2021 FIM EnduroGP World Championship
Round 3 – GP of Estonia
The weekend saw the 2021 BORILLI FIM EnduroGP World Championship continue at Round 3, the GP of Estonia, in Saaremaa, with KTM’s Josep Garcia taking his first overall win of the season on Day 1, only to follow up with another win on Day 2. Australia’s Wil Ruprecht settled for second behind Garcia in the E2 class, and ran 5-5 overall.
Conditions at Saaremaa were hot, dry and very physically demanding. A mixture of soft sandy terrain and hard pack trails ensured a thorough test for both riders and their machines.
Confident that the hot and dry conditions would favour him Garcia finally recorded his first win of the season on day one, hitting the ground running with the fastest time in Friday’s Akrapovic Super Test.
Australia’s Wil Ruprecht was quick to fight back. Topping the Nerve by Just1 Extreme Test, he put his TM out front and the battle was on as Freeman also joined in on the action. The trio were pushing hard, with no-one able to make a clean break.
Mistakes by Ruprecht on the Champion Enduro Test saw him lose touch as Garcia found another gear on the final lap to claim an eight-second margin of victory over Freeman. With a flyer of a final lap, Verona raced his way into contention. Fastest on the final Extreme Test he secured third by less than two seconds over Italy’s Davide Guarneri.
The Enduro1 category was once again a battle for victory between the Italian pairing of Verona and Guarneri. With little to separate the duo throughout the day, it all came down to the final test. With the clock stopping in Verona’s favour, he picked up his fourth win of 2021.
France’s Antoine Magain edged out Samuele Bernardini by four seconds for third, with Davide Soreca completing the top five.
The Enduro2 class began as a two-horse race between Garcia and Ruprecht with the duo immediately establishing themselves at the head of the field. However, with mistakes for Ruprecht coming in the second half of the day, it gave Garcia the breathing room he needed. Pulling clear to claim a 79-second winning margin, he ended his day a happy man.
With Ruprecht ending his day in second, the fight for the final step of the podium was played out between Hamish MacDonald and Steve Holcombe, with MacDonald eventually taking it by 10 seconds.
The Enduro3 category was yet again the Brad Freeman show as the Beta rider stamped his authority on the proceedings. With a more-than comfortable one-minute and forty-five second margin of victory, Freeman claimed his fifth win of the year.
It wasn’t all plain sailing however, with Freeman finally losing two special tests. Spain’s Jaume Betriu claimed one to end his day as runner-up, while Sherco’s Danny McCanney took the other to finish third. Husqvarna duo Jamie McCanney and Andrew Wilksch rounded out the top five.
The TM duo of Pavoni and Macoritto ruled the roost in Enduro Junior, with Pavoni holding command over his teammate. Despite some impressively fast times set by Macoritto, Pavoni matched that speed with consistency to claim the top stop for the fourth time.
Macoritto enjoyed the lion’s share of test wins with eight, but will need to eliminate those mistakes to put his TM on top. Sherco’s Leo Le Quere ended his day in third, while Sergio Navarro and Max Ahlin were fourth and fifth respectively.
After ending the opening days in Portugal and Italy as runner-up, Norrbin finally reversed that trend to take victory in Enduro Youth. The young Swede was on fire on familiar terrain, powering clear to a convincing 52-second margin of victory. Finland’s Pyry Juupaluoma made his first appearance of 2021 for second, with Kevin Cristino third.
Day two in Estonia was all about two riders – Freeman and Garcia. From the off the duo positioned themselves at the head of the EnduroGP field, setting a pace out front no other rider could match. Freeman remained in control for the majority of the day and looked to have the Spaniard beaten in the ever-deteriorating conditions.
Freeman was strongest in the Champion Enduro Test, while Garcia proved faster in the Acerbis Cross Test. Entering the final test of the day, the short Akropovic Super Test, Garcia knew he needed to give it everything to overcome his two second deficit to Freeman. Doing exactly that, he emerged victorious and showed himself as a new title threat to point’s leader Freeman ahead of next weekend’s GP of Sweden.
