EnduroGP 2019

Round 2 – Portugal

Images: EnduroGP.org, Herve Pradal/Mastorgne Photography


Portuguese EnduroGP Day 1

The first day of the Portuguese EnduroGP was held under bright sunshine in Valpaços, where the physical condition and strength of the riders was put to the test over the course of seven hours of riding.

Steve Holcombe took on the day in his usual dominant and consistent style, and he was able to really make the difference on his favourite –  the Enduro Test, which is very long test in Portugal. Increasing his advantage with every pass through this demanding test, Holcombe built up a comfortable lead. The Brit won a total of five tests on Saturday, making him the best ‘performer’ of the day.

Steve Holcombe

“It was absolutely fantastic, everything went well. Even though I had some difficulty getting myself into the rhythm this morning. I’ll be honest this kind of terrain is really not my strong point but I’m delighted to dominate today. Now i’ll rest and try to attack again tomorrow”

EnduroGP Portugal Steve Holcombe
Steve Holcombe – Image by Future7Media

The battle to accompany him on the overall podium was superb, between Alex Salvini, Loic Larrieu, Brad Freeman, Danny McCanney and Giacomo Redondi. By midday the top 10 was covered by just 30 seconds.

Brad Freeman struggled with the first Enduro Test of the day, where he lost 14 seconds on Holcombe and fell to third overall. Gradually the Beta Boano rider managed to work his way back up again by winning three tests. He had to give his all to finish second overall.

Alex Salvini wanted to forget the unfortunate start to the season he suffered in Germany. In a good rhythm from the beginning of the day, the Italian worked hard all day to hold on to his second place overall and fight off Brad Freeman.

It was a fantastic fight between the two riders! Even at the start of the fourth and final lap the gap was a tiny eight-thousandths of a second. Finally Salvini conceded the second place to Freeman, but “Rocky” was satisfied to be able to show a glimpse of his real form.

EnduroGP Portugal Larrieu
Loïc Larrieu

There was a big disappointment for Loïc Larrieu, who was forced to give up after a broken engine on his 300cc TM. The Frenchman fought for the podium for most of the day. His bike was fixed in time for Day 2.

Fourth on the day, Danny McCanney had to fight against fierce opponents in the form of Christophe Charlier, who came fifth – putting in a nice performance riding with a broken toe. Giacomo Redondi finished sixth on the day and he looked impressive on the Maxxis Cross-Test.

Meanwhile, Eero Remes had a difficult day, an error on the third Technomousse Extreme Test lost him a lot of time. The Finn is still getting used to riding his Yamaha 450, but he salvaged seventh place.

EnduroGP Portugal Freeman
Brad Freeman

In E1, Brad Freeman took another strong victory, finishing ahead of a consistent Davide Guarneri and an impressive Matteo Cavallo.

Brad Freeman

“Steve is really on another planet, so I focused on my own battle with Salvini and it was good to fight with him. I’m tired and I can tell you it was one of the hardest days of racing in my career​.”

In the highly contested category E2, Salvini took the honours in front of Charlier and Redondi. Finally, in E3, the victory naturally went to Steve Holcombe , ahead of an ever fast McCanney and France’s Anthony Geslin.

Alex Salvini

“What a pleasure to fight at the front again! I really want to thank my team, my bike was perfect. I was riding a little bit hurt after my falls in the Italian Championship, but today I felt good all day. I’m ready to give it all again tomorrow.”

EnduroGP Portugal Salvini
Alex Salvini

In the Junior category, the fight was absolutely fantastic between the dicing duo composed of Will Ruprecht and Andrea Verona. Leading all morning Ruprecht made a small mistake in the third Extreme Test. From then on, he could not do anything to fight off Verona, with the Italian recovering strongly from bike issues at the start of the day.

Will Ruprecht

“Unlike Germany, I’m not as disappointed with my performance. I fought well all day. I still suffered a lot in the second half of the day and I still need to work on my fitness and my adaptation to living in this new hemisphere.”

EnduroGP JohanssonMPE Wil Ruprecht fotoCarolineJoelsson
Wil Ruprecht – Image by Caroline Joelsson

After Verona got the bike back to his liking, the Italian produced an incredible effort and managed to take over the lead at the end of the third lap! Ruprecht held on to a handy second place. Third overall on the day was Enric Francisco who finished ahead of Jack Edmondson fourth.

