Enduro

Josep Garcia Claims Day One Win At EnduroGP Of Italy

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Josep Garcia At the 2024 Enduro GP Of Italy
Spaniard Josep Garcia was back at the head of the field on Day 1 of the EnduroGP of Italy. Photo: Future7Media

The opening day of racing at round four of the FIM EnduroGP World Championship saw Josep Garcia charge to victory in the Polisport GP of Italy.

The Spaniard headed Brad Freeman in second, with Andrea Verona third in Bettola. Max Ahlin secured a commanding win in the FIM Junior Enduro World Championship.

After the excitement of Friday’s Akrapovic Super Test, won by Kiwi Hamish MacDonald, riders rolled out early Saturday morning for the first full day of racing at round four of the Paulo Duarte FIM EnduroGP World Championship in Italy.

Greeted first with the super challenging Polisport Extreme Test, Andrea Verona set the fastest time, much to the delight of his passionate home crowd. On to the Maxxis Enduro Test, and this time it was Brad Freeman who topped the time sheets. But with Josep Garcia right behind in second, it was the Spaniard who moved into the overall race lead.

Completing lap one with the fastest time in the Acerbis Cross Test, Garcia stretched his advantage out to fifteen seconds over Verona, with Steve Holcombe just six-hundredths of a second adrift in third. The racing was incredibly close with Freeman a further three seconds back in fourth.

On lap two, Freeman was impressive. Winning the Polisport Extreme Test and Maxxis Enduro Test, he moved up to second and was now just seven seconds behind Garcia. At maximum attack, Garcia won the Acerbis Cross Test and extended his lead back out to ten seconds as they headed out for lap three.

Brad Freeman At the 2024 Enduro GP Of Italy
Brit Brad Freeman was impressive winning the Polisport Extreme Test and Maxxis Enduro Test to take second on the day. Photo: Future7Media.

A magical third lap from the Spaniard saw him win all three special tests, and with the final set of tests remaining, he was twenty-two seconds clear of his rivals. Despite renewed attacks from Freeman and Verona on the final lap, Garcia kept his cool. Managing his advantage, he cleared the 13th and final special test as the day one winner at the Polisport GP of Italy.

“It’s been a great day, but very hard,” Garcia reflected. “The Extreme Test was super tough and easy to make a mistake on. I love racing here in Italy, the fans are so passionate and it always seems extra special to win here.”

For Freeman, day one in Bettola marked the best day of his season so far. The Brit proved incredibly strong all day. Capping his ride off with two more test wins on the final lap for second overall, he’ll look to challenge for the win again tomorrow.

“I’m happy with this result, but know there is still more to come because I made a few too many mistakes. I’ll look to iron them out for tomorrow and be stronger than today,” Freeman said.

Andrea Verona At the 2024 Enduro GP Of Italy
Italian Andrea Vernon could only manage third in front of his home crowd but he secured the win in the Enduro2 class. Photo: Future7Media

Unfortunately, hopes of a home win didn’t materialise on day one for Verona. The Italian enjoyed a strong ride, but was ultimately hampered by his crash in the Akrapovic Super Test and never fully recovered. Third today, he has one more shot tomorrow to claim the top step of the podium in Italy.

“It’s been a crazy feeling all day on the tests with my home crowd cheering me on like this. I did make too many mistakes, so I’ll try again tomorrow and improve. The speed is good, the crowd is amazing, so I will go full gas!” Verona said.

Always in the mix, but not quite in the hunt for victory, Holcombe rode a solid-but-steady day for fourth overall. The Brit will hope to find a little bit extra overnight to properly weigh into the battle for the podium. Behind Holcombe, Nathan Watson completed the top five.

Mireia Badia At the 2024 Enduro GP Of Italy
Mireia Badia (432) hung on to claim a close win over American Rachel Gutis. Photo: Futre7Media.

CLASS RESULTS:

The Enduro Women saw a closely fought battle for victory between Mireia Badia and Rachel Gutish. Gutish had the early advantage on Badia having won the Akrapovic Super Test, but Badia kept the pressure on.

A costly mistake from Gutish on the final Polisport Extreme Test saw positions change, putting Badia into the lead. Managing her advantage, Badia hung on to claim victory over Gutish.

In the race for the final step of the podium, France’s Elodie Chaplot held off Britain’s Rosie Rowett by fifteen seconds to secure her first top three of the year.

With Garcia racing to the EnduroGP win, he also comfortably topped Enduro1. Holcombe followed him home for second, with Zach Pichon beating Lorenzo Macoritto by eight seconds for third.

In Enduro2, it was Verona who secured the top step of the podium in Bettola, with Watson in second. Jed Etchells made it a day to remember, with the reigning Enduro Junior champ securing his first senior class podium with third. Aussie Wil Ruprecht finished 8th in E2

Steve Holcombe At the 2024 Enduro GP Of Italy
Steve Holcombe finished second in E2 and 4th Overall. Photo: Future7Media

Freeman was untouchable in Enduro3. The Brit raced to a very commanding one-minute and 19-second victory over MacDonald. Matteo Cavallo completed the top three, securing a podium result in his home race.

In the Galfer FIM Junior Enduro World Championship, Max Ahlin delivered a dominant performance. The young Swede was on a charge all day long. Enjoying each of the special tests, he raced clear to a commanding one-minute and forty-six-second margin of victory.

Behind him, and placings were much closer. France’s Thibault Giraudon held off Axel Semb by twelve seconds to finish as runner-up. Manolo Morettini finished fourth on day one, with Leo Joyon rounding out the top five. Australian Champion Kyron Bacon was making his debut for the year finishing eighth

Enduro Youth saw Manuel Verzeroli claim the only Italian victory on day one. By the narrowest of margins, he edged out Luca Colorio by just eight-hundredths of a second to take the win. Losing out to Verzeroli on the final Acercis Cross Test, Colorio will have to wait until tomorrow to try for his first Enduro Youth victory.

Denying Italy a clean sweep of the Enduro Youth podium, France’s Romain Dagna finished in third. Thirteen seconds behind him, Italy’s Pietro Scardina took fourth, with Maxime Clauzier fifth.

Manuel Verzeroli At the 2024 Enduro GP Of Italy
Enduro Youth saw Manuel Verzeroli claim the only Italian victory on day one. Photo: Future7Media

Results: Paulo Duarte FIM EnduroGP World Championship, Round 3 – Day 1

EnduroGP
1 Josep Garcia (KTM) 1:12:21.62;
2 Brad Freeman (Beta) 1:12:31.89;
3 Andrea Verona (GASGAS) 1:12:48.38;
4 Steve Holcombe (Honda) 1:13:06.50;
5 Nathan Watson (Beta) 1:13:36.55;
6 Hamish MacDonald (Sherco) 1:13:51.00;
7 Matteo Cavallo (TM Racing) 1:14:20.07;
8 Zach Pichon (Sherco) 1:14:37.04;
9 Antoine Magain (Sherco) 1:14:40.16;
10 Lorenzo Macoritto (TM Racing) 1:14:45.76

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