You really had to be in Santiago de Compostela to witness the incredible turn around in the weather, as EndurGP battled it out, as after torrential rains and strong winds at the start of the week in the ‘holy city’, the first day of competition at the FIM Maxxis Enduro World Championship played out under pristine blue skies.
The tests were filled with a Spanish fans ready to enjoy watching the best riders in the world. Despite the sunshine, conditions on the track remained tricky – water sections and mud were both on the menu for Day 1. EnduroGP riders a fantastic battle throughout all four laps, with Brad Freeman taking his second victory in a row after his success last Sunday in Portugal. The Beta Boano rider controlled his race very well, Steve Holcombe was left in the wake of his young compatriot. Freeman took the lead of the race on the second Enduro Test of the day, and never looked back. The Brit fully confirms his status as the most serious rival of Holcombe.
Second today, Steve Holcombe should still be satisfied with this result, the Beta Factory rider took another podium in EnduroGP and a fresh victory in E3.
For the third time this season Britain reigns, locking out the podium. Danny McCanney completed a full English EnduroGP podium, the TM rider working hard to grab this result. He first had to see off Alex Salvini and then control Loic Larrieu, by the end of the race, McCanney even managed to get within five seconds of Holcombe.
The fight between Salvini and Larrieu for fourth and 5th place was absolutely breathtaking until the last test of the day. The Frenchman was anxious to erase his double DNF from Portugal. When he started the last test, the TM rider had just under two-seconds ahead Salvini and his Honda. After a big push in the final test, he crossed the line with a six-second advantage on his rival.
In the E1 category, Brad Freeman pocketed his fifth victory in as many races. Winning ahead of Thomas Oldrati and another Italian, Matteo Cavallo.
In E2, at the end of the suspense, Loic Larrieu took the win over Alex Salvini. Giacomo Redondi completed the podium.
In E3, despite not feeling his best, Holcombe took his fifth win of the season ahead of McCanney and an impressive David Abgrall third.
For the first time this season, Andrea Verona led the whole day in the Junior category, the TM rider topping seven tests, leaving only a few crumbs for his opponents. Verona remains focused on his main objective – the Overall Junior World Title.
On great form since the beginning of the season, Enric Francisco has not managed to overhaul the leader of the Junior rankings. But the Spanish rider had the better of most of his other competitors to take a very nice second place at home. Jack Edmondson was third overall on the day. The Sherco rider managed to get the better of his team-mate, Theo Espinasse and Wil Ruprecht who both tried to threatened the Brit for the last podium spot.
In J1, Verona topped the podium ahead of Espinasse and Ruprecht. In J2 it was Francisco in front of Edmondson and Till De Clercq.
It was difficult to choose which news was the most important of the day in Youth 125cc. We will start with the injury of the leader of the category, Hamish MacDonald who fractured his collarbone on the third Enduro test of the day. The Sherco rider was evacuated and taken care of at the local hospital. Before his accident, the New Zealander was running in an unusual second place, having previously won 4 out of 4. We hope to see him again soon and wish him a speedy recovery.
Nathan Bererd today became the first Frenchman to win a Youth 125 round since Léo Le Quere in 2017. Leading all day, the Frenchman did not suffer from any incident to disrupt his dominance today. He took more than a minute on Claudio Spanu, while Sergio Navarro, took his first ever podium at his home race.
In the Champion Lubricants Enduro Open World Cup Champion, the same riders were once again filling the podiums. David Knight won the Senior class for the fifth time this season, ahead of Fernando Ferreira and Enrique Vega Gonzales.
In Open 2-Stroke, there was another win for Portugal’s Goncalo Reis, he won against Benet Gomez and Jorge Paradelo Rodriguez.
In Open 4-Stroke, Tom Ellwood is the reference to watch this season, with a 100 per cent success rate for the Kawasaki rider. Jilani Cambre and Fraser Flockhart completed the podium of the day.
The second day of the Spanish Grand Prix, the third round of the FIM Maxxis Enduro World Championship, saw another beautiful summer day greet all the competitors and even more spectators flooded the specials. The main difficulty for riders was to adapt to the terrain which had suffered from the passage of so many motorcycles the previous day.
Brad Freeman gave a double blow to his competitors, the British rider won for the second time on Iberian soil. The Beta Boano rider this time had to scrap with Danny McCanney to win, with Freeman very disciplined all day, keeping out of trouble. He won five tests and finished second on the tests four times. This more than satisfactory result propels him to the head of the EnduroGP standings. He pulls five-points out on former leader Steve Holcombe.
