The final day of racing at round six of the WPTGlobal FIM EnduroGP World Championship witnessed the first world champions of 2022 crowned with Andrea Verona claiming Enduro1 honours and Zach Pichon securing the Enduro Junior title.
Racing to his 11th class win this season, Verona took home his third consecutive Enduro1 title in Hungary. For Team Pichon, today marked a major milestone in the young Frenchman’s career by clinching his debut world crown in Enduro Junior.
In the overall classifications, it was a day to savour for Josep Garcia. The Spaniard took his second EnduroGP win of the weekend in Zalaegerszeg.
As he’s been all year, Verona was once again the rider to beat in Enduro1. With the prospect of taking the Enduro1 title with a round to spare locked in his sights, the Italian put on a masterclass in Enduro1. Racing to a clear victory, the GASGAS rider ended his day as world champion.
For Pichon, the pressure of clinching his debut world crown was very real today, but the young Frenchman kept his cool. Opting to go for it in style, the Sherco rider won the day and with it the title. In what’s proved to be an incredible rookie season for the Frenchman, Zach looks set to challenge the sport’s best in the years to come.
Riding high on momentum following his EnduroGP win on Saturday, Garcia set about winning again on Sunday. Impressive in the beaten-up and rough special tests, the Spaniard was quickest in six of the day’s special tests to secure a 27-second margin of victory.
With one eye on the Enduro1 title and another on building his advantage in EnduroGP, Verona chased Garcia home for the runner-up result. Importantly heading off closest rival Wil Ruprecht, the Italian has extended his lead to 28 points with just the final round of the season in Germany now remaining.
“I can’t believe I’ve managed to win both days this weekend,” Garcia said. “It feels great to have done that. Returning from injury to this block of racing in Slovakia and now here in Hungary, I was a little nervous about my chances. But with a lot of help from my team, family and friends we got it done.”
The second place was Ok but winning the Enduro1 title was the icing on the cake for Verona.
“What can I say! To win my third Enduro1 title in a row is incredible,” Verona said. “I’ve got a great team around me in GASGAS, and we all work together, pushing every week for the same goal. Winning 11 of 12 days so far in Enduro1 is probably more than I expected too. Now the focus is on for the EnduroGP title in Germany. It would be a dream come true to win it.”
After yesterday’s disappointment of a mechanical issue and then subsequent disqualification, Ruprecht fought back today for third overall to keep his own title hopes alive. A strong ride saw him finish just 10 seconds behind Verona.
Putting in one of the day’s most impressive rides, Spain’s Marc Sans was feeling at home in the hot, dry, and dusty conditions. Holding off Alex Salvini by four seconds, he took fourth. Delivering another top-five ride in Hungary, Salvini was pleased with his efforts for fifth.
With Verona racing to the Enduro1 title, Sunday saw yet another strong ride for Jamie McCanney with the Manxman placing as runner-up. Finishing just two seconds behind, Matteo Cavallo was third. In Enduro2, Garcia added the class win to his overall EnduroGP victory. Ruprecht took second, while Salvini claimed his first podium result of the season with third.
Enduro3 saw yet another new rider take to the top step of the podium this year with Marc Sans securing his debut win. The Spaniard rode hard in the dust to win by 13 seconds. Consistency is paying off for Mikael Persson in this year’s championship fight. Runner-up today sees the Swede retake control of the points lead heading into the final round in Germany. Leo Le Quere completed the top three.
With Pichon riding to victory to clinch the Enduro Junior title, Roni Kytonen finished in second place. Albin Norrbin finished just three seconds behind in third.
“It’s an amazing moment in my life,” Pichon said. “Enduro Junior World Champion feels so good and it’s going to take a bit of time for this to sink in. This is my first season in enduro, and I can’t believe how well it’s gone. With my team we just kept trying hard at every round and I felt like I was in good hands with their support. I think we’ll celebrate tonight!”
The WPTGlobal FIM EnduroGP World Championship concludes with the seventh and final round of the season in Zschopau, Germany on October 14-16.
1 Josep Garcia (KTM) 59:22.95
2 Andrea Verona (GASGAS) 59:50.86
3 Wil Ruprecht (TM Racing) 1:00:01.36
4 Marc Sans (Husqvarna) 1:00:15.80
5 Alex Salvini (Husqvarna) 1:00:19.78
6 Hugo Blanjoue (KTM) 1:00:21.81
7 Mikael Persson (Husqvarna) 1:00:28.83
8 Steve Holcombe (Beta) 1:00:36.19
9 Nathan Watson (Honda) 1:00:53.97
10 Jamie McCanney (Husqvarna) 1:00:56.47