After four intense months of setup for the Moto Club Mazanais and Gils’on Tracks the Grand Prix of France arrived, with Steve Holcombe taking the E3 win, and sharing the EnduroGP victories with Alex Salvini.
In EnduroGP, while Steve Holcombe started the day strong, building a gap of more than 18 seconds ahead of Brad Freeman and Alex Salvini. After two intense duels in Saturday’s closing Super Straight, “Salvo” snatched the win by only 71 hundredths of a second!
The Jolly Racing Team rider pushed hard to keep himself just 14 points behind Holcombe in the ultimate title fight. Freeman completed the podium, but he had to fight hard at the end of the day to keep Finland’s Eero Remes behind him by just 4 seconds. Loïc Larrieu closed out the top five.
In addition to the EnduroGP class, Salvini also took victory in the Enduro 2 class and stretched his advantage over Eero Remes and Loïc Larrieu a little more. Behind this trio, who have taken many podiums this year, Thomas Oldrati took another fourth position that confirms his good form at the moment. He left no chance for Deny Philippaerts who finished 5th, almost 2 minutes behind the 2008 Junior World Champion.
In E1, Brad Freeman grabbed his 6th victory in a row and consolidated his place at the top of the category. He is now 26 points ahead of his compatriot Jamie McCanney. Fighting hard, the Outsiders Yamaha rider injured his hand and dropped his pace, leaving the way open for the Beta Boano rider.
This time, we do not find Antoine Basset on the podium… After achieving eight podiums in a row, the Frenchman could not resist the speed of Davide Guarneri as the Italian completed the podium. Yohan Lafont, impressive today, took 5th place.
In Enduro 3, Holcombe again dominated proceedings with more than 59 seconds of advantage on the Factory Gas Gas rider Danny McCanney. After a bad start early in the day, Christophe Namobtin was able to overhaul his compatriot Anthony Geslin in the last special to take 3rd place. While Romain Dumontier worked hard for 5th place in front of Argentina’s Cristian Arriegada.
Fresh Junior World Champion Matteo Cavallo also won the J2 victory ahead of Joe Wootton and Jack Edmondson while Andrea Verona climbed on the top step of the J1 podium on Day 1 ahead of Théo Espinasse and Kirian Mirabet.
Finally in Youth 125cc, Ruy Barbosa set the record straight after the disappointment of the Italian Grand Prix. The Chilean won the day by more than 13 seconds ahead of Dan Mundell.
Much more comfortable in the mud, the New Zealander Hamish Macdonald could not resist the onslaught of Barbosa and Mundell and even the Spaniard Gerard Gomez, who climbs onto the podium, 9 seconds ahead of Macdonald. A nice performance from Didier Valade’s protege at Sherco Academy, Robin Filhol completed the Top 5.
This first day has been indecisive in several categories but equally it brought us the first World Champion of the 2018 season: Matteo Cavallo.
Enduro GP Result – Day 1
E1 Result – Day 1
Mathieu DOVEZE France
E2 Result – Day 1
E3 Result – Day 1
With the dust changing the original plans of the Moto Club Mazanais on the second day of the French EnduroGP it was finally proposed to run a three lap Enduro Sprint race…
This was sufficient for Steve Holcombe who increased his gap in the EnduroGP Championship on his rival Alex Salvini. However, the Italian was unlucky with an electrical problem… and while he was able to finish the day, this problem made him lose more than a minute in Special Test 4.
“I came to the track early this morning to check the special tests again. I was not really happy with my second place yesterday. The plan today was to avoid the stupid falls that cost me the victory. I did that! With the misfortunes of Salvini, I can arrive in Germany a little calmer, even though the plan remains to win!”
At the end of the race, Salvo salvaged 12th position and was relegated to 30 points behind Holcombe in the provisional standings! Even with Salvini out of contention, the day was still not easy for the factory Beta rider who had to beat a very pacy Christophe Nambotin, something he was only able to do in the final special.
Spectators also witnessed a duel until the end between Eero Remes and Christophe Charlier, for the final step on the podium. The Finn won the war by only 25 hundredths of a second! Loïc Larrieu was also targeting the podium, but he could not face down the top quartet and had to be satisfied with fifth place, just a few seconds ahead of Danny McCanney…
“From the first corners I felt good today despite the broken ground and when I learned about Alex’s mechanical problems, I decided to push even more. The battle was great with Charlier. Now everything is still to play for in Germany and I intend to put my cards on the table.”
