Matt Phillips Makes It A Double Win In Portugal
Firmly putting himself back into the Enduro 3 championship fight, KTM’s Matt PHILLIPS (AUS) claimed a nail biting victory on day two in Gouveia.
Christophe NAMBOTIN (F-KTM) delivered a near flawless performance to top the Enduro 1 classification while Antoine MEO (F-KTM) returned to the top step of the podium in Enduro 2.
Elsewhere, day two marked a debut EWC victory for newcomer Steve HOLCOMBE (GB-Beta) in the Enduro Junior class as Laia SANZ (S-KTM) once again dominated proceedings in the Women’s Cup.
Testing competitors to near breaking point, the GP of Portugal’s combination of long and physically demanding special tests, unrelenting terrain and searing heat ensured that the third round of the series was not for the faint hearted.
In the Enduro 3 class it was Matt PHILLIPS who came out on top to secure his second victory of the weekend, putting himself firmly back into the title chase.
Leading the way for most of the day, PHILLIPS overcame a small issue on the final two tests to win the day by one-second from Sherco’s Matti SEISTOLA (FIN).
“It feels great to win both days, told PHILLIPS. “I felt good all day but on the final enduro test I overcooked the rear brake and nearly threw the win away. It was a close margin of victory but a win’s a win. I’m happy.”
Pushing hard to capitalise on PHILLIPS’ mistake, SEISTOLA gave it everything in the final two tests but agonisingly came just one second short of victory.
The battle for the final step of the podium was equally as close as the fight for the win. Edging out Husqvarna’s Mathias BELLINO (F) by one second, TM’s Aigar LEOK (EST) secured third. With BELLINO fourth, Thomas OLDRATI (I-Husqvarna) placed just nine seconds behind in fifth.
There was no stopping Christophe NAMBOTIN on day two in Portugal. Winning all but two of the day’s 10 special tests, the KTM rider claimed a commanding 50-second win. “What can I say, it’s been a perfect day,” commented NAMBOTIN. “My knee is sore but not too painful and I can ride normally. I pushed hard from the beginning and built up a gap and then maintained it. I’m more than happy with this result.” As the only other rider to claim a special test win in E1, TM’s Eero REMES (FIN) ended his day as runner-up to NAMBOTIN. Improving greatly over his previous day’s result, Husqvarna’s Danny MCCANNEY (GB) placed a strong third. Sherco’s Lorenzo SANTOLINO (S) was fourth with Yamaha’s Cristobal GUERRERO (S) completing the top five.
The Enduro 2 class saw KTM’s Antoine MEO (F) return to the top step of the podium to record his fifth win of the series. It was a close victory for the Frenchman – beating championship rival Pela RENET (F-Husqvarna) by 11 seconds. The fight for the runner-up result was even closer as RENET hung on to beat day one winner Alex SALVINI (I-Honda) by just three tenths of a second. “The battle was really close today,” said MEO. “Alex, Pela and myself were constantly fighting for the win. I managed to pull a little gap but it was not enough to allow me to relax until the final test was over. It’s been a great fight.” In contention with the leaders early on, Spain’s Jaume BETRIU (Husqvarna) eventually dropped back as the pace increased to take fourth. Sherco’s Loic LARRIEU (F) completed the top five.
The Enduro Junior class saw EWC newcomer Steve HOLCOMBE (Beta) secure his debut victory. A revelation to the championship since joining at last weekend’s GP of Spain, HOLCOMBE is certainly now one to watch for the remainder of the year. Losing out to HOLCOMBE by six seconds, championship leader Jamie MCCANNEY (GB-Husqvarna) placed as runner-up with Beta’s Giacomo REDONDI (I) joining them on the podium in third. Honda’s Alessandro BATTIG (I) continued his strong run of form to take fourth while Gas Gas’ Diogo VENTURA (P) ended his home race in fifth. In the Youth Cup, Yamaha’s Mikael PERSSON (SWE) knocked Husqvarna’s Josep GARCIA (S) off the top step of the podium to secure his first win of 2015. With GARCIA second, France’s David ABGRALL (Yamaha) rounded out the three.
