2022 FIM EnduroGP World Championship
EnduroGP of Portugal – Round Two
Aussie Wil Ruprecht raced to overall victory on the opening day of the WPTGlobal FIM EnduroGP World Championship’s GP of Portugal, the TM rider put together a sensational day racing, through super challenging terrain and the all-important third and final lap of the day in Peso da Regua.
In topping the results, he claimed his first overall EnduroGP class victory of the season while countryman Daniel Milner came home in P14 overall, as sixth E2 rider. New Zealand’s Hamish Macdonald finished the opening day in seventh.
Ruprecht went on to claim claim his second EnduroGP win of 2022 on day two with an even more dominant victory, making for a perfect weekend and the Australian now leads the overall EnduroGP class with two rounds of the series completed. Milner claimed another 14th place finish on Day 2, this time as seventh E2 rider.
Ruprecht worked extremely hard for the win on Day 1 and was joined on the podium by KTM’s Josep Garcia who finished in a close second. Andrea Verona (GASGAS) completed the EnduroGP podium on the opening day of racing at round two.
Recharged following last weekend’s season-opening ACERBIS GP of Spain, the WPTGlobal FIM EnduroGP World Championship served up another tough day in the saddle, this time on day one of the GP of Portugal in Peso da Regua. With darkness falling on Friday night’s AKRAPOVIC Super Test, Josep Garcia (KTM) managed to top the time sheets, despite being the final rider to take to the start.
With Saturday beginning with a wet and slippery start, it was Sherco-mounted Hamish MacDonald who mastered the technically demanding JUST1 Enduro Test to top the time sheets. In doing so he established himself at the top of an early battle for the lead ahead of Ruprecht and Josep Garcia (KTM), with the Spaniard a further eight seconds back in third.
The tables turned slightly on the following ACERBIS Cross Test as Ruprecht set the quickest time to edge himself in front of MacDonald. The New Zealander was refusing to be out done and in posting the fastest time in the AKRAPOVIC Super Test, MacDonald was back in the lead as they began lap two of three.
After the POLISPORT Extreme Test on lap two, MacDonald looked to be on course to take a debut EnduroGP category win as the 2020 Junior champion headed the field by a very impressive 11 seconds over Ruprecht and Garcia. However, a major crash on the final JUST1 Enduro Test would prove the undoing of MacDonald. Crashing, injuring his knee, and losing over one minute and 47 seconds, the Sherco rider tumbled down the running order and will have to wait another day to claim that elusive EnduroGP win.
MacDonald’s loss was Ruprecht’s gain, as the Australian began the final three tests of the day with a near 10-second lead. Garcia gave chase, and despite a blisteringly fast AKRAPOVIC Super Test, he couldn’t overhaul his rival.
Behind the top two, Verona rode a relatively lonely race. Unable to bridge the gap to the leaders he placed 46 seconds adrift of Ruprecht, while also heading fourth placed Thomas Oldrati (Honda) by 71 seconds. Beta Factory Racing’s Brad Freeman toughed out day one for fifth, finishing eight tenths of a second behind Oldrati.
“This victory tastes good – it was hard fought for. It was a shame to see Hamish crash out of the fight because we were having an incredible battle. The pace was hot up front, and I think I’ve a few places I can improve on, to push again for the win tomorrow.”
Josep Garcia – P2
“It worked out into a good day at the end, but I lost some time in the beginning. The Enduro Test was not my best on the first two laps, and I lost ground there. I got into the swing of it on the final lap and closed the gap to Will, but I ran out of time at the end.”
Finishing the day on the overall podium in third also led Andrea Verona to his third consecutive day win in Enduro1. Pleased with his efforts and finishing a strong fourth overall in EnduroGP, Thomas Oldrati finished as runner-up in Enduro1 to Verona, once again making good use of his vast experience. TM Racing’s Matteo Cavallo completed the podium in what was a positive day for the Italian manufacturer.
