2021 FIM EnduroGP World Championship
Round 2 – GP of Italy
The opening day of the ACERBIS EnduroGP of Italy saw Britain’s Brad Freeman (Beta) eventually edge out Australia’s Will Ruprecht (TM) for the win as the Borilli FIM EnduroGP World Championship returned to action for its second outing.
A thrilling, day-long battle between the duo saw Freeman snatch the EnduroGP win by just two seconds. There was plenty for the Italian fans to cheer about as Andrea Verona (GASGAS) topped Enduro1 with Matteo Pavoni (TM) delivering a winning ride in Enduro Junior. Harry Edmondson (Fantic) put the Italian manufacturer on top in Enduro Youth.
Britain’s Brad Freeman (Beta) had a lot more to celebrate at the close of the second round of the FIM EnduroGP World Championship in Italy having put the finishing touches to a superb weekend with a dominant victory on day two.
Claiming a double EnduroGP class win in Edolo, the Beta rider extends his lead at the top of the standings over his closest rival, Australian Will Ruprecht (TM). In Enduro Junior home favourite Matteo Pavoni topped the classification for the second day running, while Sweden’s Albin Norrbin led home a Fantic 1-2-3 in Enduro Youth.
With little time to recover from last weekend’s opening round of the Borilli FIM EnduroGP in Portugal, it was back to business for the competitors for the second stop of the season in Edolo, Italy.
With round one delivering some incredibly tight racing, there was added excitement in the paddock at round two as Hard Enduro specialists Billy Bolt (Husqvarna), Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM) and Taddy Blazusiak (GASGAS) got themselves in on the mix.
Bolt quickly made his presence felt with a monumental effort in Friday’s AKRAPOVIC Super Test. A masterclass ride from the FIM SuperEnduro World Champion saw him top the time sheets by four seconds.
But Saturday told a different story, as competitors faced down a full day of racing, with no fewer than 12 special tests. Highly motivated from his debut EnduroGP class win last week, Ruprecht set the fastest time on the opening Champion Enduro Test to take control of the race lead, but with Freeman in check the battle was most definitely on.
Sharing 10 of the remaining special test wins between them, the duo consistently set the pace as the fight for victory took them clear of the chasing pack. With Ruprecht holding a five-second lead entering the final test of the day, it was Freeman who topped the Nerve by Just1 Extreme Test and with it claimed an eventual overall win.
Spain’s Josep Garcia (KTM) completed the EnduroGP podium one minute and 50 seconds behind Freeman. Garcia didn’t have much room for error though, with Andrea Verona just over two seconds behind in fourth.
Posting arguably one of the most impressive rides of the day, Bolt showed his AKRAPOVIC Super Test win was no fluke to take fifth. Reigning Enduro Junior champion Hamish MacDonald (Sherco) rounded out the top six. A bad day for EnduroGP champion Steve Holcombe (Beta) saw him slip down the leaderboard to eighth.
The fight for top Enduro1 honours was a case of national pride between Verona and Davide Guarneri (Fantic). With nine special test wins to his credit, Verona kept Guarneri covered to secure his second win of the season. Belgium’s Antoine Magain (Sherco) ended his day in third, with Samuele Bernardini (Honda) and Kirian Mirabet (Honda) fourth and fifth respectively.
Enduro2 class honours belonged to Ruprecht on the opening day of racing in Edolo. Locked in a battle for the overall EnduroGP win, the Australian comfortably stretched out an unassailable lead over Garcia in second. Thanks to his top-five ride in EnduroGP, Bolt raced his way onto the Enduro2 podium with third. MacDonald was fourth with Holcombe fifth.
Although only three races into the 2021 season, Freeman already looks untouchable in Enduro3. Claiming yet another clean sweep of special test wins, the Beta rider secured a massive three-minute margin of victory.
The fight for the runner-up result was a tighter affair, with Jaume Betriu (KTM) edging out Jamie McCanney (Husqvarna) by 11 seconds. Jamie held off his brother Daniel McCanney (Sherco) by three seconds for third, while Australia’s Andrew Wilksch (Husqvarna) took fifth.
With momentum high following his win last weekend, Pavoni kept that form rolling in Edolo to take another Enduro Junior class victory. Times were tight in the battle for the remainder of the podium places with France’s Leo Le Quere (Sherco) securing the runner-up result by five seconds.
Italy’s Lorenzo Macoritto (TM) edged out Finland’s Roni Kytonen (Honda) by two tenths of a second for third. France’s Antoine Criq (Beta) placed fifth.
