All content © Bob MuIIins
Junior Kouble wins the first day of European opener
The only 21-year-old Krystof Kouble from the Czech Republic won the first day at the start of the European Enduro Championship in Gois, Portugal.
From the first stage on, the KTM rider took the lead and extended this lead to 22 seconds until the end. After a slip-up in the enduro test his lead had shrunk a little, but overall all participants had to struggle more with the weather conditions than with the competition. Heavy rain and hailstorms had made the track muddy and slippery and had led the organizers to some detours.
The second of the day, the Finn Eemil Pohjamo: took on more than 4,000 km of the journey: The TM-pilot on the 300 two-stroke fought his way up to second place after the first lap and didn't give up after a crash in the cross test. The third rider of the day, the Swede Albin Elowson, had no chance to get close.
Fourth place went to an even younger rider: The Swede Max Ahlin with the small 125cc machine also won the biggest class in this European Championship season opener.
Jed Etcheles was 7th and he took 3rd in the Junior 2/3 class. Max Ditchfield just missed out on a top twenty finish. Luke Parker in 24th was runner up in the Over 250 2T.. Jack Ditchfield was 57th, Alfie Coles 60th and James Jackman 62nd.
The Czech rider Zuzana Novackova won the women's race: Not because she was the fastest in the special stages, but because she had collected the fewest penalty minutes on the demanding track: In the end she had a lead of over eight minutes over Hanna Berzelius from Sweden, who is so much faster in the special stages.
All in all, at the end only 13% of the riders quit the competition before the end.
Double for Kouble in Portugal
Krystof Kouble from the Czech Republic also won the second day at the start of the European Enduro Championship in Gois, Portugal. Thus, the KTM rider takes the lead in the overall classification for the first time. The only 21-year-old motorcyclist naturally also won the junior class E2/3 in which he takes part.
The Swede Albin Elowson not only won the cubic capacity class of the big four-strokes, but also took second place in the overall standings with his Husqvarna. The Finn Eemil Pohjola, who had been ahead of Elowson the day before, lost some time after a crash, when he had to ride two special stages without clutch.
The Swede Max Ahlin won the youngest of the participants, the 125cc riders up to the age of 21, as he did on day one: The 17-year-old Sherco rider finished sixth in the overall standings, just behind 125cc last year's winner Roni Kytönen from Finland, who this season moved up to the junior class with the big bikes. But also in the class no herb seems to have grown against the Husqvarna rider, because in the junior class E1 he also won both daily classifications superior.
The Finn Petri Pohiamo, who has been successful in the Enduro World Championship in the past, won his first seniors' race among seniors who are over 40 years old. On the first day he had to give up prematurely due to technical problems, so he is still a bit behind in the championship.
Even though there was less rain in Portugal on that day, the track was much more difficult than the day before - the ruts were too deep and cost additional power. So again there were numerous retirements, even though some riders with technical problems or physical injuries just managed to make it to the finish. Almost a quarter of the participants dropped out and a further quarter of the participants collected time penalty points due to delays at the checkpoints.
The Góis Moto Clube has done an excellent job as the organiser on site to organise the competition under these difficult conditions in an excellent and trouble-free way.
For those who can't be there themselves, there is live timing:
More information and schedules, results and links, there are always up to
date and right on the official website:
6th/7th of April Góis / Portugal (www.goismotoclube.pt/)
18th/19th of May Brenzo / Slovakia (www.bmt1.sk)
29th/30th of Juni Madona / Latvia (www.lamsf.lv/en/sports
6th-8th of September Heinola / Finnland (www.hemk.net)