Andrea Verona – P3
“Finishing third, I’m pretty happy about that. The Enduro Test wasn’t my best and I’ve places to improve on there. Also, let’s see how the weather is tomorrow, there might be some rain on the way!”
Adding to his success in EnduroGP, Wil Ruprecht won the Enduro2 category. Garcia kept him honest, finishing three seconds adrift. Claiming a welcomed podium result, Honda Racing Redmoto World Enduro’s Nathan Watson placed third.
Brad Freeman continues to prove that he’s the rider to beat in Enduro3, securing yet another victory. Fantic’s Davide Guarneri has established himself as the next best rider to the Brit, securing his third runner-up result on the trot. Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Mikael Persson was a new name to take to the podium, with the Swede coming home in third.
Placing fourth in Friday’s Super Test, Fantic’s Jane Daniels looked to have given hope to her classmates in the Magnorange FIM Women’s Enduro World Championship. However, she quickly restored normal order by kicking off Saturday with the quickest time in the JUST1 Enduro Test. There was no stopping her thereafter as she raced on to win by almost two minutes. Mireia Badia (Rieju) was second, while home favourite Rita Vieira (Yamaha) took third.
The Junior category saw the now-familiar name of Frenchman Zach Pichon ride to victory. The Team Sherco CH Racing rider was again impressive, claiming seven of the day’s 13 special test wins. The battle for the remainder of the podium was a tight affair, with Luc Fargier (Beta) holding off Jed Etchells (Fantic) for second.
Fantic enjoyed finishing 1-2 in the Youth class, with Kevin Cristino topping the standings. He was chased home by teammate Harry Edmondson in second. Sherco mounted Thibault Giraudon took third.
Day 1 Results – EnduroGP of Portugal
GARCIA MONTANA Josep
In what proved to be another titanic battle at the sharp end of the results sheet, Ruprecht was challenged in the scrap for victory by KTM’s Josep Garcia and Andrea Verona (GASGAS) with the Spanish and Italian duo ultimately placing in second and third respectively in Peso da Regua.
The FIM EnduroGP paddock woke to further warm weather and dry conditions in Peso da Regua on Sunday. With all four special tests taking a beating on the opening day of racing, it would prove to be an exceptionally tough and demanding day for all competitors with three laps and 12 special tests to complete.
At the head of the EnduroGP class, day one winner Wil Ruprecht (TM) picked up where he left off on Saturday by placing quickest in the opening Just1 Enduro Test. The Australian had clearly done his homework overnight, immediately pulling over eight seconds on Josep Garcia (KTM) in second, with Verona on his GASGAS in third. A fast-starting Alex Salvini (Husqvarna) sat fourth after test one.
Three tests in and the top three remained the same at the end of the opening POLISPORT Extreme Test, but importantly Garcia had halved the gap to Ruprecht. The fight for fourth was ever-changing with Mikael Persson (Husqvarna) on top form. He headed Thomas Oldrati (Honda), Theophile Espinasse (Beta) and Salvini by just one second.
After the second ACERBIS Cross Test, Ruprecht was pulling clear of his rivals, building an 18-second advantage over Garcia. But that almost all but disappeared on the following test as a major mistake cut that lead back to five seconds. Garcia was back in touch and duly won the following AKRAPOVIC Super Test to enter the final lap within shot of Ruprecht.
Sensing the attack, Ruprecht won the next two tests to keep the Spaniard at arm’s length. And despite Garcia posting faster times in the final two tests, it wasn’t enough as Ruprecht rode to victory over Garcia and Verona. Behind the top three, it was veteran Oldrati who finally got the better of those around him to take fourth, with Espinasse completing the top five.
Wil Ruprecht – EnduroGP/E2 P1
“It’s been an awesome weekend going 1-1. Conditions were dry, dusty, and proper tough. I’m pleased with myself to have ridden maturely and strong on both days – it was a fine line between pushing hard and ushing too hard and crashing. We’ve got a few weeks to go until round three and motivation is high to keep this rhythm going.”
