Italy’s Alex SALVINI (Honda) returned to the top of the Enduro 2 class with victory on day one at the Maxxis Enduro World Championship GP Cross Pro of Portugal. France’s Antoine MEO (KTM) topped the Enduro 1 class while his compatriot Christophe NAMBOTIN (KTM) claimed a comfortable win in the Enduro 3 category in Torres Vedras.
With the forecasted rain showers staying at bay, day one at the fourth round of the series was treated to warm sunny skies that ensured perfect racing conditions. A fast flowing cross test, technical enduro test and challenging extreme test provided a spectacular day of racing for the thousand’s of spectators that turned out to watch the world’s best enduro riders in action.
Slow to start, MEO found himself trailing early pacesetter Finland’s Juha SALMINEN (Husqvarna)during the opening lap. Gaining confidence in the terrain, MEO upped his pace and topped eight of the nine remaining special tests to secure the E1 class win. “I made some mistakes early on and it allowed Juha to gain some time on me,” told MEO. “I had to fight very hard to close the gap. It was a tough battle.” Posting the fastest time in the first three special tests of the morning, SALMINENlooked headed towards victory. However, unable to hold off the charging MEO, the Finn was pushed back to second position. Placing over 30 seconds behind SALMINEN, Finland’s Eero REMES (TM) claimed the third step of the podium. Matti SEISTOLA (Husqvarna) held of a late charge from France’s Jeremy TARROUX (Sherco) to finish fourth.
In the Enduro 2 class, Honda’s Alex SALVINI returned to the top step of the podium following his runner-up results at the GP of Spain. Fastest on the SuperTest, SALVINI maintained his pace throughout the day to secure his fourth win of the season. “I really enjoyed this race. The tests were fun to ride and I felt comfortable all day,” confirmed SALVINI. “I was fast in the morning and was able to hold my advantage despite a tough battle with Cervantes on the final lap. It’s great to win again.” Despite losing ground to SALVINI on the opening lap, Spain’s Ivan CERVANTES (KTM) charged hard during the final two laps to place within seven seconds of the Italian in second position. In the battle for the final step of the podium, France’s Johnny AUBERT (KTM) held off a determined Pela RENET (Husaberg) to secure third. Finishing less than three seconds behind AUBERT, RENETended his day in fourth with Spain’s Victor GUERRERO (KTM) completing the top five.
With a crash on the first corner of the opening enduro test, NAMBOTIN struggled to find his usual winning form during the morning. Settling into a fast rhythm on the third lap, the Frenchman topped the five remaining tests of the day to take the win. “I had a strange morning,” confirmedNAMBOTIN. “I crashed at the beginning of the first enduro test and lost some confidence. It took a while to recover from that and I had to fight hard to win.” After starting fast, Estonia’s Aigar LEOK (TM) was unable to hold off the late challenge from NAMBOTIN and ended his day as the runner-up. Delivering a strong performance at his home race, Portugal’s Luis CORREIA (Beta) claimed his second EWC podium with third position. Italy’sManuel MONNI (KTM) was fourth with France’sMathias BELLINO (Husaberg) rounding out the top five.
Australia’s Matt PHILLIPS (Husqvarna) secured his fourth consecutive victory with a commanding win in the Enduro Junior class. Claiming his first podium result of 2013, home favourite Luis OLIVEIRA (Yamaha) finished in second position. Spain’s Mario ROMAN (Husaberg) finished just seven tenths of a second behind OLIVEIRA to end his day in third. France’s Loic LARRIEU (Husaberg) placed a further two seconds behindROMAN to claim fourth while Italy’s Giacomo REDONDI (KTM) rounded out the top five. In the Enduro Youth Cup class Manxman Jamie MCCANNEY (Husaberg) was again the rider to beat as he secured a commanding 78-second margin of victory. Sweden’s Albin ELOWSON (Husaberg)placed as runner-up to MCCANNEY with Oliver NELSON (Husaberg) completing the top three.
Australia’s Jessica GARDINER (Sherco) took her first win of the season in the Women’s Cupcategory. France’s Geraldine FOURNEL (Husaberg) finished in second position with Britain’s Jane DANIELS (Husaberg) completing the top three.