Enduro

Nathan Watson Makes It A Double Win At EnduroGP Of Portugal

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Photo of EnduroGP rider Nathan Watson
Nathan Watson dominated the EnduroGP in Coimbra taking the EnduroGP class win on both days. Photo: Future7Media

Brit Nathan Watson has raced to his second victory of the weekend, topping the EnduroGP class on day two at round four of the WPTGlobal FIM EnduroGP World Championship in Portugal.

Claiming his first-ever double victory, Watson won Sunday’s EnduroGP in Coimbra, leading home Andrea Verona in second with Steve Holcombe making a welcome return to the podium in third. With a pair of runner-up results in Portugal, Verona retakes the EnduroGP championship lead.

All smiles after his first EnduroGP victory of the season on Saturday, Nathan Watson wasted no time in returning to the top step of the podium by winning again on Sunday. Clearly favouring the hard and dry Portuguese terrain, the Honda rider hit his stride late on lap one by topping the opening ACERBIS Cross Test. Fastest in the following JUST1 Enduro Test, he closed the gap to early leader Steve Holcombe.

Holcombe, also back to top form, had managed to keep Watson at bay as they exited the second POLISPORT Extreme Test, but Watson again favoured the ACERBIS Cross Test. Clocking in the fastest time he put himself out front by four seconds as they began the final lap of three.

Striking again, he won the JUST1 Enduro Test to build a 12-second cushion over Verona who’d now moved up to second. Keeping the pace high, it proved once again to be Watson’s day and with two more solid tests, the Brit clinched victory to mark a career-first EnduroGP double win.

“It’s been a perfect weekend going 1-1, which I kind of didn’t expect to achieve coming into this weekend. It’s the first time I’ve ever done that, so it feels amazing. I want to give a massive thank you to my team for their effort,” Watson said.

Photo of EnduroGP rider Andrea Verona
Italian Andrea Verona was on the podium on both days and now moves into the championship lead.

Behind him, Verona fought hard to keep pace while also facing a rejuvenated Holcombe. Holcombe started out the day strong with two test wins as Verona spent the morning steadily chipping away at his advantage. With a lap to go, the Italian was up to second. Holding strong, Verona took his second runner-up result of the weekend to move back into the EnduroGP championship lead.

“I really liked the tests this weekend and I’m happy with my result to get second overall again today,” Verona said. “It’s been a nice weekend in terms of the championship and I’m excited to wear the gold plate in Slovakia once we come back after this short break.”

Enjoying a resurgence of form, Holcombe was happy with his efforts for third overall.

“It’s been a positive race and a big improvement over last weekend to get back on the podium with third today,” Holcombe said. “I’m still nursing a shoulder injury, but I’m pleased with my pace, especially this morning. Hopefully, my season has turned a corner for the better now!”

Photo of EnduroGP rider Steve Holcombe
Steve Holcombe made a welcome return to the podium with third place. Photo: Future7Media

Defending EnduroGP champion Brad Freeman also enjoyed his best result in recent weeks too. Fourth today, while also taking a POLISPORT Extreme Test win, indicates Freeman is beginning to put his numerous injuries behind him.

Spain’s Marc Sans Soria put in a standout performance to finish fifth. The Spaniard was clearly enjoying the conditions, claiming the final POLISPORT Extreme Test win.

Australian Daniel Milner, who finished third overall on day one, had a big crash that smashed his handlebars off and left the rookie with a DNF for the day.

Following yesterday’s crash where he snapped a throttle body Milner’s compatriot Will Ruprecht finished 14th overall in what was a bad weekend for the Aussie who went into the weekend with the overall championship lead.

“Some days are good and some days are bad,” Milner lamented. “Unfortunately I had a good crash in the second enduro, snapping my bars and ending my day. Walked away from it thankfully, but she was a scary one. Onwards and upwards.” he concluded.

Photo of EnduroGP rider Daniel Milner
After an impressive e podium on day one, Aussie Daniel Milner was out of luck on day two with a broken set of handlebars after a nasty crash. Photo: Daniel Milner FB

Making the Enduro1 class his own in 2022, Andrea Verona marched on to his eighth consecutive victory of the season in Portugal. The battle for the remainder of the podium was tight, with Samuele Bernardini taking the runner-up result by less than three seconds over Thomas Oldrati. Matteo Cavallo was only a further five seconds behind in fourth.

With his win in EnduroGP, Nathan Watson also made it a double in Enduro2 in Portugal. Holcombe finished as runner-up, while Czech’s Krystof Kouble enjoyed his first visit to the podium with third.

Brad Freeman was back on top of the Enduro3 podium on Sunday. His double win puts him back in the driving seat of the championship. Just three seconds behind Freeman, Sans Soria took second, while Mikael Persson completed the top three.

The WPTGlobal FIM EnduroGP World Championship takes a short break before returning to action with a double header rounds five and six in Slovakia and Hungary, beginning on July 29-31.

Photo of EnduroGP rider Nathan Watson

Results: Round 4 – GP of Portugal, Day 2

EnduroGP Class
1 Nathan Watson (Honda) 57:27.68
2 Andrea Verona (GASGAS) 57:48.40
3 Steve Holcombe (Beta) 57:53.55
4 Brad Freeman (Beta) 58:25.65
5 Marc Sans Soria (Husqvarna) 58:28.61
6 Krystof Kouble (Husqvarna) 58:28.63
7 Hugo Blanjoue (KTM) 58:30.78
8 Mikael Persson (Husqvarna) 58:38.54
9 Samuele Bernardini (Honda) 58:41.11
10 Thomas Oldrati (Honda) 58:43.63

EnduroGP Class Championship Standings After Round 4
1 Andrea Verona 133 Points
2 Will Ruprecht 110 Points
3 Nathan Watson 107 Points
4 Josep Garcia 87 Points
5 Thomas Oldrati 83 Points
6 Brad Freeman 57 Points
7 Steve Holcombe 53 Points
8 Danial Milner 52 Points
9 Hugo Blanjoue 45 Points
10 Matteo Cavallo 43 Points

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