There was no stopping KTM’s Laia SANZ in the Women’s Cup who claimed a two minute plus margin of victory over Sherco’s Jessica GARDINER (AUS) in second and Husqvarna’s Jane DANIELS (GB) third.
The Maxxis FIM Enduro World Championship now makes its way to Serres for round four and the GP Maxxis of Greece on June 6/7.
Danny McCanney: “Day one started badly as I stalled my bike twice in the opening enduro test, which cost me a lot of time. I felt like I was fighting all day but not getting the results I wanted. I crashed again on the second enduro test, which set me back even more. I kept pushing but I just couldn’t turn things around. I don’t know why but I wasn’t able to put in a clean lap on the enduro test. I made mistakes on laps one and two during the second day but managed to get third, which I’m really pleased with.”
Pela Renet: “It’s been a really tough race. There were so many rocks during each lap that there was no place to relax – it was really hard going both on and off the special tests. The enduro and motocross tests were really hard to ride. It was hard to know if you had to use the ruts or the soft, dust berms on the outsides of the corners. It’s been a real enduro. For my results, well, second place on day two is really good for me. I was a long way behind at the end of the first lap because I took some time to find my rhythm. Things got better and better and I ended up not so far from the first position.”
Mathias Bellino: “I didn’t get the results that I hoped for but it’s certainly not been a disaster. I got some cramps on day one, also made a few mistakes and didn’t have enough speed in the motocross test. I wasn’t far from winning but that’s how it goes some times. Day two was really disappointing. I don’t really know what happened but to miss out on a podium result on the final test is hard. Normally I get stronger during the day, so it wasn’t what I was expecting. But the championship goes on and there is a lot more racing to be done, so I hope that in Greece I will be able to win again.”
Jamie McCanney: “I felt a lot better coming into this event than I did before the GP of Spain, but this race was three times harder so I always knew that I’d find things tough. I’m never great at the super test and I lost a little too much time there, but my main problem on day one was just feeling weak. I was a little off the pace, so I spent some time working out some new lines on the enduro test for day two. That seemed to work because my speed was really good on day two. All in all it was a good weekend and more solid points in the championship.”
RESULTS – FIM ENDURO WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP, ROUND 3 DAY 2
Enduro 1 – 1. Christophe Nambotin (KTM) 1:18:37.23; 2. Eero Remes (TM) 1:19:27.85; 3. Daniel McCanney (Husqvarna) 1:20:31.11
Enduro 2 – 1. Antoine Meo (KTM) 1:18:30.28; 3. Pela Renet (Husqvarna) 1:18:41.34; 3. Alex Salvini (Honda) 1:18:41.66; 4. Jaume Betriu (Husqvarna) 1:20:17.56
Enduro 3 – 1. Matthew Phillips (KTM) 1:19:04.03; 2. Matti Seistola (Sherco) 1:19:05.68; 3. Aigar Leok (TM) 1:19:50.87; 4. Matthias Bellino (Husqvarna) 1:19:52.04; 5. Thomas Oldrati (Husqvarna) 1:20:01.48
Enduro Junior – 1. Steve Holcombe (Beta) 1:20:05.15; 2. Jamie McCanney (Husqvarna) 1:20:11.88; 3. Giacomo Redondi (Beta) 1:20:41.62
Youth Cup – 1. Mikael Persson (Yamaha) 1:20:23.68; 2. Josep Garcia (Husqvarna) 1:20:35.14; 3. David Abgrall (Yamaha) 1:25:52.71
Enduro Women – 1. Laia Sanz (KTM) 1:08:03.54; 2. Jessica Gardiner (Sherco) 1:10:17.73; 3. Jane Daniels (Husqvarna) 1:11:09.91
Championship Standings (After Round Three)
Enduro 1 – 1. Christophe Nambotin (KTM) 114pts; 2. Eero Remes (TM) 104pts; 3. Daniel McCanney (Husqvarna) 79pts
