The final day of racing at round four of the 2023 FIM EnduroGP World Championship saw Steve Holcombe claim a dramatic win ahead of compatriot Brad Freeman.
After leading early on, day one winner Josep Garcia crashed out of the race, which allowed Holcombe to overtake his teammate Brad Freeman on the final lap for victory. Nathan Watson thrived in the Swedish terrain for third.
Albin Norrbin enjoyed a perfect day at the office to win the FIM Junior Enduro World Championship class. Jane Daniels raced ahead to win the FIM Women’s Enduro World Championship category.
Day two at round four of the Paulo Duarte FIM EnduroGP World Championship in Skovde, Sweden was dramatic, to say the least. The final day in a busy fortnight of racing in Scandinavia, for the riders it was far from easy. Beaten up special tests and another one hour and 30 minutes of timed racing for the frontrunners meant everyone will be glad for some rest following this exciting northern European tour.
After his victory yesterday, Josep Garcia was hungry to win again. However, starting his day with ninth on the opening Extreme Test left him with some work to do. Upfront and it was the familiar British duo of Brad Freeman and Steve Holcombe leading the way. Winning the back-to-back Enduro Test and Cross Pro Enduro Test, Garcia managed to put himself into the lead over Freeman and Holcombe.
With the race back on, we were set for another exciting three-way fight for victory. On lap two Garcia again went quickest on both enduro tests to stretch a lead over Holcombe and Freeman. Sixteen seconds clear, the Spaniard was looking tough to beat. But on the final Enduro Test, his luck suddenly ran out.
Crashing out of the race with a collarbone injury Garcia’s day was over, putting Freeman back into the lead by 12 seconds, with Holcombe and Watson giving chase. Holcombe then topped the Cross Pro Enduro Test and with a crash from Freeman, the lead changed hands once again. Now six seconds to the good, Holcombe would not be beaten, and he stayed clean to win EnduroGP for the first time this season.
“It’s been a brilliant weekend. After a strong ride in Finland, I managed to carry that form into Sweden,” Holcombe said. “The tests were long, tough, and pretty brutal, but I knew it would be a long, tough event, and today I tried to remain patient with it all. Ending day one in third, again, I really wanted more and felt there were a few places I could improve. The lead came to me on the final lap, and I didn’t let go. It’s great to get back on top of the podium.”
Behind Holcombe and Freeman, Nathan Watson was also on a charge. With the exit of Garcia, he knew a podium result was up for grabs. Fighting off Andrea Verona, Watson topped the final Extreme test to get the job done and make it a British 1-2-3 in EnduroGP.
Although missing out on a top three result, day two was a much improved one for Verona. Three seconds behind Watson, he ended his day in fourth. Another strong result from Theo Espinasse saw him complete the top five.
With Garcia crashing out, it opened the door for a new Enduro1 class winner to come through. Holding off CH Racing Sherco’s Zach Pichon, Theo Espinasse took a well-deserved victory. Jamie McCanney took third.
With his EnduroGP victory, Steve Holcombe extended his Enduro2 points lead with another win. Nathan Watson and Andrea Verona completed the podium. Daniel Milner was the best of the Aussie duo with 7th in E2 and 20th outright while Wil Ruprecht finished 11th in class and 31st outright.
Brad Freeman remains undefeated in Enduro3 with another class win. Matteo Cavallo edged out Morgan Lesiardo by just half of a second for the runner-up result.
In the Magnorange FIM Women’s Enduro World Championship, there was no change at the top of the leaderboard. Jane Daniels topped the first four special tests to cement an early lead. Unchallenged she won the day by over one minute. Francesca Nocera put in a fast final lap to finish in second place. Australian Jessica Gardiner took third thanks to the fastest time on the final Extreme Test.
While yesterday’s GALFER Junior Enduro World Championship was a close race, today Albin Norrbin made sure things went to script. The Swede kicked off his day as the rider to beat, setting the fastest times in the first seven special tests. Building up a very healthy lead, Norrbin backed it off a little on the final lap to ensure victory.
Fifth yesterday, Axel Semb showed he had some extra speed up his sleeve. Battling with day one winner Max Ahlin and Jed Etchells, Semb ended his day as the runner-up, with Ahlin holding Etchells off by six seconds for third. Sergio Navarro signed off his GP of Sweden with fifth.
The Youth Enduro class was hotly contested. Although Kevin Cristino still managed to take his eighth consecutive win, he had to work for it. Leo Joyon was in flying form, pushing the Italian hard. With the pair swapping test wins throughout the day, Cristino hung on by half of a second to win. Sherco’s Thibault Giraudon finished over one minute and 39 seconds behind in third.
The Paulo Durate FIM EnduroGP World Championship now takes a short but well-earned break before returning to action for round five in Gelnica, Slovakia on June 30 – July 2.