Josep Garcia – EnduroGP/E2 P2
“The EnduroGP of Portugal went really well for me. The results were good – I was second both days in E2 and overall – I’m just a little frustrated because I struggled a little in the enduro tests this weekend and it possibly cost me the win. The Super Test on Friday night was great and going into Saturday I felt really confident and was making good time on the others, I just couldn’t quite get comfortable in the enduro test. We made a few changes for Sunday and that improved my feeling a little, I just couldn’t quite take the win. On a positive note, I was only a few seconds behind on both days and my position in the championship is looking good. I have a few things to work on now ahead of round three, so we’ll see if we can come back even stronger next month in Italy.”
Beginning to make Enduro1 his own, Verona secured his fourth victory of the season. Oldrati fended off a late charge from Espinasse to claim the runner-up result by seven seconds.
Andrea Verona – E1 Winner
“It’s been another great weekend of racing for me. Not quite as good as last weekend but to finish third in EnduroGP and win E1 again, it’s a great start to the season. On Saturday my riding wasn’t the best on some tests, but I was able to fix that for Sunday and I rode much better, so I’m really happy with my progression from day one to day two. Overall, I’m really happy with my weekend and up next is my home GP in Italy so I can’t wait for that one.”
In their battle for overall supremacy, Ruprecht and Garcia again ruled the roost in Enduro2. Again, Ruprecht topped the podium, with Garcia second. Making a welcome return to the top three, Salvini took third by six seconds from Nathan Watson (Honda).
A new winner emerged in Enduro3 with Fantic’s Davide Guarneri claiming a memorable win. In what is his 22nd year of world championship level competition, the Italian proved he’s just as competitive as ever. Delivering his strongest ride of the season to date, Persson placed second and looks like a rider to watch for at round three. Frenchman Antoine Basset (Beta) was third, netting his first podium result of the championship to date.
Mikael Persson – E3 P3
“It’s definitely been another step in the right direction for us here in Portugal – with the help of the team, I continued to improve all weekend. In fact, overall the whole round has been amazing, I felt really good on the bike and made very few mistakes, I just had one little crash today, which thankfully didn’t cost me too much time. Step-by-step we’re making improvements to the bike and in turn I’m able to be far more consistent out on the tests, and that in itself increases my confidence even further. Saturday went well with my first podium of the season and 13th overall. Then on Sunday, I was able to keep up a good strong pace, especially at the start of the day, and was leading up to the halfway point. As things went on, I struggled a little bit with my fitness but managed to bring it home in second. It would have been good to take the win, but all-in-all I’m happy with how I rode and now I’m really looking forward to carrying on at the next round.”
Enjoying a perfect weekend in Peso da Regua, Fantic’s Jane Daniels swept all special tests to win the Women’s category and further extend her championship lead. Rieju’s Mireia Badia took second, with Portugal’s Rita Vieira ending her home GP in third.
Team Sherco CH Racing’s Zach Pichon has established himself as the rider to beat in the Enduro Junior class, claiming yet another convincing win on day two at the GP of Portugal. The Frenchman placed over 51 seconds clear of Beta’s Luc Fargier. Fantic’s Jed Etchells completed the top three.
“Overall, it’s been a great weekend with wins on both days and a lot of space between me and the second placed rider. Despite the rain at the start on Saturday I was able to have some good times on the Enduro test, so I could open up an advantage in my class. I lost a little time on the Extreme Test, but overall day one was good. Sunday was super rough conditions but it went well.”
After knocking on the door during the previous three days, Samuli Puhakainen (TM) made it fourth time lucky to win the Youth class. A great ride from the Finnish rider saw him claim a 41 second margin of victory over Harry Edmondson (Fantic) and Kevin Cristino (Fantic).
After two exciting back-to-back rounds to start the season, the WPTGlobal FIM EnduroGP World Championship continues with round three in Italy on June 24-26.
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