Larrieu wins WESS Round 3
Jonny Walker retains WESS Championship lead
The World Enduro Super Series Round 3, France’s Trèfle Lozérien AMV, has been won by Yamaha’s Loic Larrieu, while Jonny Walker retains his overall championship lead.
With the outcome of this year’s overall victory going right down to the 15th and final special test of the three-day race, it was Larrieu who could finally breathe easy after claiming his debut victory at France’s most important Classic Enduro.
Pushing him all the way, rising French talent Theo Espinasse claimed second for Sherco Factory Racing, while a day three win for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Josep Garcia (ESP) lifted him to third in the overall classification.
With three manufacturers filling out the top three podium positions, Yamaha continued their domination of the event by securing their 20th win. In the WESS championship standings, a very impressive 10th overall by KTM’s Jonny Walker sees the Brit maintain his championship points lead.
For day three of the Trèfle Lozérien AMV the starting order of the 600 competitors was reversed allowing the amateur riders to lead the pro riders out on the 150-kilometre long Circuit de la Margeride course. With a more defined racing line cut into the special tests it lessened the advantage of some of the grass track specialists.
Eager to make up for Friday’s lost time, Garcia was on a charge from the off and immediately set the fastest time on the opening special test from Larrieu and Julien Gauthier (Yamaha – FRA), while provisional leader Emmanuel Albepart (Yamaha – FRA) was nearly five seconds back in 10th.
As the day continued, so too did Garcia’s unrelenting pace. Fastest on tests two, three and four, the Spaniard had worked his way back into winning contention with just one stage remaining. With everything to play for, Larrieu held advantage as the new provisional leader, but nothing was certain.
Determined to make it third time lucky at the Trèfle Lozérien AMV, Larrieu laid everything on the line to deny Garcia a clean sweep of day three tests wins and in doing so secured victory at the third stop of WESS. Despite a seventh-place finish on day three, Espinasse had enough in hand to maintain his runner-up position in the event. Spurred on by his day three performance, Garcia ended round three in third overall and just one second behind Espinasse.
Not enjoying the best of days, Albepart slipped off the top step of the podium to fourth, while Gauthier — consistent throughout — completed the top five. Gas Gas Factory Racing’s Johnny Aubert (FRA) finished a comfortable sixth, while just four hundredths of a second separated Nathan Watson (KTM – GB) and Jeremy Miroir (Husqvarna – FRA) in seventh and eighth respectively. Pierre Vissac (FRA) brought his Beta home in ninth.
Putting in a consistently strong performance throughout the three-day race, Walker’s final position of 10th was enough to ensure he maintains his lead in the WESS championship after three rounds.
The World Enduro Super Series continues with round four at Red Bull Romaniacs in Sibiu, Romania on July 24-28.
“I’ve been trying to win this race for three years, so to finally get it done is a special moment for me. With it included in WESS it certainly added to the pressure, competition and prestige. It’s always been important to win here but this was probably one of the most competitive years yet. After my mistake on day one I came back well and just chipped away at things, always fighting for the race lead. It was only until I finished the final special test that I could think about celebrating. Also helping Yamaha to their 20th victory in this race means a lot too.”
“I’m so happy to take second place this weekend. With it being a round of WESS there’s so many fast riders here and the competition is very tight. In general, it’s been a very good three days of racing. I felt strong all weekend and despite still only being a Junior rider I was able to race and beat some of the world’s best Enduro riders, which is incredible for me.”
“Today was really good fun and I am happy to take the win. The conditions were the same for all the riders and I was able to show my speed. On the first two days the tests were very slippery and, on the Friday, I made a small mistake and hurt myself a little. Luckily, it wasn’t too bad and I was able to carry on. The fans here have been amazing and it has been great to race with 600 other riders. I will go home now and take a week off to rest, after that I’ll start to concentrate on Romaniacs – it will be my first time there so I am looking forward to it.”
“I’ve really enjoyed my time here in France. Despite initially feeling out of my comfort zone in Classic Enduro I feel like I adapted well. Tenth overall is a strong result to take away from round three. There are some incredibly fast grass track specialists and so it was always going to be tough to challenge for a podium result. But to finish 10th and also increase my lead in the series is fantastic.”
“It’s been a fun weekend and definitely worlds apart from last weekend’s Erzbergrodeo. I have done a couple of Classic Enduro races in preparation for Trèfle Lozérien but this race is very unique in terms of the slippery, grassy special tests. I was happy with my riding on day one but struggled on day two to find a decent rhythm and so dropped a bit of time. I was recovering well on day three but had a small technical issue and lost a lot of places. Now I’m looking forward to getting back into Hard Enduro mode and preparing for Romaniacs in July.”
“With this race coming a couple of days after the Erzbergrodeo I always knew it would be difficult. Winning Erzberg took a lot out of me both in terms of preparation and the race itself. I hadn’t raced Classic Enduro for many years either and had to ease my way into things. Despite a few small crashes there were no major dramas and although I’d love a better result I’m pleased enough – I always knew it would be difficult to do well here. Romaniacs is next on the list and of course the focus is to go there and win.”
Results: WESS Round 3 – Trèfle Lozérien AMV
- Loic Larrieu (Yamaha – FRA) 51:05.319
- Theo Espinasse (Sherco – FRA) 51:16.117
- Josep Garcia (KTM – ESP) 51:16.819
- Emmanuel Albepart (Yamaha – FRA) 51:18.943
- Julien Gauthier (Yamaha – FRA) 51:21.246
- Johnny Aubert (Gas Gas – FRA) 51:39.191
- Nathan Watson (KTM – GB) 51:56.348
- Jeremy Miroir (Husqvarna – FRA) 51:56.388
- Vissac Pierre (Beta – FRA) 52:18.748
- Jonny Walker (KTM – GB) 52:35.836
Day 3 Classification
- Josep Garcia (KTM – ESP) 17:08.788
- Loic Larrieu (Yamaha – FRA) 17:21.666
- Julien Gauthier (Yamaha) 17:31.299
- Johnny Aubert (Gas Gas – FRA) 17:31.366
- Nathan Watson (KTM – GB) 17:31.529
- Jaume Betriu (KTM – ESP) 17:31.544
- Theo Espinasse (Sherco – FRA) 17:34.476
- Albin Elowson (Husqvarna – SWE) 17:38.474
- Emmanuel Albepart (Yamaha – FRA) 17:39.675
- Jeremy Miroir (Husqvarna – FRA) 17:40.896…
World Enduro Super Series (After Round 3)
- Jonny Walker (KTM – GB) 2130pts
- Manni Lettenbichler (KTM – GER) 1865pts
- Billy Bolt (Husqvarna – GB) 1830pts
- Graham Jarvis (Husqvarna – GB) 1818pts
- Taddy Blazusiak (KTM – POL) 1445pts
- Josep Garcia (KTM – ESP) 1425pts
- Paul Bolton (KTM – GB) 1262pts
- Wade Young (Sherco – RSA) 1220pts
- Travis Teasdale (Beta – RSA) 1030pts
- Nathan Watson (KTM – GB) 1008pts…