Spain’s Josep Garcia has won round two of the World Enduro Super Series, storming to victory at France’s Trèfle Lozérien AMV. In testing conditions, the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider became the first non-French winner in the 33-year history of the race. With Yamaha’s Jamie McCanney and Nathan Watson finishing second and third respectively, it also marked the first time a French rider placed outside the top three.
For 2019, the second round of the WESS championship proved a challenge for the 600-plus riders competing. Continuous rain and occasional fog throughout the three days of racing at France’s most-prestigious Enduro – Trèfle Lozérien AMV – ensured the 719 kilometres of riding were both physically and mentally demanding for all.
Trèfle Lozérien AMV Day 1
Day 1 of Round 2 of the World Enduro Super Series saw Spain’s Josep Garcia performed best on the wet, grassy special tests of the Trèfle Lozérien AMV to claim victory. With heavy rain greeting competitors on the opening day of racing, Garcia secured a 20-second winning margin over teammate Nathan Watson, with Yamaha Outsiders’ Jamie McCanney completing the top three.
After last weekend’s Hard Enduro opener in Portugal, the second stop of the 2019 series saw riders click into Classic Enduro mode. For day one of the Trèfle Lozérien AMV, the 600-plus entry were faced with over 200 kilometres of riding and five timed special tests. After a cold and damp start to the day, the forecasted rain arrived, ensuring a testing wet, muddy and slippery day in the saddle for all.
At the head of the field it was McCanney who led the way after the opening special test with Watson, Jeremy Tarroux and Garcia in tow. On the second special test Garcia hit his stride. Topping the time sheets, he took over control of the race lead and was never headed. Sweeping the remaining three tests, the Spaniard ended day one with a 20-second lead.
Behind Garcia the battle for the remainder of the top three was close. Showing that consistency pays off, Watson held firm and second, edging out McCanney by less than three seconds. Despite focused on Rally for 2019, Yamaha mounted McCanney showed he’s lost none of the speed that took him to the runner-up position in the 2018 Enduro World Championship, slotting into third.
Christophe Nambotin (Gas Gas – FRA) 22:37.079 +51.932
Jonny Walker (KTM – GB) 22:40.582 +55.435
Trèfle Lozérien AMV Day 2
Spain’s Josep Garcia extended his lead with victory on day two of the Trèfle Lozérien AMV, in France. Setting a blisteringly fast pace in the fifth and final test of the day, the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider leap-frogged his way from third to first in dramatic fashion.
The second day of racing at France’s most-prestigious Classic Enduro saw the 600-plus competitors greeted with continued wet and challenging conditions. Adding to the difficulty, fog blanketed the opening two special tests. The weather improved around midday, but rain in the afternoon, for the last and closing test, kept everyone guessing as to what was around the next corner.
Garcia continued to set the pace by topping the opening special test. However, with the top four riders separated by less than one second, the competition was fierce.
Julien Gauthier edged out Garcia by one tenth of a second to claim the fastest time in the second test, while Nathan Watson – seventh on the opener – began to work his way up the leader board by stopping the clocks as third quickest.
Keeping the racing unpredictable, Yamaha’s Jamie McCanney became the third different winner in as many tests, putting his name at the top of the time sheets for special test three finishing ahead of Gauthier, Jeremy Tarroux and Joseph Wootton.
Nearly five seconds behind McCanney, Garcia saw his early morning work undone and slipped to fourth overall. On the penultimate test, Garcia had regained his composure to top the time sheets for the second time. With numerous riders watching how the rain was affecting conditions, Garcia threw caution to the wind and went on the attack. Delivering arguably one of the day’s finest performances, the Spaniard blasted his way around the muddy sub-three-minute test in style to win the day.
