The final day of the 2017 Maxxis FIM EnduroGP World Championship – the Acerbis GP of Germany in Zschopau – saw no fewer than three riders secure world championship honours.
Spain’s Josep Garcia (KTM) was crowned Enduro 2 World Champion, Britain’s Brad Freeman (Beta) put the finishing touches to his Enduro Junior campaign, while Germany’s Maria Franke (KTM) secured the Enduro Women’s title following the retirement of her title rival Laia Sanz (KTM). This followed Steve Holcombe claiming the EnduroGP championship win on Day 1.
EnduroGP – Day 1
The opening day of competition at the Acerbis GP of Germany in Zschopau saw the crowning of the 2017 EnduroGP World Champion. Steve Holcombe (Beta) put the finishing touches to his incredible season to win his second Enduro World Championship title in style, topping the EnduroGP class for a fifth time this season and finishing in front of Christophe Nambotin (KTM) and Loic Larrieu (Yamaha).
Unquestionably, day one of the Acerbis GP of Germany belonged to Steve Holcombe (Beta). Entering the event with a commanding 40-point advantage at the top of the EnduroGP championship standings, the British rider put his name to the coveted EnduroGP championship with a controlled class win.
Steve Holcombe – 2017 EnduroGP Champion
“It feels so good to be able to call myself a double enduro world champion. Winning my first title last year was incredible – something I will never forget – but claiming the EnduroGP title this year means so, so much. I’d hoped to wrap up the title in the UK, at my home round of the series, but to win here in Germany with so many true enduro fans is incredible. I’ve had such an enjoyable season – battling with Matt Phillips, Loic Larrieu, Nathan Watson and Christophe Nambotin has been so much fun. I always knew that to win this year I’d have to be even better prepared than I was in 2016. It’s been a lot of work, focus and preparation, but it’s been so worth it. I felt confident coming into this event, but also a little apprehensive. Knowing that I needed just a handful of points was a strange feeling. I don’t feel like I rode at my best at all, but I was relaxed and didn’t make any mistakes. The special tests and the trails here in Zschopau were really cool – real enduro. Winning the championship by topping the EnduroGP podium makes this just that little bit more special. I want to say a huge thanks to my Beta team and all of my sponsors and supporters, their encouragement has had a hugely positive impact on my season. Now it’s time to celebrate…”
Back from the hand injury that forced him to miss the penultimate round of the series in Great Britain, Christophe Nambotin (KTM) proved to be Holcombe’s strongest challenger as the former three-time world champion pushed hard for the win. Topping two of the day’s special tests, Nambotin’s lack of race fitness ultimately saw him fall back from the Beta rider but he nevertheless secured a well-deserved runner-up result.
Finishing on the podium, but seeing the EnduroGP title going to Holcombe, Loic Larrieu (Yamaha) rounded out the podium, just eight seconds behind Nambotin. Matthew Phillips (Sherco) finished fourth and a further eight seconds back while Giacomo Redondi (Honda) rounded out the top five.
Results – EnduroGP of Germany Day 1
Steve Holcombe (GBR), Beta, 53:42.03
Christophe Nambotin (FRA), KTM, 54:04.42 +20.39
Loic Larrieu (FRA), Yamaha, 54:10.58 +28.55
Matthew Phillips (AUS), Sherco, 54:19.03 +37.00
EnduroGP – Day 2
Not needing to prove himself in any way, having lifted the EnduroGP World Championship title with a winning ride on day one, Steve Holcombe (Beta) rounded out the GP of Germany in perfect fashion by topping the result sheets ahead of Loic Larrieu (Yamaha) with Christophe Nambotin (KTM) finishing third.
With the top three riders separated by 44 seconds, fourth placed Matthew Phillips (Sherco) placed close to two minutes behind.
