Wil Ruprecht celebrated a perfect weekend at round five of the WPTGlobal FIM EnduroGP World Championship by claiming victory on Sunday in Gelnica, Slovakia.
The Australian was on top form, as he overcame the wet and slippery conditions to top the EnduroGP podium.
Steve Holcombe pushed Ruprecht all the way, finishing just under half of a second behind him as runner-up. Back from injury, Josep Garcia returned to the podium with third.
Overnight rain that lingered into the morning greeted competitors for day two at round five of the WPTGlobal FIM EnduroGP World Championship in Gelnica, Slovakia. Already beaten-up special tests proved all the more challenging to master in the morning before the wet weather eased off during the second half of the day.
After showing yesterday that he’s an Australian who can master the mud, Wil Ruprecht was out to hammer that home again today. Unfazed by the slippery conditions, he was impressive to watch on lap one. Fastest on the opening three special tests, he built up a lead that would ultimately prove too much for everyone else to catch.
Slow to get going on lap one, Steve Holcombe found some extra pace on lap two and made an attack on Ruprecht. Winning the second ACERBIS Cross Test, he closed the gap slightly. Finding 12 seconds on Ruprecht in the following JUST1 Enduro Test, Steve was on a roll.
Exiting the final POLISPORT Extreme Test he still trailed Ruprecht by almost 11 seconds and would need to deliver an outstanding effort on the final ACERBIS Cross Test to take the win. Giving it his best shot, the seven-time world champ went to work and clocked in the fastest time of the day. However, it wouldn’t be enough and after over one hour of timed special tests, he fell just four-tenths of a second short of victory.
“The tracks were so slippery this morning with the overnight rain,” Ruprecht explained. “I went out hard this morning and it worked for me building a big lead. But I suffered for it on the final lap. The 15-minute enduro test was tough work. Steve was coming back strong, but I just managed to keep him back. Overall it’s been awesome to bounce back like this with a double win.”
For Holcombe second was still a good result.
“It’s been a good weekend. I really enjoyed the special tests,” Holcombe said. “They were proper long, and I love that. Normally I have more confidence in the mud, but I struggled with mistakes this morning. I got it together when the rain eased and was battling for the win. It felt good to be doing that again. For sure it’s a huge confidence boost heading into Hungary next weekend.”
Building pace all weekend, Spain’s Josep Garcia fought his way onto the podium today. Putting his recent injury behind him, the KTM rider will welcome that result as he heads into the GP of Hungary next weekend.
“It’s been a good weekend for my results, but quite tough physically coming back from my injury,” Garcia said. “I still have to build the race speed back up. I was tired this morning but felt good midday until a crash on the cross test dropped me back. But I’m happy with third overall today. It’s something to build on in Hungary.”
Thomas Oldrati had a great day at the office, racing his way to fourth overall. The Italian picked up the fastest time on the final JUST1 Enduro Test to hold off fifth-placed Andrea Verona by two seconds. Verona still maintains his overall lead in the championship.
In the class breakdowns, in Enduro1, Verona’s win streak finally came to an end in the rain in Gelnica. After nine consecutive victories, today was Oldrati’s turn to enjoy the top step of the podium. With Verona second, Matteo Cavallo filled out an all-Italian top three in Enduro1.
Arguably one of the most competitive classes, the results of Enduro2 mirrored that of EnduroGP, with Ruprecht, Holcombe, and Garcia claiming the top three positions. Nathan Watson and Albin Elowson were fourth and fifth respectively.
Brad Freeman was once again the rider to beat in Enduro3. The Brit had the measure of his classmates in the rain, finishing 45 seconds clear of Mikael Persson in second. Matteo Pavoni took third.
The WPTGlobal FIM EnduroGP World Championship continues with round six in Zalaegerszeg, Hungary on August 5-7.
Results: GP of Slovakia – Day 2
1 Wil Ruprecht (TM Racing) 1:04:45.73
2 Steve Holcombe (Beta) 1:04:46.18
3 Josep Garcia (KTM) 1:05:22.87
4 Thomas Oldrati (Honda) 1:05:38.57
5 Andrea Verona (GASGAS) 1:05:40.97
6 Brad Freeman (Beta) 1:05:44.38
7 Nathan Watson (Honda) 1:06:01.55
8 Mikael Persson (Husqvarna) 1:06:29.46
9 Matteo Cavallo (TM Racing) 1:06:47.49
10 Matteo Pavoni (TM Racing) 1:06:54.98
EnduroGP Championship Standings
1 Andrea Verona (ITA), GASGAS, 161 points
2 Wil Ruprecht (AUS), TM, 150 points
3 Nathan Watson (GBR), Honda, 123 points
4 Josep Garcia (ESP), KTM, 115 points
5 Thomas Oldrati (ITA), Honda, 106 points