Enduro 2 – 1. Antoine Meo (KTM) 117pts; 2. Pela Renet (Husqvarna) 98pts; 3. Alex Salvini (Honda) 97pts… 5. Jaume Betriu (Husqvarna) 63pts
Enduro 3 – 1. Mathias Bellino (Husqvarna) 103pts; 2. Matti Seistola (Sherco) 99pts; 3. Matthew Phillips (KTM) 91pts… 6. Thomas Oldrati (Husqvarna) 60pts
Enduro Junior – 1. Jamie McCanney (Husqvarna) 109pts; 2. Giacomo Redondi (Beta) 95pts; 3. Alessandro Battig (Honda) 78pts… 12. Albin Elowson (Husqvarna) 19pts
Youth Cup – 1. Josep Garcia (Husqvarna) 117pts; 2. Mikael Persson (Yamaha) 71pts; 3. Jean-Baptiste Nicolot (Yamaha) 48pts
Enduro Women – 1. Laia Sanz (KTM) 80pts; 2. Jessica Gardiner (Sherco) 66pts; 3. Jane Daniels (Husqvarna) 62pts
Day One Report
Alex SALVINI and Matt PHILLIPS claim their first win of 2015 in the Maxxis FIM Enduro World Championship GP Polisport of Portugal. Day one at the GP Polisport of Portugal in Gouveia marked the first victories of the series for Honda’s Alex SALVINI in Enduro 2 and KTM’s Matt PHILLIPS in Enduro 3. TM’s Eero REMES secured a hard fought win in Enduro 1.Three incredibly demanding and technical special tests put the competitors of the EWC through their paces in earnest in Gouveia. With a long day of racing and no time to rest in the Portuguese heat, the end of day one was a welcome relief for all.
In the Enduro 3 class, defending champion Matt PHILLIPS (Aus) finally got his first win of the season on the board. Close but not quite close enough in Chile and Spain, PHILLIPS this time meant business in Portugal. Powering his way forward following a slow start to the morning, the KTM rider caught pace setter Mathias BELLINO (F-Husqvarna) on the penultimate test and hung on to win the day. “I’m definitely pleased to get a win under my belt – it feels like it’s been a long time coming,” told PHILLIPS. “We changed a few things on the bike between Spain and here and it made the difference. Hopefully this is the where we get things back on track.” After a strong opening lap, BELLINO gradually found himself being reeled in by PHILLIPS. With no answer to the KTM rider in the closing stages, the Husqvarna rider slipped from first to second. In check with the leading duo, Sherco’s Matti SEISTOLA (FIN) placed just nine seconds adrift of BELLINO to claim third. Delivering a strong showing on home turf, Luis CORREIA (P-Beta) placed fourth with TM’s Aigar LEOK (EST) completing the top five.
Day one marked the second win of the season for TM’s Eero REMES (FIN) in Enduro 1. Admittedly slow to get going, Remes trailed early leader Lorenzo SANTOLINO (S-Sherco) at the end of lap one. Finding his groove, the Finn fought his way to the front of the field and secured the top step of the podium. “I think I was a little bit asleep on the first lap but after that I sort of woke up and got in the race,” admitted REMES. “When I settled into the tests I was able to push hard. It was a tough day – the toughest of the year so far. And tomorrow will be even harder!” After crashing and hurting his knee on the Friday super test, Christophe NAMBOTIN (F-KTM) needed to dig deep to start day one. With a lot of time to claw back, he won the first special test and steadily fought his way back to the front to secure the runner-up result. Fast from the get-go, Sherco’s Lorenzo SANTOLINO (S), led the E1 class at the end of lap one. With REMES and then NAMBOTIN piling on the pressure, he slipped back to third but still managed to claim his first podium result of the year. Finishing just two seconds shy of the top three, Simone ALBERGONI (I) brought his Kawasaki home in fourth with Husqvarna’s Danny MCCANNEY (GB) rounding out the top five.