Andrea Verona

“I tried some new parts on my bike after the training day but then I decided to go back to my previous settings because I wasn’t in the flow of things. It was a good idea to make the adjustments because I was able to attack again as I like to do. It’s great to have another victory and I’m super happy.”

The J1 category podium consisted of Verona, Ruprecht, and Theo Espinasse. In J2 Francisco took his second win in a row after a debut victory in Germany. Edmondson and Ruy Barbosa rounded out the top three.

In Youth 125cc, Hamish MacDonald left little chance for his opponents. He won eight tests and finished second in all the others. His winning margin was an amazing 57 seconds ahead of a fantastic Claudio Spanu, who worked very hard to come back from a five second penalty. Matteo Pavoni was third in the Youth class, finishing just seven seconds behind compatriot Spanu.

In the Champion Lubricants Enduro Open Cup, the giant from the Isle of Man – David Knight imposed himself on the Senior category. He won in front of Andrea Belotti and local rider Fernando Ferreira.

In Open 4-stroke, Tom Ellwood was unstoppable, leaving Fraser Flockhart and Mathias Van Hoof to round out the podium. Belgium’s Van Hoof was thrilled with his first world level podium.

Goncalo Reis was the hero of the day for the local fans! The Portuguese rider took top honours in the Open 2-Stroke category. His compatriot Joao Lourenco was second, and Spaniard Jorge Paradelo Rodriguez third.

EnduroGP Results Day 1

  1. Steve HOLCOMBE
  2. Brad FREEMAN
  3. Alex SALVINI
  4. Daniel MCCANNEY
  5. Christophe CHARLIER
  6. Giacomo REDONDI
  7. Eero REMES
  8. Davide GUARNERI
  9. Matteo CAVALLO
  10. Thomas OLDRATI
  11. Benjamin HERRERA
  12. Hugo BLANJOUE
  13. Antoine BASSET
  14. Anthony GESLIN
  15. David ABGRALL
EnduroGP Portugal Steve Holcombe
Steve Holcombe – Image by Future7Media

E1 Day 1 Top 3

  1. Brad FREEMAN – United Kingdom
  2. Davide GUARNERI – Italy
  3. Matteo CAVALLO – Italy

E2 Day 1 Top 3

  1. Alex SALVINI – Italy
  2. Christophe CHARLIER – France
  3. Giacomo REDONDI – Italy

E3 Day 1 Top 3

  1. Steve HOLCOMBE – United Kingdom
  2. Daniel MCCANNEY – United Kingdom
  3. Anthony GESLIN – France

Junior Day 1 – Top 3

  1. Andrea VERONA – Italy
  2. Wil RUPRECHT – Australia
  3. Enric FRANCISCO – Spain

J1 Day 1 – Top 3

  1. Andrea VERONA – Italy
  2. Wil RUPRECHT – Australia
  3. Théophile ESPINASSE – France

J2 Day 1 – Top 3

  1. Enric FRANCISCO – Spain
  2. Jack EDMONDSON – United Kingdom
  3. Ruy BARBOSA – Chile

Youth 125 Cup Day 1 – Top 3

  1. Hamish MAC DONALD – New Zealand
  2. Claudio SPANU – Italy
  3. Matteo PAVONI – Italy

Portuguese EnduroGP Day 2

On the second day of racing in Valpaços, riders set off for another three laps in the tough Portuguese terrain. The weather was much the same as day one – warm and dry, but the special tests were rougher. One of the biggest questions of the season was answered today – who can beat quadruple World Champion Steve Holcombe?

Brad Freeman was the one to topple his compatriot! The Beta Boano rider showed his strength all day long, but the gaps were still tiny between Freeman and his rivals. The Brit kept his focus and pulled out a gap over the usually dominant Holcombe. And so the youngster won his first overall Grand Prix in 2019 and boosts his confidence for the next round in Spain next week.

Brad Freeman

“It was a great day, but it wasn’t without mistakes! Steve and I both made mistakes and fell several times. The hard work i’ve put in this winter has paid off with this overall victory in Enduro GP, it’s just incredible ….I’ll try to do the same thing in Spain next week!”

EnduroGP Rnd Bradley Freeman
Brad Freeman

Steve Holcombe had been hoping for four victories from four days of racing. The factory Beta rider instead had to settle for the second step on the overall podium. A little tired from his efforts the day before, Holcombe still threatened Freeman all day.

