Polisport GP of Italy, Bettola – June 21-23
Round 5 – Polisport GP of Slovakia, Gelnica – July 12-14
Round 6 – ForSiteServices GP of Wales, Rhayader – August 2-4
Round 7 – GP of France, Brioude – September 13-15