Enduro

Josep Garcia Clinches Enduro1 World Championship on Day One of EnduroGP of Portugal

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Josep Garcia At the 2023 Enduro GP Of Portugal
Josep Garcia secured the 2023 FIM Enduro1 World Championship. Battling through the scorching conditions on day one of the final round of this year’s series in Portugal, Garcia topped the overall standings to clinch the E1 title with one day to spare.

The inaugural day of the seventh and ultimate round of the Paulo Duarte FIM EnduroGP World Championship saw Josep Garcia claim the 2023 Enduro1 World Championship title.

Garcia, representing Spain, achieved this remarkable feat by not only dominating the Enduro1 category but also by seizing the overall EnduroGP classification in Santiago do Cacem, Portugal, marking the first champion of the 2023 season.

The paddock atmosphere buzzed with celebration as Jane Daniels claimed victory in the Magnorange FIM Women’s Enduro World Championship. Adding to the festivities, Kevin Cristino secured the Youth Enduro World title during Saturday’s proceedings.

As the potential champions anxiously set off from the starting ramp in Santiago do Cacem, nerves were palpable. However, with the POLISPORT Extreme Test kicking off the action, any lingering jitters quickly dissipated. Hamish MacDonald set the pace, with Andrea Verona closely following in second and Brad Freeman securing the third position.

In the subsequent JUST1 Enduro Test, Nathan Watson and Samuel Bernardini claimed the top two spots, but Garcia’s third-place finish propelled him to the overall lead. Verona continued his strong performance by leading in the opening ACERBIS Cross Test, keeping the pressure on Garcia. Meanwhile, Jamie McCanney held the third position overall, and the EnduroGP points leader, Steve Holcombe, began a comeback after a sluggish start.

Josep Garcia At the 2023 Enduro GP Of Portugal
Josep Garcia’s title complements his Enduro2 victories from 2017 and 2021. It’s been a stellar season for the Spaniard, with an impressive nine E1 victories from the 12 days raced so far. Photo: Future7Media

Garcia, winning the opening CrossPro Enduro Test, established a two-second lead over Verona. This duo ended the first lap over 14 seconds ahead of McCanney, who was displaying one of his best rides of the season. McCanney valiantly defended his third place against Watson, MacDonald, and Holcombe, all of whom were within seven seconds of the Manxman.

At the conclusion of the second lap, Garcia extended his lead over Verona to 10 seconds, while Holcombe made a determined charge to secure the third position. The third and final lap would hold the key to the day’s outcome.

Holcombe had Verona in his sights and dominated both the POLISPORT Extreme Test and JUST1 Enduro Test. Garcia, on the other hand, clinched victory with commanding performances in the final ACERBIS Cross Test and CrossPro Enduro Test. Ultimately, he emerged as the day’s champion, with Verona wisely managing the gap to secure the second position. The battle for the EnduroGP title would intensify on the following day.

McCanney completed a commendable fourth-place finish, while Bernardini outpaced Watson and MacDonald to secure the fifth position.

Andrea Verona At the 2023 Enduro GP Of Portugal
Andrea Verona secured the E2 victory, finishing 15 seconds ahead of Steve Holcombe

Classes:

In the various classes, Garcia’s EnduroGP victory also propelled him to claim Enduro1 honours, securing the Enduro1 world title with a day to spare. McCanney secured the second position in Enduro1, with Pichon rounding out the podium.

Garcia expressed his elation, saying, “It’s amazing to have this winning feeling back after such a tough year,” Garcia said. “Despite my crash in Sweden, I never gave up and kept on pushing myself as I knew I had the pace to do it. Slovakia was tough, but after that we had a long break where I was able to refocus and work on my speed and fitness again. After the summer break, I won both days of round six and now the overall here on day one at round seven. It’s great to win the E1 title with one day left, but I’ll still give it my all tomorrow and hopefully move higher in the overall EnduroGP standings. I have to say a huge thank you to the whole Red Bull KTM Factory Racing family for all their help and support, and for believing in me all season. It’s great to be able to pay them back with this result.”

In the Enduro2 category, Andrea Verona secured the victory, finishing 15 seconds ahead of Steve Holcombe. This win set the stage for a thrilling championship showdown in the final special test. Bernardini held off Ben Watson to secure the third position.

Steve Holcombe At the 2023 Enduro GP Of Portugal
Steve Holcombe started on the wrong foot with a couple of crashes on lap one but was happy to get back in the game and finish off the day strong with second in E2.

Brad Freeman emerged victorious in Enduro3, holding off his closest championship rival, Mikael Persson, by five seconds. This victory extended Freeman’s championship lead to 12 points. Christophe Charlier secured the third position, narrowly beating Jaume Betriu.

The Magnorange FIM Women’s Enduro World Championship witnessed Jane Daniels crowned world champion, securing her seventh consecutive win of the season. Despite facing challenges, Daniels achieved a 48-second margin of victory. Francesca Nocera finished second after topping six special tests, with Mireia Badia securing the third position.

Daniels shared her excitement, stating, “I’m so happy to take the title. It wasn’t an easy day, with the heat really getting to me. Winning the title with seven wins from seven starts is amazing.”

Following her Super Test triumph on the previous evening, Australian Jess Gardiner candidly acknowledged a subpar performance, ultimately securing a fourth-place finish.

“I was a bit off my usual pace today and struggled to find my rhythm. It wasn’t until the last lap that I started to regain my groove. The tests were challenging, and I rode somewhat awkwardly. Hopefully, I’ll have everything sorted out for tomorrow,” Gardiner commented.

Kevin Cristino At the 2023 Enduro GP Of Portugal
Kevin Cristino claimed the 2023 Youth Enduro World Championship.

In the Youth Enduro World Championship, Kevin Cristino claimed the title, with Leo Joyon securing the runner-up position. Thibault Giraudon completed the top three.

Cristino expressed his joy, saying, “It feels amazing to win the title. I’ve been working towards this goal for three years, and now I’ve done it.”

The GALFER FIM Junior Enduro World Championship featured Albin Norrbin’s victory, narrowing the points gap to points leader Jed Etchells to seven points. Etchells finished second, three seconds behind Norrbin, while Max Ahlin secured the third position. Etchells celebrated an early victory, winning the Junior1 title.

The racing excitement continues for the final round tomorrow.

Jess Gardiner At the 2023 Enduro GP Of Portugal
Following her Super Test triumph on the previous evening, Australian Jess Gardiner candidly acknowledged a subpar performance, ultimately securing a fourth-place finish.

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