Josep Garcia – EnduroGP Winner
“Finally everything came good for me here in Estonia and I was able to claim the victory in both Enduro2 and EnduroGP. It was hard work, but after winning day one, I knew if I stayed focused, I should be in the fight for day two as well. I made a few mistakes on Saturday and had a couple of crashes, thankfully nothing too serious and it didn’t lose me too much time. On Sunday, I had one crash, but I think Brad did too, and the battle with him stayed really close. We were pushing the limits all day, in every test. Arriving at the last test less than two seconds behind, I knew I had to give it my all – if I crashed, I crashed, but I had to make up those seconds to take the win. Thankfully, the test was perfect, and I was able to claim another victory in EnduroGP. It’s an amazing feeling and I’m really looking forward to going to Sweden now, hopefully for more of the same.”
Finding his way onto the podium for the second day in a row, it was another strong performance from Verona. Clearly enjoying the deep sandy terrain, the GASGAS rider held off his Enduro2 classmate Davide Guarneri for third overall. Still feeling the effects from his crashes on day one, Will Ruprecht had to be content with fifth.
Beginning to show itself as a two-horse race, the Enduro1 honours were again fought out between Verona and Guarneri. With both riders pushing each other in the overall standings, they ended their day over 90 seconds clear of the field.
Verona however got the better of Guarneri again to take the win. In a change of positions, Samuele Bernardini recorded his second podium result of the year with third, while Davide Soreca ensured Italy swept the first four positions in Enduro1. Sweden’s Kilip Bengtsson was fifth and will look to improve on that on home soil next weekend.
Andrea Verona – E1 Winner
“It’s been a very positive weekend for me here in Estonia. After my home GP I really wanted to continue in a positive way, despite the change of terrain, and that has worked out just like I hoped. Everyone knew that with the soft, sandy ground here in Estonia the special tests would change a lot during the GP and they did. Day one was really good. It was another big battle with Davide Guarneri, but that helped me. We were pushing each other so much, it helped me get onto the overall EnduroGP podium as well, which was great. Day two was really tough – the special tests were so, so rough. I had two crashes where I lost some very important seconds, but in the end things were very good for me with another win. I had to work really hard, but to be heading to Sweden after these two Enduro1 class wins is very, very good.”
With the EnduroGP win in one hand, Garcia took home the Enduro2 victory with the other. The Spaniard was nearly all but untouchable in the sandy terrain, claiming 11 of the day’s 12 Enduro2 special test wins.
Admittedly not at his best following his crashes on day one, Ruprecht had to settle for the runner-up result. Gaining momentum in this year’s championship, New Zealand’s Hamish MacDonald carded another third place finish in Enduro2. A tough weekend for Steve Holcombe (Beta) saw the Brit place fourth, while Eero Remes (TM) finished fifth.
Making no mistakes today, Freeman dominated Enduro3 as his battle with Garcia for the overall saw him win in E3 by a massive two minutes and eight seconds. Behind him, Sherco’s Daniel McCanney found an extra turn of speed to leap past Spain’s Jaume Betriu (KTM) and into second place.
Slipping down to third for the first time in 2021, Betriu completed the podium. Again, the Husqvarna duo of Jamie McCanney and Andrew Wilksch rounded out the top five.
Turning the tables on his teammate, Macoritto raced his way onto the top step of the podium in Enduro Junior. Having showed he had the pace on day one to win, he matched it with consistency on day two to get the job done. Despite his best efforts of securing a double victory by winning the final two tests, Pavoni couldn’t bridge the gap to Macoritto and finished second.
Moving up the leaderboard, Sergio Navarro secured his first podium result of the year with third following a close battle with Sherco’s Leo Le Quere. Sweden’s Max Ahlin took fifth.
Another dominant win by Albin Norrbin puts him in the driving seat in Enduro Youth. The Swede was on flying form and will start as the rider to beat in his home race next weekend.
Ensuring an all-Scandinavian affair on the podium, Finland’s Pyry Juupaluoma and Samuli Puhakainen were second and third respectively. Kevin Cristino and Albert Fontova completed the top five.
MCNEWS.COM.AU is a specialist on-line resource that provides motorcycle news for motorcyclists. MCNews covers all areas of interest for the motorcycling public including news, reviews and comprehensive racing coverage.