All content © Bob MuIIins
Down To The Last Special Test!
The first day of the Acerbis GP of Portugal was action-packed and it promises yet more to come! Three special tests perfectly carved out by Moto Clube Marco, drier weather than expected, and riders all keen to do battle after more than a month and a half of break - everything was in place to have a hell of a day of racing!
And that's what we got in EnduroGP! While Brad FREEMAN (GB - Beta) started out very strong and took the lead on the first lap his great rival Steve HOLCOMBE (GB - Beta) was closing in. The dark horse of weekend, the returning Josep GARCIA (E - KTM) was also pushing hard, ready to jump on the slightest mistake from the defending champion. The second lap went in favour of HOLCOMBE who took the lead in the category by 2.96 seconds from FREEMAN. The third lap got extremely intense as the result came down to the very last special test! Indeed, FREEMAN had dominated the morning head and shoulders over his rivals, but he set off into the last Technomousse Xtreme Test with just a 2.17 second advantage. However, his Factory Beta team-mate and compatriot threw everything into this final special and finally won the day by 1.76 seconds, to the detriment and disappointment of FREEMAN. Today’s drama could well long stay in the mind of each of the two protagonists…
GARCIA Back With A Bang!
As for Enduro 1, with his new victory coupled with the third place of his
rival Thomas OLDRATI (I - Honda), VERONA now has a 7 point lead overall. The
Factory TM rider, in addition to his own excellent performance, can also thank
the good pace of Antoine MAGAIN who got between the two Italians.
In Enduro 2, Steve HOLCOMBE therefore remains undefeated despite the presence of Josep GARCIA who finished second on his EnduroGP comeback. Danny MCCANNEY (GB - Honda) completed the Top 3, to the detriment of reigning E2 Champion Loïc LARRIEU (F - TM) and Matteo CAVALLO (I - Sherco).
Like HOLCOMBE in E2, FREEMAN also remains at the top of his E3 class. He dominated his category, more than one and half minutes ahead of runner-up Jaume BETRIU (E - KTM)! Antoine BASSET (F - Beta) completed the podium ahead of his compatriot David ABGRALL (F - Beta), and Rudy MORONI (I - KTM) closed the day in 5th.
The New Leader In Junior!
In J1, Roni KYTÖNEN won once again, and consolidates his position as leader, ahead of Ruy BARBOSA and Antoine CRIQ (F - Sherco), who took a great podium. While in J2 MACDONALD naturally takes the lead while winning the day ahead of RUPRECHT and KOUBLE.
As for the exciting Youth 125cc class, for a long time it seemed Sergio NAVARRO (E - Husqvarna) could win the day but that was without counting on the sensation of the season, Jed ETCHELLS (GB - Fantic)! The Fantic D’Arpa Racing rider took his 4th victory of the season, more than 30 seconds ahead of his Spanish rival. Italy’s Claudio SPANU (I - Husqvarna) completed the podium ahead of Harry EDMONDSON (GB - Fantic). Hermanni HALJALA (SF - Beta Boano) completed the Top 5.
Finally, in the Champion Lubricants Enduro Open World Cup, Gonçalo REIS (P - KTM) remains undefeated in Open 2-Stroke class as he wins the day ahead of compatriot Gonçalo SOBROSA (P - Beta) and the Czech rider Robert FRIEDRICH (CZ - KTM). In battle of the Belgians, Damiaens DIEGTER (KTM) got the better of Mathias VAN HOOF (Husqvarna) in Open 4-Stroke. They were joined on the podium by Jorge PARADELO (E - KTM). Alessio PAOLI (I - Husqvarna) meanwhile took a third straight victory in the Open Senior class ahead of David MARTINEZ (E - KTM) and Duccio GRAZIANI (I - Beta).
The first day of the Acerbis GP of Portugal was thrilling from the get go,
and tomorrow promises more of the same - as well as some rain!
What They Said:
Brad FREEMAN: “I’m so upset and disappointed! I really thought I’d set a good time on the last special test, or at least enough to ensure the victory. And then Steve arrived and set a crazy-fast time! I’m really disillusioned because I rode well all day despite a few mistakes here and there. I must try to get past the disappointment and refocus for tomorrow.”
Josep GARCIA: "I am so happy to be back in the paddock and seeing everyone from EnduroGP! As for the race, I knew I could come and fight at the front with these guys and I wanted to prove it. I fell twice on the second lap so I lost time there, but I'm still happy with this first day and I look forward to fighting for the win tomorrow.”
Antoine MAGAIN: "The objective at the start of the season was to be able to fight at the front in the last GPs of the year, so I’m quite satisfied with today because I took a nice Top 5 finish, and some of my test times were up there with the best of them! We must continue to dream and keep looking higher!”