With his victory in the main class, Steve Holcombe leaves with a double win in Enduro 3. But he had to face a Christophe Nambotin who was keen not to let his young rival beat him in front of the French fans! The Brit will need to wait a little longer to own the World Champion’s plate.
Gas Gas’ Danny McCanney completed the podium and consolidated his third place against Anthony Geslin, the Frenchman in top form this season but more at home in the mud than the dust. Romain Dumontier took another Top 5 in front of his compatriot Jean – Charles Schneider and the Argentinian Cristian Arriegada.
The woes of Alex Salvini in fifth, have once again shaken up the E2 category since his first pursuer in the provisional Eero Remes won the day in front of Christophe Charlier who finally returned to the podium after a very unlucky season so far.
“Really satisfied with this podium after my DNF the day before and my disappointments this season. It’s good for my mentality even if finishing second by 25 hundredths of a second behind Remes leaves me with a slightly bitter taste… “
Loïc Larrieu closed the podium in front of Thomas Oldrati. A special mention goes to Cédric Soubeyras who, at his first participation in an Enduro and in honour of Mathias Bellino finished in eighth position. In the classification, Salvini is now only 14 points ahead of Remes… The German Grand Prix will be intense for both of them!
In Enduro 1, it was once again Brad Freeman who proved unbeatable… although not without pain! The Beta Boano rider started the day very badly by falling twice in the first special. Courageous and carrying on despite a painful shoulder, he still took victory by just 99 hundredths of a second in front of a determined Jamie McCanney.
“It was a tough day for me with two crashes in the first test. The first one was just 10 meters after the start, and the other one shook me up since I hit a tree. I have had big pains in my shoulder since then… so I can say I’m lucky and happy to leave here with a double win because Jamie deserved it just as much today.”
“I’ve put some great times in during the special tests over the weekend and this is positive. I rode fairly reserved and did not make any mistakes. Overall, I feel that there’s still a lot to give. Following my injury in June, I don’t feel I have reached 100% of my potential yet. The racing has been quite intense over the weekend here in France and there was not so much time to recover after each test. I see this GP as an improvement following my performance last time out in Italy. On day two I did put everything on the line for the victory. I just need some time to get back to where I was in the beginning of the season. Hopefully I can get back even stronger for the season finale in Germany.”
Once again, Davide Guarneri prevented Antoine Basset from getting on the podium in front of his home crowd. While Eemil Pohjola, fifth, got the better of Wild Card Yohan Lafont.
In the Junior classes, it was thought that Matteo Cavallo would relax a little after lifting the Junior World Champion’s crown the day before… nothing of the sort! Jarno Boano protégé, however badly he started the day, finished in top spot once again, and setting at the same time the best time in all the categories combined on the last special test.
Cavallo won at the expense of a charging Joe Wootton who shone throughout the day… Andrea Verona climbed onto the last step of the Overall Junior podium in front of his teammate Davide Soreca and Jack Edmondson.
Once again in J2 it was Cavallo who won. He is getting ever closer to the victory in the J2 World Cup. Completing the podium on Day 2 were Joe Wootton and Davide Soreca, returning from surgery. Andrea Verona was able to win the J1 World Cup crown, one round before the end of the season.
The 2017 Youth Champion has put together a very strong debut in the Junior category, which also saw him take victory again today ahead of Emanuele Facchetti and Théo Espinasse.
Finally, this Grand Prix of France witness the crowning of a second World Champion in the form of Ruy Barbosa. The deal was simple, the talented Chilean had to win the day to be crowned World Youth 125cc Champion … “Job done” as he won the day by almost 20 seconds ahead of the Finn Roni Kytonen.
“What a feeling! It’s amazing to say that I’m World Champion tonight … and in addition I enter the history of Enduro as the first Chilean to be crowned, what more could I ask for? Thank you very much to Franco MAYR and Jolly Racing Team for their trust in me for the last three years. Thanks also to Alex (SALVINI) for his valuable advice! It’s a dream come true!”
His most serious rival for the title before today, Dan Mundell had to be content with fourth place, pipped at the end of the day by one of Ivan Cervantes’s protégés in the RFME team, Sergio Navarro Huertas. Finally, New Zealand sensation Hamish MacDonald closed out the Top 5 in Youth just ahead of Gerard Gomez.
The curtain has fallen on this particular Grand Prix of France in several aspects. But a a huge “hats off” to the Moto Club Mazanais and Gils’on Tracks must be given for the weekend in the south of France and for the challenge of replacing a Grand Prix in less than four months! See you on the 13th and 14th of October in Rüdersdorf, Germany, for the grand finale of this 2018 season!
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