Steve Holcombe

“It’s been good to get back into the swing of things after such a strong start to the championship in Germany. Naturally, it would have been nice to win both days but a first and second is pretty good. Saturday pretty much went to plan, like I hoped it would. With the style of special tests we had this weekend I could see that not too many line options were going to form and so on the opening two laps I really wanted to push hard and capitalise on that. I managed to build up a decent lead before the final lap to take the win. I went with the same tactic for Sunday, but to be honest there wasn’t as much of an advantage to be gained – there was really only one fast line. I led lap one, but on the second enduro test I caught a rock with my front wheel and ended up in a bush. I did what I could after that, but ultimately, I missed my chance at winning. On a positive, I still gathered good points for the championship and know it was only one mistake that cost me. We’ve round three in Spain next weekend and I’m looking forward to going there with the speed I’m showing.”

EnduroGP Rnd Germany Steve Holcombe
Steve Holcombe – Image by Future7Media

Alex Salvini was solid and strong again on Day 2. He was able to see off his opponents one by one, starting with Davide Guarneri who had been set for the final step of the EnduroGP podium. And so ‘Rocky’ finished third overall on Day 2, and he’ll go to Spain in good spirits.

Several riders were tested to the max throughout this second day of racing. Danny made a big mistake in the first Technomousse Extreme Test, but the TM rider pulled it back for another good performance – he won a test and leaves Valpaços in 4th position. The Manxman’s performance will have pleased the team, as their other rider Loïc Larrieu was unable to start following a mechanical failure on Day 1 that wasn’t fixed in time.

Honda Lunigiana rider Davide Guarneri put in another impressive performance and he fought well all day. The Italian finished 7th overall on the day. Also on a Honda, the Frenchman Christophe Charlier took his second top five overall of the weekend. “CC” is pleased with his progress on the Honda CRF450.

Davide Guarneri

“This weekend was complicated but I am happy with my results, I led in the E1 class for a while and I was even temporarily on the podium in EnduroGP. I know my weakness lies in the Extreme tests, so I know where I have to work to improve my results.”

EnduroGP Portugal Guarneri
Davide Guarneri

The duel in E1 was a great one, and Brad Freeman won and ahead of Davide Guarneri and 2018 Junior World Champion Matteo Cavallo.

Alex Salvini was delighted with his second consecutive victory in E2. He took the top step ahead of Christophe Charlier and Eero Remes. Loïc Larrieu really lost out this weekend with a DNF and a DNS.

Alex Salvini

“What a fabulous weekend! I came with the goal of making my mark in the E2 class. And now that I’ve achieved that I want to increase my general level and fight it out for victory in the EnduroGP class.”

EnduroGP Portugal Salvini
Alex Salvini

Despite losing out on the overall victory today, Steve Holcombe still took top honours in the E3 class. In fact, the podium was identical to that of Day 1 with Holcombe accompanied by Mccanney and Anthony Geslin.

By a tiny margin of just 9 seconds, Spain’s Enric Francisco conceded overall Junior victory against Andrea Verona. Ivan Cervantes’ protege had a solid race all day, but a mistake in the last Enduro Test cost him time, and the ‘shark’ Andrea Verona was ready to attack after stalking his rival closely all day. However, impressive Francisco will carry a lot of confidence into his home GP next week in Santiago de Compostela.

Four out of four is the formidable statistic of Andrea Verona. So far, the TM rider has been near faultless in the Junior category. After this exemplary start to the season, Andrea hopes to keep up this pace and continue his winning streak.

Everyone expected Will Ruprecht to be on at least one podium today, but instead it was Jack Edmondson who stepped up to snatch the third step on the overall podium. The Sherco rider suffered with the heat this weekend, but he found enough energy and coupled this with his silky smooth riding style to finish this Portuguese weekend on a positive note.

EnduroGP JohanssonMPE Wil Ruprecht Joakim Johansson fotoCarolineJoelsson
Wil Ruprecht – Image by Caroline Joelsson

Meanwhile the friendly Australian, Ruprecht, finished 2 minutes 30 behind Verona on this very tough Sunday. We’re sure he’ll be back for more next weekend.

The classification in J1 was Verona ahead of Theo Espinasse and another Frenchman, Thomas Dubost.

In J2 Francisco and Edmondson were accompanied by the class rookie Ruy Barbosa.

Enric Francisco

“Andrea was really strong today, I fought hard, but I made a big mistake and he managed to beat me. I am very happy with this weekend and that gives me confidence before my home GP in Spain. Thanks to my coach, Ivan Cervantes, and the whole team for their support.”