“Winning the title yesterday was amazing, but finishing the championship with a double class win is pretty special. It’s my first double class win, and I wanted to make sure I won the Mika Ahola Enduro Test award. The conditions certainly made things tougher today, but it was great – a real enduro. To finally have a wet race was a nice way to end the championship.”
Results – EnduroGP of Germany Day 2
Steve Holcombe (GBR), Beta, 58:27.64
Loic Larrieu (FRA), Yamaha, 58:57.98 +30.34
Christophe Nambotin (FRA), KTM, 59:12.38 +44.74
Matt Phillips (AUS), Sherco, 1:01:03.58 +2:35.94
Giacomo Redondi (ITA), Honda, 1:01:05.51 +2:37.87
EnduroGP Final Standings
Steve Holcombe (GBR), Beta, 350 points
Loic Larrieu (FRA), Yamaha, 302
Nathan Watson (GBR), KTM, 259
Matt Phillips (AUS), Sherco, 252
Christophe Nambotin (FRA), KTM, 222
Enduro 2 – Day 1
In the Enduro 2 class Danny McCanney (Husqvarna) claimed his first victory of the series, placing ahead of championship leader Josep Garcia (KTM) and brother Jamie McCanney (Yamaha). With little to separate the leading three E2 class riders throughout the day, it was Jamie who topped the opening test.
Danny topped the day’s second test, fourth place finisher Davide Guarneri (Honda) put in the fastest time on the third test before Danny again topped the results sheet on test four.
“Obviously, I wanted to be doing this (winning) earlier in the year but to finally get a win feels great, I felt really confident throughout the day and I was able to push hard during the enduro test, which I really liked. I didn’t make any mistakes, made a strong start to the day, and managed to get the win. It was a very close battle with myself, Josep and Jamie.”
For much of the day Jamie McCanney (Yamaha) held the runner-up spot but a mistake on the final extreme test cost him dearly. Finishing 17th in class on the test in question, he fell behind championship rival Josep Garcia (KTM) in the day’s eventual result, as the Spaniard took the runner-up result.
With Jamie placing third, Davide Guarneri (Honda) improved his speed as the day progressed to finish just nine seconds from the podium. Pascal Rauchenecker (Husqvarna) and Eero Remes (TM) rounded out the top six.
Following heavy overnight rain the 16th and last day of 2017 EnduroGP World Championship was unquestionably a challenging one. Needing to claim just a handful of points, Josep Garcia made a strong start to the day as he battled with McCanney brothers Jamie and Danny at the top of the Enduro 2 class.
Easing his pace a little as the day neared its close, Garcia’s fifth place result was more than enough for the Spaniard to win his first world championship title.
“I don’t really have the words to describe what it feels like to be world champion. This is a victory for all of the team. It was a difficult day today, with the rain we had last night, but I like muddy conditions. Also, I had some points on my side, so I knew that I didn’t need to win to secure the championship. I pushed hard enough, but without taking any chances. It’s been an incredible year.”
With Garcia lifting the Enduro2 World Championship, Jamie McCanney (Yamaha) ended his season on a high note with victory over his brother Danny – winner on day one.
“This has been my best GP for the season and I’m really happy about it. I’ve left it for a bit late maybe, but I made some changes coming into the weekend. I always knew the speed was there but I always felt like something was missing during the season. Now I found it and this is where I need to be. I liked the tests here in Germany and I was well-prepared for the GP. I got faster and faster as the weekend went on and that was really positive. I’m really happy I got the win on Saturday. On Sunday I had two crashes early in the morning so I knew it would be a struggle to catch back up with the leading riders. I had another crash in the extreme test but kept pushing hard to end the day with second in Enduro 2.”
Claiming his 13th podium of the season, Jamie finished four seconds ahead of Danny with Finn Eero Remes (TM) 58 seconds behind in third.
“I really enjoyed it here in Zschopau – this is what enduro is all about. The crowd were amazing and the tracks were great. I am disappointed my results weren’t a little better, but all in all the end of the season has been good for me.”