In Enduro Youth it was once again a Fantic-powered freight train for the top placings. Britain’s Harry Edmondson returned to the top step of the podium following his day one victory in Portugal. He claimed an 11-second winning margin over teammate Albin Norrbin (Fantic). Italy’s Kevin Cristino was third, with Riccardo Fabris and Leo Joyon (Beta) rounding out the top five.
All eyes were focused on the duo of Freeman and Ruprecht, to see who would have the edge on Sunday. A fast-starting Ruprecht put his TM out front on the opening Champion Enduro Test, but Freeman then hit his stride, topping the next three tests.
Pulling nine seconds clear, he then kept extending his lead. Picking up another four wins from the remaining eight tests, it allowed the Beta rider to take charge of the proceedings and top the podium by 27 seconds.
While proving super consistent, Ruprecht never quite had the measure of Freeman in the afternoon and had to be content with the runner-up result. But with three podium results from four starts after two rounds, the EnduroGP class rookie is certainly proving himself to be the real deal in 2021.
After a disappointing outing on day one for eighth, Britain’s Steve Holcombe (Beta) regrouped strongly for third overall. The EnduroGP champion looked out of sorts yesterday due to a broken rib sustained last weekend in Portugal. Highlighted by a top time in the ACERBIS Cross Test, Holcombe was back on the pace.
Looking for his first podium of the year in EnduroGP, Italy’s Andrea Verona (GASGAS) got close, but just not close enough. Two seconds behind Holcombe, he missed his shot of a home podium with fourth following a mistake on the day’s closing special test. Slipping two places back down the order over his Saturday result, Spain’s Josep Garcia (KTM) completed the top five.
“It’s been brilliant to pick up a double win this weekend, I can’t ask for more than that! After yesterday’s effort I knew another four laps today would be hard work. I rode good this morning and that made the difference for sure , I was able to control things from there.”
While an EnduroGP podium eluded him, Verona made it count in Enduro1 by claiming his second victory of the weekend. Best mastering the technical Edolo terrain, the GASGAS rider controlled the proceedings throughout the day.
Runner-up for the second time in Italy, Fantic’s Davide Guarneri didn’t get the home GP win he came for. Another consistent ride from Belgium’s Antoine Magain (Sherco) saw him complete the podium with third. Davide Soreca (Husqvarna) and Samuele Bernardini (Honda) ensured Italy locked out four of the top five Enduro1 placings.
With the EnduroGP victory escaping him, Ruprecht added to his Enduro2 win tally on day two. Holding the upper hand over his classmates, the Australian had things under control with a 57-second margin of victory. Feeling more on pace than the previous day, Holcombe ended his day in second, while Garcia completed the top three.
Hamish MacDonald (Sherco) remained solid as ever taking a fourth-place result for the fourth time, but the New Zealand rider must surely be looking to land that podium finish next time out. After his stunning top-three finish yesterday, Hard Enduro specialist Billy Bolt (Husqvarna) backed it up with fifth today.
As ever Freeman ruled supreme in Enduro3, securing his fourth win in as many races. With yet another clean sweep of special test times, he remains untroubled in the class.
Behind Freeman, Spain’s Jaume Betriu (KTM) appears to have the measure of everyone else, finishing in second for the fourth time. While Freeman won by three minutes yesterday, the Spaniard narrowed that gap to just under two minutes today.
Daniel McCanney (Sherco) got the better of his brother Jamie on day two to make a return to the Enduro3 podium with third. With the McCanney brothers third and fourth, Giacomo Redondi (GASGAS) took fifth.
The Enduro Junior class saw Matteo Pavoni record a double victory on home soil thanks to his win on Sunday. But he was pushed all the way by teammate Lorenzo Macoritto (TM).
Locked in a battle for much of the day, Pavoni held his nerve to secure the win by just two seconds. Behind the Italian duo, France’s Leo Le Quere (Sherco) took third, with Finland’s Roni Kytonen (Honda) fourth and Max Ahlin (Husqvarna) fifth.
Setting a trend so far in 2021, Albin Norrbin rose to the top of the Enduro Youth podium on day two. Norrbin and his Fantic teammate Harry Edmondson are proving the dominant pair of the category, sharing wins between them.
With Edmondson second to Norrbin, the duo end round two tied on points for the championship lead. Kevin Cristino secured his fourth podium result with third place, while Leo Joyon (Beta) and Gabriele Pasinette (Beta) finished fourth and fifth respectively.
The 2021 FIM EnduroGP World Championship takes a two-week break before returning with back-to-back rounds, beginning with the GP of Estonia on July 16-18, and followed by the GP of Sweden on July 22-24.
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