What a display by Hamish MacDonald in the Youth 125 class! The New Zealander signs off his 4th success of the season. He finished Day 2 with a slightly smaller lead than the first day as he admitted making a few mistakes towards the end of the day. But it’s a clean sweep for the Kiwi nevertheless.

MacDonald was joined on this Sunday podium by Alejandro Navarro and Claudio Spanu.

In the Champion Lubricants Enduro Open World Cup, the results were almost identical to those of Day 1. David Knight won the Senior class ahead of Ferreira who moved up one place compared to Saturday. Andrea Belotti completed the top three.

In the Open 2-Stroke class it was another popular victory for Portugal’s Goncalo Reis. He beat compatriot Joao Lourenco and Spain’s Jorge Paradelo Rodriguez.

In Open 4-Stroke, Tom Ellwood took his second win of the weekend. Fraser Flockhart and Mathias Van Hoof were second and third once again.

There’s not long for the riders to rest and recover after this punishing weekend, as next week they’ll head to the third round of the season and the Grand Prix of Spain in Santiago de Compostela. A huge and heartfelt ‘thank you; goes out to the organisers of this Grand Prix of Portugal, they gave us a fantastic event and the whole of the FIM Maxxis Enduro World Championship agreed that the organisation was brilliant.

EnduroGP Results Day 2

  1. Brad FREEMAN
  2. Steve HOLCOMBE
  3. Alex SALVINI
  4. Daniel MCCANNEY
  5. Christophe CHARLIER
  6. Eero REMES
  7. Davide GUARNERI
  8. Matteo CAVALLO
  9. Benjamin HERRERA
  10. Giacomo REDONDI
  11. Antoine BASSET
  12. Thomas OLDRATI
  13. Hugo BLANJOUE
  14. Anthony GESLIN
  15. Diogo VENTURA
EnduroGP Portugal Steve Holcombe
Steve Holcombe – Image by Future7Media

EnduroGP Standings

  1. Steve HOLCOMBE 77
  2. Brad FREEMAN 69
  3. Daniel MCCANNEY 58
  4. Alex SALVINI 41
  5. Christophe CHARLIER 33
  6. Eero REMES 32
  7. Matteo CAVALLO 32
  8. Davide GUARNERI 28
  9. Thomas OLDRATI 25
  10. Benjamin HERRERA 24

E1 Day 2 Top 3

  1. Brad FREEMAN – United Kingdom
  2. Matteo CAVALLO – Italy
  3. Davide GUARNERI – Italy

E1 Standings

  1. Brad FREEMAN 80
  2. Davide GUARNERI 62
  3. Matteo CAVALLO 62

E2 Day 2 Top 3

  1. Alex SALVINI – Italy
  2. Christophe CHARLIER – France
  3. Eero REMES – Finland

E2 Standings

  1. Alex SALVINI 64
  2. Christophe CHARLIER 58
  3. Benjamin HERRERA 50

E3 Day 2 Top 3

  1. Steve HOLCOMBE – United Kingdom
  2. Daniel MCCANNEY – United Kingdom
  3. Anthony GESLIN – France

E3 Standings

  1. Steve HOLCOMBE 80
  2. Daniel MCCANNEY 68
  3. Anthony GESLIN 56

Junior Day 2 – Top 3

  1. Andrea VERONA – Italy
  2. Enric FRANCISCO – Spain
  3. Jack EDMONDSON – United Kingdom
    …13. Wil RUPRECHT – Australia

Junior Standings

  1. Andrea VERONA 80
  2. Enric FRANCISCO 55
  3. Théophile ESPINASSE 54
  4. Jack EDMONDSON 52
  5. Wil RUPRECHT 52

J1 Day 2 – Top 3

  1. Andrea VERONA – Italy
  2. Théophile ESPINASSE – France
  3. Thomas DUBOST – France
    …7. Wil RUPRECHT – Australia

J1 Standings

  1. Andrea VERONA 80
  2. Théophile ESPINASSE 64
  3. Wil RUPRECHT 58

J2 Day 2 – Top 3

  1. Enric FRANCISCO – Spain
  2. Jack EDMONDSON – United Kingdom
  3. Ruy BARBOSA – Chile

J2 Standings

  1. Enric FRANCISCO 77
  2. Jack EDMONDSON 71
  3. Ruy BARBOSA 52

Youth 125 Cup Day 2 – Top 3

  1. Hamish MAC DONALD – New Zealand
  2. Alejandro NAVARRO HUERTAS – Spain
  3. Claudio SPANU – Italy