Christophe Nambotin (Gas Gas – FRA) 20:30.336 +29.096
Theo Espinasse (Sherco – FRA) 20:32.402 +31.162
Joe Wootton (Husqvarna – GB) 20:38.005 +36.765
Jonny Walker (KTM – GB) 20:49.243 +48.003
Trèfle Lozérien AMV Day 3
With victory on days one and two, Garcia entered the third and final day of racing as the rider to beat. Holding a 30-second advantage over McCanney and Jeremy Tarroux (Sherco – FRA), the race was his to lose.
Second fastest to McCanney on the opening test, Garcia then won tests two and three. With victory almost his, another second fastest time on the penultimate test set things up for the 15th and final special test of the three-day race. With rain falling heavily, he kept things safe to cross the finish line as a first-time winner of Trèfle Lozérien AMV and victor of round two of the World Enduro Super Series.
Behind him, the battle for the remainder of the podium places was fierce. Helped in part by setting the quickest time on the opening test this morning, McCanney held his ground over his rivals to take the runner-up result.
Entering the final special test it was all to play for between Watson and Julien Gauthier for third. Gauthier had just one tenth of a second in hand over the KTM rider. With both riders putting it all on the line, Watson edged out Gauthier by just over one second to snatch the final step of the podium in the last few moments of the race.
For Gauthier it was not to be and with his fourth place result it also marked the first time in the event’s history that a French rider wasn’t present in the top three positions. After a strong ride on day two, Tarroux slipped down to fifth, with teammate Theo Espinasse completing the top six.
The eight-round World Enduro Super Series continues with round three at Austria’s Erzbergrodeo Red Bull Hare Scramble on May 30 – June 2.
“To get my first WESS victory of 2019, and also to create a little piece of history by being the first non-French winner here at Trèfle Lozérien, is amazing. The conditions really didn’t suit me – I’m not really a big fan of wet, slippery mud. But I pushed hard on all special tests and, well, everything went perfectly. Coming here straight from Extreme Lagares wasn’t easy but I knew this race was going to be important to my WESS championship.”
“Right from when I started walking the special tests here in France I knew Josep Garcia would be the rider to watch. When conditions weren’t too wet, or when they suited the 450 more, I managed to win some tests. And I’m really pleased about that. But Garcia was really strong throughout the event. I’ve been away from enduro racing for some time now, firstly getting over a shoulder injury and surgery and then focusing on rally. To come here and get the result I’ve got is really great. Despite the weather it’s been a great event. I can’t say if I’ll be back for more WESS racing, but I’d love to compete at Hawkstone if my schedule allows it.”
“I’m really happy with third overall. This is the first Classic Enduro I’ve raced since this event 12 months ago, so I came into it a little unsure what to expect but also confident that it would suit me. I had a consistent three days and kept things upright over the 15 special tests, which was really important. I’ve really enjoyed racing the 450 – being able to keep things smooth in these conditions has really helped me. Things were really close coming into the final test, just half a second between third and fourth overall. Thankfully, I managed to jump up one position to third, which was a great way to end the race.”
“Le Trefle has been wet, cold and muddy but it’s actually been good and I’ve enjoyed the riding. The tests were really slippery but really fun with a lot of different line choices. I haven’t ridden much enduro lately, the last classic enduro that I did was Le Trefle last year. I’d have liked to have raced more but because of my injury it’s not been possible. Anyway, I’m happy with the way the weekend has gone. I would like to be higher up in the results than I am, but considering that this year there are more top-level riders I’m happy with my result.”
WESS Results Round 2 – Trèfle Lozérien AMV 2019
Josep Garcia (KTM – ESP) 01:03:07.557
Jaime McCanney (Yamaha – GB) 1:03:49.586 +42.029
Nathan Watson (KTM – GB) 1:03:55.612 +48.055
Julien Gauthier (Yamaha – FR) 1:03:57.013 +49.456
Jeremy Tarroux (Sherco – FR) 1:04:10.136 +1:02.579
Theo Espinasse (Sherco – FR) 1:05:04.311 +1:56.754
Christophe Nambotin (Gas Gas – FR) 1:05:10.817 +2:03.260
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