Seeing the closest results of the day, the Enduro 2 category delivered a fierce battle for victory between Honda’s Alex SALVINI (I) and KTM’s Antoine MEO (F). Neck and neck throughout the day the pair fought hard to take the win. Keeping his cool as the temperatures soared, SALVINI firmly stood his ground against Meo and recorded a much-deserved win. “Wow, that was a hell of a battle,” commented SALVINI. “The pressure was intense, neither of us wanted to lose. We both gave it everything on the final lap and in the end I managed to get the victory. I’m so happy.” With MEO pushed back to third, Husqvarna’s Pela RENET (F) ended his day in a distant second. Beta’s Johnny AUBERT (F) placed a strong fourth while Jaume BETRIU (S) put his Husqvarna inside the top five with fifth.
The Enduro Junior class saw Italy’s Giacomo REDONDI put his Beta on the top step of the podium. Wining five of the final six special tests, Redondi edged out Husqvarna’s Jamie MCCANNEY (GB) by 12 seconds for the victory. Proving that his double podium result last weekend in Spain was no fluke, EWC newcomer Steve HOLCOMBE (GB) continues to shine on his Beta and placed third. Honda’s Alessandro BATTIG (I) ended his day in fourth with Portugal’s Luis OLIVEIRA (Yamaha) completing the top five. In the Youth Cup there was no touching Husqvarna’s Josep GARCIA (S) as he ran away from the field to take a clear win. Mikael PERSSON (SWE-Yamaha) finished as the runner-up with David ABGRALL (F-Yamaha) third. Jean NICOLOT (F-Yamaha) and Valerian DEBAUD (F-Yamaha) were fourth and fifth respectively.
Claiming a two-minute plus margin of victory, KTM’s Laia SANZ (S) comfortably topped the Women’s Cup. Improving her position from the GP of Spain, Husqvarna’s Jane DANIELS (GB) was the runner-up with Sherco’s Jessica GARDINER (AUS) third. Jessica JONSSON (SWE-Kawasaki) and Blandine DUFRENE (F-KTM) rounded out the top five.
RESULTS – FIM ENDURO WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP, ROUND 3 DAY 1
Enduro 1 – 1. Eero Remes (TM) 1:18:20.53; 2. Christophe Nambotin (KTM) 1:18:36.59; 3. Lorenzo Santolino (Sherco) 1:19:02.02… 5. Daniel McCanney (Husqvarna) 1:19:48.61
Enduro 2 – 1. Alex Salvini (Honda) 1:17:09.16; 2. Antoine Meo (KTM) 1:17:09.77; 3. Pela Renet (Husqvarna) 1:18:04.53… 5. Jaume Betriu (Husqvarna) 1:19:03.40
Enduro 3 – 1. Matthew Phillips (KTM) 1:17:33.04; 2. Matthias Bellino (Husqvarna) 1:17:41.38; 3. Matti Seistola (Sherco) 1:17:51.12… 6. Thomas Oldrati (Husqvarna) 1:19:20.58
Enduro Junior – 1. Giacomo Redondi (Beta) 1:18:55.19; 2. Jamie McCanney (Husqvarna) 57:28.72; 3. Steve Holcombe (Beta) 1:19:07.82… 11. Albin Elowson (Husqvarna) 1:22:56.84
Youth Cup – 1. Josep Garcia (Husqvarna) 1:20:12.84; 2. Mikael Persson (Yamaha) 1:21:44.85; 3. David Abgrall (Yamaha) 1:23:13.53
Enduro Women – 1. Laia Sanz (KTM) 1:05:38.82; 2. Jane Daniels (Husqvarna) 1:07:50.99; 3. Jessica Gardiner (Sherco) 1:08:25.33