Danny McCanney (GBR), Husqvarna, 254
…8. Daniel Sanders (AUS), KTM, 187
Enduro Juniors – Day 1
From 44 points adrift of the Enduro Junior World Championship class lead at the start of the season Brad Freeman is now one-point ahead with one-day of the series remaining, thanks to possibly the most important victory of his career.
Completing the opening day’s competition without mistakes, Freeman placed 10 seconds ahead of Swede Albin Elowson (Husqvarna) with Davide Soreca (Honda) third.
“It’s been a great day, I didn’t ride my best, but I did enough as the other riders were the ones making mistakes. The tests were great and the number of spectators on all of the special tests was great to see. Like I said, I rode ok, but not great. I really want to win this championship, so I’ll be giving day two everything. To even be in a position to possibly win the title is pretty amazing considering where I was at the start of the season.”
Enduro Juniors – Day 2
One of the closest championship battles was played out in the Enduro Junior class where Brad Freeman (Beta) and Davide Soreca (Honda) took the fight for championship honours down to the very last special tests.
With Freeman looking like he’d done enough to win having opened up a healthy lead with just one lap remaining, a rear brake issue during the final enduro and extreme tests saw Soreca close to within five seconds with just the final motocross test remaining.
Posting the second outright fastest time, Freeman topped the special test, the day and with it the championship.
“What a day. What a season. I can’t believe it. I was having a great day, doing exactly what I needed to do, and was about 30 seconds ahead. I was ready to calm things down and just make sure I got to the finish when three corners into the final enduro test a stick went through my rear brake and jammed it on. It kept sticking on, I lost about 15 seconds. Then I lost my rear brake all together. I rode the final extreme test with no rear brake, which was interesting. It pretty much all came down to the final cross test and I went for it. I gave it everything. I’m so, so happy. From missing the opening round of the series in Finland I can’t believe I’m world champion.”
Woman’s – Day 1
Separated by just 0.17 of a second, Maria Franke (KTM) and Laia Sanz (KTM) finished close to five-and-a-half minutes ahead of third placed Jane Daniels in the Woman’s class, as they continued their battle for title honours.
With Franke’s win halving Sanz’ points advantage at the top of the championship to just three points, the two riders have everything to go for and nothing to lose on the final and deciding day of the EnduroGP World Championship.
Woman’s – Day 2
In the Woman’s class the head-to-head battle between Maria Franke (KTM) and Laia Sanz (KTM) failed to materialise as Sanz was forced to retire after just two special tests following a technical issue. Winning the day by more than two minutes, Maria Franke secured her first ever world championship title.
“My dream was always to win a world title in motocross but to win an enduro title here in Germany is incredible. I worked hard during the off-season to be ready to challenge for this title, and that hard work was certainly worth it. I feel sorry for Laia because it is never nice to have technical problems. But this is a very special moment for me, it’s great to finally win a world championship.”
Enduro Women Final Standings
Maria Franke (DEU), KTM, 141 points
Jane Daniels (GBR), Husqvarna, 122
Laia Sanz (ESP), KTM, 119
Jessica Gardiner (AUS), Yamaha, 69
Mireia Badia (ESP), Husqvarna, 48
125cc Enduro Youth – Day 1
In the 125cc Enduro Youth class it was Chilean Ruy Barbosa (Husqvarna) who claimed victory, finishing 23 seconds ahead of series newcomer Belgian Matthew Van Oevelen (Sherco) with Leo Le Quere (TM) third, just 1.21 seconds behind.
125cc Enduro Youth – Day 2
France’s Leo Le Quere (TM) brought his participation in the 125cc Enduro Youth championship to a winning close, topping the class by 47 seconds.
Third on day one, Le Quere topped each of the day’s opening six special tests on day two before easing his pace and securing the win. Ruy Barbosa (Husqvarna) claimed the runner-up result with Finn Roni Kytonen (Husqvarna) rounding out the podium.
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