The hotly contested Paulo Duarte FIM EnduroGP World Championship sets its sights on round three this weekend in Bacau, Romania. Making a long overdue return to Romania, this will be the first time in 11 years that the world championship has visited the region.

The opening two rounds of the season in Portugal ended with Honda Racing RedMoto Enduro Team’s Steve Holcombe and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Josep Garcia tied at the top of the EnduroGP standings thanks to two race wins each. With three wins from four starts, Fantic Racing Team’s Axel Semb leads the GALFER FIM Junior Enduro World Championship, while Manuel Verzeroli (KTM) is out front in the Enduro Youth category.

  • EnduroGP returns to Romania for first time in 11 years
  • The city of Bacau plays host to round three
  • Steve Holcombe and Josep Garcia tied for EnduroGP points lead

Heading east to Bacau in Romania, the 2024 Paulo Duarte FIM EnduroGP World Championship readies itself for round three this weekend. Following an incredibly exciting start to the season at rounds one and two in Portugal, Romania will provide a new experience for most competitors. Now 11 years since the championship last visited the country, only a few of EnduroGP’s veteran riders will have raced in Romania.

AKRAPOVIC Super Test to get GP of Romania underway

Racing begins on Friday evening with the AKRAPOVIC Super Test located close to the paddock at the Bacau Business and Exhibition Centre. So far, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Josep Garcia has dominated Friday proceedings, winning both AKRAPOVIC Super Tests. In Bacau, the Spaniard will look to make it three wins in a row.

Saturday and Sunday will see riders face two busy days of racing. A 54-kilometre course will be completed three times each day. Leaving the paddock, riders take in a liaison to the ACERBIS Cross test, which is followed by the POLISPORT Extreme Test. After the service point, the MAXXIS Enduro Test will take them back to the paddock to complete the lap. With a total riding time of six hours planned for each day, round three will be a physical one for sure.

No room for error in EnduroGP

At the head of the EnduroGP classification, Honda Racing RedMoto Enduro Team’s Steve Holcombe holds the leader’s red plate. However, the nine-time world champion is tied on points with Josep Garcia. With neither rider wanting to share the championship lead, you can be certain both will fight hard in Bacau to break clear.

To date, the racing in EnduroGP has been nothing short of incredible. GASGAS Factory Racing’s Andrea Verona and Beta Factory Racing’s Nathan Watson have pushed the leading duo all the way. With all four riders often separated by just a handful of seconds at the end of each day, Verona and Watson are clearly capable of taking the top step of the podium in Bacau.

Holcombe’s teammate Samuele Bernardini and Fast Eddy Racing’s Jamie McCanney are also featuring highly in EnduroGP. Both riders have the potential to claim podium results this weekend. Battling injury and illness in Portugal, Brad Freeman (Beta) didn’t enjoy the best of starts to the season. The former EnduroGP champ will look to rectify that in Romania and start fighting for overall wins once again.

Mirroring their performances in EnduroGP, Holcombe and Garcia are also tied for the Enduro1 points lead. It will be exciting to see how this battle continues in Romania. With three podium results to his name, Jamie McCanney is third overall. Only four points clear of CH Racing Sherco’s Zach Pichon, McCanney has no room to relax.

In Enduro2, Verona is edging clear of his classmates thanks to three race wins. However, he has benefitted by a non-score from Watson, who holds the other Enduro2 class win. Sandwiched between them in second position is Bernardini.

Proving consistency is key, TM Racing’s Matteo Cavallo leads the way in Enduro3. He heads Hamish MacDonald by one point. Only two points behind Cavallo lies Freeman in third. Cavallo will need to keep a watchful eye on the Brit if he wishes to hang onto his championship lead in Romania.

Exciting battles set to continue in Enduro Junior

Always exciting, the GALFER FIM Junior Enduro World Championship is enjoying a five-rider battle for the podium. Fantic Racing Team’s Axel Semb leads the way, but behind him things are super close. Teammate Kevin Cristino is second overall to give Fantic a 1-2 after round two. Three points behind Cristino is Max Ahlin (KTM) in third, while Manolo Morettini (Honda) is two points adrift in fourth. Antoine Alix (Beta) completes the top five and is within reach of a top three placing.

After a pretty crazy round one, which saw five riders tie for the Enduro Youth championship lead, Italy’s Manuel Verzeroli (KTM) fought off his rivals at round two to emerge as the clear leader. Verzeroli won both days at the GP of Portugal II, and with his confidence high will look to do so again in Romania. Alberto Elgari (TM Racing) is second, with Romain Dagna (Sherco) third.

The Paulo Duarte FIM EnduroGP World Championship continues with round three in Bacau, Romania on May 10-12.

Championship Standings (After round 2)
1. Steve Holcombe (Honda) 72pts; 2. Josep Garcia (KTM) 72pts; 3. Andrea Verona (GASGAS) 62pts; 4. Nathan Watson (Beta) 41pts; 5. Samuele Bernardini (Honda) 38pts; 6. Jamie McCanney (Husqvarna) 35pts; 7. Brad Freeman (Beta) 34pts; 8. Hamish MacDonald (Sherco) 30pts; 9. Mikael Persson (Husqvarna) 26pts; 10. Zach Pichon (Sherco) 25pts…