Enduro

Josep Garcia Triumphs on Opening Day of Scorching EnduroGP of Portugal

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Josep Garcia At the 2023 Enduro GP Of Portugal
Josep Garcia emerged as the victor in a thrilling three-way battle, with Andrea Verona claiming second place and Steve Holcombe finishing in third. Photo: Future7Media.

The intense competition at round six of the Paulo Duarte FIM EnduroGP World Championship kicked off with a sizzling display of skill, as Spain’s Josep Garcia secured a hard-fought victory at Valpacos, Portugal.

Garcia emerged as the victor in a thrilling three-way battle, with Andrea Verona claiming second place and Steve Holcombe finishing in third.

The struggle for supremacy extended to the GALFER FIM Junior Enduro World Championship, where Jed Etchells clinched victory by a mere one-second margin over Albin Norrbin.

As the racers took on the challenging course, they not only had to contend with formidable competitors but also endured sweltering weather conditions, with temperatures soaring above 30 degrees Celsius. The demanding day featured 11 special tests and over 70 minutes of timed racing.

In the premier category:

The on-track action was nothing short of scorching, with riders returning to EnduroGP competition following an extended summer break. Josep Garcia, who had dominated the previous night’s AKRAPOVIC Super Test, wasted no time in asserting his dominance. He claimed the opening POLISPORT Extreme Test, establishing a five-second lead over Andrea Verona and Zach Pichon of CH Racing Sherco, who secured third. Meanwhile, Brit Brad Freeman held fifth place, with Luc Fargier trailing in sixth.

Determined to make his presence felt on the first lap, Verona surged ahead, winning the subsequent JUST1 Enduro Test and ACERBIS Cross Test. This performance allowed him to snatch the lead from Garcia by almost two seconds as they concluded the initial lap. Steve Holcombe, on the other hand, steadily climbed to third place but remained eleven seconds behind the leading duo.

Andrea Verona At the 2023 Enduro GP Of Portugal
After an intense day-long battle Andrea Verona had to settle for second. Photo: Future7Media

Holcombe’s tenacity paid off as he significantly closed the gap during the second POLISPORT Extreme Test. However, Garcia, undeterred by the challenge, reclaimed the lead by securing victories in the JUST1 Enduro Test and ACERBIS Cross Test, positioning him ahead with a lap and a half to go.

Lap three witnessed a fierce exchange of victories between Holcombe and Garcia in the Extreme and Enduro Tests, setting the stage for an exciting finish. In a battle of fractions of a second, Garcia ultimately secured the win, outpacing Verona and Holcombe.

Expressing his joy, Garcia exclaimed, “It feels so good to win again. I worked so hard during the summer break to get back fit and healthy. But you never know how it goes until you race. So, to get this win and know I have the speed to race with the best is amazing. I’m excited for tomorrow!”

Steve Holcombe At the 2023 Enduro GP Of Portugal
Brit Steve Holcombe rounded out the Outright podium with third. Photo: Future7Media

Andrea Verona reflected on the intense competition, stating, “It’s been a really big, fun fight today for the victory. I love racing like this, but for sure I wanted to win bad. I’m happy with my riding, everything is good. I’ll see what I can do tomorrow.”

With the top three riders setting a blistering pace and distancing themselves from the rest of the field, Pichon secured fourth place, trailing by over one minute and 18 seconds. Samuele Bernardini rounded off the top five, narrowly besting Jamie McCanney, who finished sixth by a mere five seconds. Aussie Daniel Milner finished tenth outright.

In the various classes:

Enduro3 saw a closely contested battle, with Jaume Betriu making a strong late surge to secure his first victory of the season. Brad Freeman and Mikael Persson secured the second and third positions, respectively.

Enduro1 witnessed a dominant performance by Josep Garcia, who claimed victory ahead of Zach Pichon in second. Jamie McCanney earned a place on the podium in third, while Theo Espinasse and Matteo Pavoni rounded out the top five.

The Enduro2 category featured a thrilling showdown between Verona and Holcombe, with Verona clinching the win by a mere two seconds. Samuele Bernardini secured his first podium of the season with a third-place finish. Daniel Milner was classed sixth.

Jaume Betriu At the 2023 Enduro GP Of Portugal
Jaume Betriu claimed the Enduro3 class win. Photo: Future7Media

The GALFER FIM Junior Enduro World Championship offered a nail-biting duel between Jed Etchells and Albin Norrbin. Their intense competition propelled them ahead of the chasing pack, with Etchells securing victory by a mere one-second margin over Norrbin. In the contest for the final podium spot, Sergio Navarro triumphed over Jeremy Sydow by a mere three seconds.

Kevin Cristino made a triumphant return to the winner’s circle in the Enduro Youth class, securing victory by a four-second margin over Beta’s Leo Joyon. Thibault Giraudon trailed in third place, a further 10 seconds behind.

The racing action will continue with Day Two, promising another scorching day of competition.

Kevin Cristino At the 2023 Enduro GP Of Portugal
Kevin Cristino made a triumphant return to the winner’s circle in the Enduro Youth class. Photo: Future7Media

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