Enduro GP Preview Enduro Junior: Who will follow REDONDI?

Matteo CAVALLO (I - Beta) - Pic: SB PhotoThe Junior category was marked in 2016 by the undeniable domination of Italy’s Giacomo REDONDI (I – Honda)! But who will come out on top this year amongst the fastest young (under 23) riders on the planet…

The Favourites

Albin ELOWSON (S – Husqvarna): Finally spared from injuries last year, the Swede who was runner-up in the FIM Youth Cup 125cc in 2014, showed that he clearly has the talent to fight at the front of Junior World Cup. 2017 will be a decisive year for him. After finishing the championship in 2nd place last year, he will aim for nothing less than the title this season. And he is sure to enjoy the opening round of the Championship on a terrain that he likes!

Davide SORECA (I – Honda): 6th last year, « SHOWRECA » adjusting to his new bike, lacked consistency throughout the season to claim the coveted Top 5. Now without the shadow of his teammate REDONDI hanging over him, he has become the lead rider for the Factory RedMoto Honda team in Junior. Talented and with a fighting spirit, he will have to stay focused and consistent from late March to late October if he wants to claim the title!

Mikael PERSSON (S – Yamaha): After a difficult 2016 season in the Enduro 1 category after coming straight out of the FIM Youth Cup 125cc, the Swede has decided to drop back ‘down’ a class for 2017. Clearly, he has already established himself as a serious contender for the world crown; he gained a lot of experience in E1, and he will return to the Swedish Johansson MPE team with whom he was crowned in 2015.

Brad FREEMAN (GB – Beta): European Scratch (Overall) Champion in 2016 and brilliant during the EnduroGP finale in Cahors (4/4), the young Brit had no difficulty in finding a team. He eventually signed a contract with Beta Factory, but will be run by Jarno BOANO and his Beta Boano team. Although he has very little experience in the World Championship, he already has enough credentials to be considered a favorite. And he reminds us, in many ways, of a certain Steve HOLCOMBE (GB – Beta)

Kirian MIRABET (E – Sherco): Whilst he could not do better than 7th last year, due mainly to the injuries which plagued him throughout the season, the Catalan has all the qualities to fight at the forefront and could be in the running for the title. 2017 will be his last season in Juniors, and he plans to bring his Sherco to the top step of the podium!

The Outsiders

Matteo CAVALLO (I – Beta): Drafted in part way through the 2016 season, the Italian finished in the Top 10 of Junior, and put in some great performances at rounds in the Basque Country and Italy. For his first complete season, team manager Jarno BOANO can aim high and hope to have another player among the title favourites…

Eemil POHJOLA (SF – Husqvarna): Appearing in just three GPs in 2016, the Finnish run Husqvarna KYTONEN team intends to put together a strong season with POHJOLA and show that there is up-and-coming talent in Scandinavian.

Kevin OLSEN (S – KTM):  Although he has finished his partnership with Sherco CH Factory Racing… Kevin OLSEN will be present at the FIM Maxxis Enduro World Championship as representative of KTM Sweden. For his last year in Junior, the Swede, whose leitmotiv is “future progress” will have to prove that he is much better than the 16th place he took last year…

Matias SAVO (SF – Sherco): The Finnish rider is once again in Fabrizio AZZALIN’s team, and he will aim for a Top 15 placing for his second season in EnduroGP!

The Newbies 

Emmanuele FACHETTI (I – TM): Freshly signed with the TM Racing team, FACHETTI is going to make his first season in the World Championship after having featured as a wildcard at the GP of Italy last season (12th and 10th in FIM Youth Cup 125cc)…

Antoine MAGAIN (B – Yamaha): The great young hope for Belgian Enduro, MAGAIN will try to take over the mantel of Jeff GOBLET. He has been training for a few weeks in Spain, where he met with a certain Jonny WALKER (GB – KTM)

Jean-Baptiste NICOLOT (F – Yamaha): In the fight to win the FIM Youth Cup 125cc last season, he was stopped by a nasty injury in Sweden. Forced to move into Junior because of his age, the rider from the EEAT (French Army) team could shine sooner than expected in this category!

Ben KEARNS (AUS – Sherco): If the brand new Sherco 125cc is not ready for the Spanish Grand Prix, we will see the Australian rider – who has been newly signed to the Sherco CH Factory Racing Team – will line up Junior. 4th in the Australian Youth championship last year, he could well be one of the revelations of the year…

Mirko SPANDRE (I – Suzuki): After Fabio FARIOLI’s Factory KTM squad let him go, the Italian hopeful will be present at the World Championship with the Lunigiana Team, and on a Suzuki! For his very first season in Junior after two years fighting in the Youth Cup 125cc, SPANDRE – who hails from Bergamo – will try to prove to his doubters that he has the potential to succeed in EnduroGP.

Alexis BEAUD (F – Husqvarna) : Although he will not take part in the first Grand Prix in Finland, the young Frenchman will have to follow in the footsteps of Jean-Baptiste NICOLOT, and try to go one better! He has the potential to shine in this category…

FIM Youth Cup 125cc

In 2017, the FIM Youth Cup 125cc is no longer a simple cup but becomes a FIM-sanctioned Championship! So, who out of Enric FRANCISCO (E – KTM), Ruy BARBOSA (CL – Husqvarna), Andrea VERONA (I – TM), Bernat CORTES (E – KTM) or Ben KEARNS (who could appear on the Sherco 125) will have the privilege of becoming the very first recognized 125cc World Champion?

With the exit of Giacomo REDONDI, Josep GARCIA (E – KTM), Henric STIGELL (SF – Husqvarna) and Josh GOTTS (GB – TM), the Junior category will see new talent come to the fore. Enduro Junior is perhaps more open and unpredictable than ever; will it be ELOWSON, FREEMAN, MIRABET, SORECA or PERSSON who will succeed the likes of BELLINO, PHILLIPS, REDONDI and the MCCANNEY brothers?