EnduroGP: Steve HOLCOMBE Unstoppable
After an eventful first day, the EnduroGP stars were back on track for another day of competition in Dahlen. The tests had been significantly ‘cut up’ after so many competitors riding on the first day, and therefore this second day offered up a lot of surprises.
Steve HOLCOMBE (GBR-Beta) did not have the same disadvantage as Day 1, where he had to open the tests. With the course well ‘bedded in’, the reigning EnduroGP Champion got into his rhythm immediately. He impressed from the start, winning 8 specials in a row on scratch. Only Davide GUARNERI, Brad FREEMAN and Danny MCCANNEY managed to ‘steal’ test victories from the Beta Factory rider on the overall times. Despite the pressure and the fatigue of the tough terrain, HOLCOMBE showed perfect control. The season is just beginning but HOLCOMBE already seems to be at the top of his game. Naturally, he is leading the EnduroGP class and E3 class at the end of this weekend in Germany.
Brad FREEMAN (GBR-Beta) snatched second place on the EnduroGP podium. The Beta Boano rider launched his offensive on MCCANNEY just after mid-day. He managed to limit the damage to HOLCOMBE, ending the day 43 seconds behind the reigning EnduroGP Champion.
Danny MCCANNEY (GBR-TM) finished 3rd overall on this 2nd day and his debut weekend with TM Factory. The Brit could not fight back against FREEMAN, but he remained focused to secure an important 3rd spot.
Eero REMES (FIN-Yamaha) started the day aggressively as he was eager to put Saturday’s mechnical DNF behind him. His new Team Manager, Joakim JOHANSSON was thrilled with the performance of his new signing. The Yamaha rider was solid all day, fighting continuously in the Top 5 overall. He finished 4th.
Alex SALVINI (ITA-Honda) was also fighting with REMES and LARRIEU for the Top 5 all day. The Italian ended this 2nd day feeling more positive after his bad luck and DNF on Day 1. He said he felt confident for the next round of the EnduroGP Championship in Portugal.
Loïc LARRIEU (FRA-TM) started the second day quicker than the first, the TM rider found podium rhythm. And he was putting a lot of pressure on REMES in the overall classification. Gradually Loïc slipped back behind REMES and SALVINI. Still getting to grips with his new TM, LARRIEU made a few errors and finished Sunday in 6th overall.
The day was punctuated by ups and downs for all the Honda riders. Davide GUARNERI (ITA-Honda) finished as the best red rider in 7th place overall, winning one special. Christophe CHARLIER (FRA-Honda) was in excellent shape until a violent fall shook him up and relegated the Honda RedMoto rider to 13th position overall – a long way off his potential. Thomas OLDRATI (ITA-Honda) was steady and focused, finishing 8th on he day.
Christophe NAMBOTIN (FRA-Gas Gas) was the only big DNF on Day 2, after a strong performance on the opening day, the Gas Gas rider saw his race cut short by a gearbox failure. ‘NAMBOT’ was nevertheless satisfied with his form and felt ready to face the rest of the season.
In the E1 category, Brad FREEMAN confirmed his 2018 confidence has not wavered, and it was another victory for him ahead of Davide GUARNERI and Thomas OLDRATI.
The fight in E2 was intense between the three ‘favorites’ and it was REMES who eventually won ahead of SALVINI and LARRIEU, beating the Italian by just 0.16 seconds.
HOLCOMBE took no prisoners in E3 and won the class ahead of MCCANNEY and Anthony GESLIN (FRA-Beta).
JUNIOR: Andrea VERONA – The Ultimate Comeback
In the hotly contested Junior class, the surprise lay in the difficulties suffered by Andrea VERONA (ITA-TM) early in the day. The Italian’s bike stopped in the first Cross Test and Andrea lost about 50 seconds and fell down to 7th position. But the 2018 Youth Cup Champion had the resources to keep his focus and fight back test by test. After just six tests he was already back on the podium, about thirty seconds from the leader, Wil RUPRECHT (AUS-Yamaha). After overhauling Theo ESPINASSE (FRA-Sherco) for 2nd place, the factory TM rider went after RUPRECHT, giving his all and taking the overall victory in the last special! The talented Australian admitted that he cracked under the pressure of the TM rider.
VERONA also won in J1 ahead of RUPRECHT and ESPINASSE.
Enric FRANCISCO (SPA-KTM), who had a great day, won in J2 ahead of Jack EDMONDSON (GBR-Sherco) and Emanuele FACCHETTI (ITA-Gas Gas).
In the Youth category, Hamish MAC DONALD (NZ-Sherco) confirmed his ‘favourite’ status with another comfortable victory. 2nd went to Matteo PAVONI (ITA-Beta), who overtook his compatriot, Claudio SPANU (ITA-Husqvarna) towards the end of the day.
Champion Lubricants Enduro Open World Cup
David KNIGHT (GBR-TM) completed his return to competition by taking the double in the Senior class double of the Champion Lubricants Enduro Open World Championship. He won in front of Werner MUELLER (AUT-KTM) and Euan MCCONNELL (GBR-TM).
In the 4-stroke class, Bernhard SCHOEPF (AUT-KTM) clinched a second win ahead of Robert RIEDEL (GER-KTM) and Fraser FLOCKHART (GBR-Yamaha).
The 2-stroke category enjoyed a 2nd different winner in 2 days of competition; Richard TUCKER (GBR-Sherco) won in front of Rafal BRACIK (POL-Gas Gas) and Nico RANBOW (GER-KTM).
The German Grand Prix was a real success: 155 riders delighted 18,000 spectators throughout the weekend. The next round of the Maxxis FIM EnduroGP World Championship will take place in Portugal in the city of Valpaços from May 3rd to 5th.
What They Said:
Steve HOLCOMBE (GBR-Beta): “I’m really happy with this result, but to be honest I was a little tired from yesterday, I attacked a lot during Saturday. I’m not at the top of my game yet, but this result is very encouraging.”
Brad FREEMAN (GBR-Beta): “I’m happy because today I was able to increase my pace to catch up with Danny. I’m still a long way from Steve, but I’m happy to be on this 100% British podium.”
Danny MCCANNEY (GBR-TM): “I finish 3rd today, I’m a little disappointed, but overall I’m very happy with my weekend. I can’t wait to continue the season and gain some more good results.”
Eero REMES (FIN-Yamaha): “The first day was very disappointing for me and the team, but I told the team that the season is very long and we are going to catch up. I feel good and this victory in E2 is a first great reward.”
Andrea VERONA (ITA-TM): “This might be the most beautiful victory of my career so far. When I lost so much time this morning after the bike stopped in the Cross Test I knew I had the potential to win. My body hurts because I really attacked all day, but I’m super happy.”
Wil RUPRECHT (AUS-Yamaha): “I don’t know what to say to you, I am so disappointed, I cracked under the pressure, I crashed three times on the last test. Andrea was the better man and he deserves it. I can only try to learn and improve after such a defeat.”