“Being the leader of my class was already a dream for me. So leading the EnduroGP class too is a crazy feeling for me. I am delighted with how the day went for me. And I’m so happy to have been able to fight all day with Danny McCanney. I am sad for what’s happening to Steve, we are all here to fight at the forefront within tenths of a second, I hope he gets back in shape as soon as possible.”
Second place on the day went to Danny McCanney, he had to settle for this position despite a world-class performance. Undisputed leader during the first lap, the Manxman was then caught and outgunned by Freeman. The objective of the TM rider was to keep lead of E3 ahead of Holcombe. What we take from this Portuguese GP – Danny McCanney may be close to winning his first victory in EnduroGP.
Sunday also saw a debut victory for Italy’s Giacomo Redondi, “Red” was very strong this weekend and was satisfied to have won all the Maxxis Cross Tests on this second day. The JET Racing rider just keeps getting stronger. Could the 2016 Junior World Champion be the surprise of the season?
“What a joy to win my first victory at the highest level in E2. This podium in EnduroGP also means a lot to me. Team Zanardo and I have been progressing constantly since the beginning of the season. I cannot wait to be back on track at the GP of Greece in a month’s time.”
Alex Salvini and Loïc Larrieu fought all day, but this time, it was Salvini who got the better of the Frenchman.
Steve Holcombe meanwhile has been suffering with since Germany. The four-time world champion has been diagnosed with a virus than can only be treated with a lot of rest, while the Beta Factory rider’s career is not necessarily very compatible with a fast recovery. Given his state of health, Holcombe was heroic. He drew on all his reserves to finish the day in sixth position. He left this Iberian tour in second position in the provisional standings, trying hard to defend his crown.
In the E1 category, Freeman won his sixth victory in six races, finishing ahead of Davide Guarneri and Matteo Cavallo.
In E2 Redondi celebrated his first victory in a Senior class. He demoted Salvini and Larrieu to second and third. However, Salvini remains leader of the E2.
In E3, McCanney finished ahead of Steve Holcombe for the first time this season. Steve Holcombe remains leader in E3 after the Iberian tour, and was second for the day. Meanwhile, David Abgrall took his second podium of the weekend.
“I started today really well by winning the first two tests of the day. Maybe I attacked a bit too early. But in the meantime I am quite satisfied with my tour, and I am confident for the rest of the season.”
Andrea Verona loves his TM Racing bike, but day two was nevertheless more difficult for him thanks to the pace of the Sherco riders. Theo Espinasse and Jack Edmondson were indeed very strong on this second day. They finished second and third respectively.Enric Francisco, a little tired from his efforts the day before, finished fourth on the day.
“What can I say? The 6th victory in as many races is a wonderful reward for all the work that TM and I have done. I feel very good this season, I want to continue with this pace.”
In J1, Verona was ahead of Espinasse and an impressive Roni Kytonen, while the J2 category went to Edmondson, followed by Francisco and Emanuele Facchetti.
Pavoni beat Spanu by the smallest gap in the history of the 125cc Youth Cup in the absence of Hamish MacDonald, winning the day on the very last test by an incredible 0.06 of a second! Day 1 winner Nathan Bererd finished third. Frustrated at being beaten by such a little gap, Spanu can nevertheless be satisfied to take the top of the category ranking.
“What a crazy weekend, yesterday I had to give up due to a mechanical problem and today I won, I am very happy for the whole Beta Boano team who work very hard for all of us since the beginning of the season.”
In the Champion Lubricants Enduro Open World Cup, David Knight has a solid six out of six in the Senior class. He topped the class ahead of Fernando Ferreira and Enrique Vega Gonzalez.
In Open 2-Stroke Portugal’s Goncalo Reis took his fifth victory of the season. He won ahead of Jorge Paradelo Rodriguez and Benet Gomez.
Finally in Open 4-Stroke, Tom Ellwood got his fourth victory. He is aiming for the title in the category. Jilani Cambre and Fraser Flockhart completed the podium.
The Iberian tour ends after four days of absolutely fantastic racing. The exhausted riders and teams will have a little over a month to recover from their efforts. The next round – the Greek Grand Prix will already mark the mid-season point of the FIM Maxxis Enduro World Championship.
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