After a summer break of nearly two and a half months, the Maxxis FIM Enduro World Championship finally returns this weekend, reconvening in Uhlirske Janovice in the Czech Republic! The race for the EnduroGP crown will therefore resume between FREEMAN, HOLCOMBE and MCCANNEY... it’s all to play for with two rounds left!
An Experienced Organiser
Even though they have never before organised a round of the World Championship, the Enduro Klub Uhliřské Janovice v AČR is nevertheless an experienced motoclub, since they have already hosted the European Enduro Championship in 2014 as well as many national races. The Enduro Klub have drawn up a 57 km long course that the stars of the EnduroGP classes will have to traverse three times each day, while the Champion Lubes Enduro Open World Cup will complete two laps. The paddock, the start line, and the Parc Fermé will all be located in the central square of Uhlirske Janovice. From there, the riders will tackle the Technomousse Xtreme Test near the city before heading to the Champion Enduro Test, which is predicted to be the ‘key’ test where a lot of battles could be decided! They will then follow it up with the Maxxis Cross Test, which will be close to Koblasko. Friday night’s Akrapovic Super Test will be on the city’s outskirts and will start at 17.00.
EnduroGP: More Open Than Ever?
After the long summer break, it seems that Brad FREEMAN (GB - Beta Boano) and Steve HOLCOMBE (GB - Beta) are finally back at 100% of their physical abilities... And with a gap of only 4 points between the two, the end of the season promises to be tense and thrilling in EnduroGP!
But there are many as yet unanswered questions; Can HOLCOMBE resume the impressive pace that we saw in Germany’s season opener? Will FREEMAN push as hard as he did in Portugal, Spain and Greece? And if so, will he be able to resist the attacks from the reigning champion?
This penultimate Grand Prix of the season will give us at least some of the answers before the grand finale in France later in the month…
This is all without mentioning Danny MCCANNEY (GB - TM), the impressive Manxman will certainly seek to take advantage of the slightest mistake of his two compatriots to narrow the gap and keep all his title chances ahead of the French GP.
Behind this trio, Alex SALVINI (I - Honda RedMoto), Loïc LARRIEU (F - TM), Thomas OLDRATI (I - Honda RedMoto) and Matteo CAVALLO (I - Sherco) all have the speed to get on the podium this weekend and really shake things up for the contenders.
In Enduro 1, the tension will be different but still as big for Brad FREEMAN, who has a 37 points advantage in the class, and who could therefore be crowned on Sunday in the Czech Republic if he takes a double win!
But no doubt that the transalpine trio composed of Matteo CAVALLO, Thomas OLDRATI and Davide GUARNERI (I - Honda RedMoto) will seek to stop the quick Brit, and take back valuable points before the Grand Prix of France!
For his part, Patrik MARKVART (CZ - KTM) will be favoured by local fans and will be happy to give his all at his home race!
Note also the participation in E1 of the 2019 Junior World Champion, Andrea VERONA (I - TM) who will begin his preparation for next season by fighting with the “big boys"...
Over in the Enduro 2 class, everything remains open with three riders covered by just 8 points: Alex SALVINI, Loïc LARRIEU and Christophe CHARLIER (F - Honda RedMoto). This Czech Republic GP should therefore be crucial in the race for the E2 World Crown...
Not to mention the ultra-consistent Chilean Benjamin HERRERA (CL - Beta), who is only 20 points behind the leader SALVINI, and who has a very good season on the factory Beta. Keep an eye out for Giacomo REDONDI (I - Husqvarna) too, injured in Italy and forced to give up to his dreams of a title, the Jolly Racing Team rider remains a serious contender for GP victories.
Finally, could there be more to come from the defending champion Eero REMES (SF - Yamaha)? The Finn has suffered since the GP of Portugal. While Antoine BASSET (F - Husqvarna) will want to repeat the performance he put in at the Italian GP and get back on the E2 podium!
The health problems endured by Steve HOLCOMBE meant that Danny MCCANNEY was able to significantly reduce the gap in the provisional E3 standings, and now the class is wide open with only 12 points difference between the two Brits. With MCCANNEY looking more impressive than ever, and HOLCOMBE keen to retain his title, the duel in the ‘big engine’ class could be very exciting.
There is also an ongoing battle for the third place in the E3 Championship between Anthony GESLIN (F - Beta) and David ABGRALL (F - Beta), which could well go down to the wire between the French compatriots.
Also note the return to competition for Josh GOTTS (GB - TM) after a long term knee injury and lengthly recovery. As well as the participation of local rider Jiri HADEK (KTM)!
Can MACDONALD Keep on Trucking?
With the Junior title already wrapped up in Rovetta, the big question for the Under 23 class is: “who will become Vice-World Champion behind the unstoppable VERONA (TM)?”
Three riders are all able to take this important runner-up spot, Théo ESPINASSE (F - Sherco), Enric FRANCISCO (E - KTM) and Jack EDMONDSON (GB - Sherco).
One of these three riders will have to pull out all the stops in Uhlirske Janovice to widen the gap with a victory - taking advantage of the absence of the Champion, who has moved up to the EnduroGP E1 class.
But reducing this ultra-competitive Junior class to just three riders doesn’t do it justice. There are many others capable of wins, including Roni KYTÖNEN (SF - Husqvarna), Ruy BARBOSA (CL - Husqvarna) and Antoine MAGAIN (B - KTM).
In Junior 1, the class so dominated by VERONA, second place seems almost certain to go to Théo ESPINASSE. KYTÖNEN, MAGAIN and Marc SANS (E - KTM) will have to fight it out for third place. While in J2, the duel between FRANCISCO - EDMONDSON for the title will see the pair take a lot of risks as they vie for the crown…
Finally, in Youth 125cc, despite ‘dropping’ several results due to his badly broken collarbone, New Zealand’s Hamish MACDONALD (Sherco) remains in a favorable position with four wins. His two main rivals have thus far shared the spoils, with Matteo PAVONI (I - Beta Boano) taking two wins, and Claudio SPANU (I - Husqvarna) taking one.
Fabrizio AZZALIN’s protege could even take the title on Sunday in the Czech Republic (thanks to the rule which allows Youth Cup riders to drop their four worst results). To achieve the crown he will need to ‘do the double’ in the Czech Republic, but in order to do that he must stay focused and avoid any mistakes. Especially as PAVONI, SPANU, and also Nathan BERERD (F - Husqvarna) will be hot on his heels.
This GP of the Czech Republic will be highly anticipated by fans and riders alike, with everyone eager to discover what the Czech terrains has to offer, whilst also enjoying immense battles for the remaining titles. You won’t want to miss this one!
- Uhlirske Janovice (Central Bohemian Region);
- 77km East of Prague;
- Friday, September 13th: Akrapovic Super Test from 17:00 LT
- Saturday and Sunday: Start at 09:00 - Finish around 16:30;
- Organisation: Enduro Klub Uhliřské Janovice v AČR;
- Websites: www.endurogp.org and www.paja-enduro.cz;
- Course: 57kms - 3 laps;
- Free admission;
- Airport: Prague
- GPS Points:
- Super Test: 49°53'47.9"N 15°03'28.3"E
- Xtreme Test: 49°52'08.6"N 15°04'22.4"E
- Cross Test: 49°48'38.1"N 15°02'36.8"E
- Enduro Test: 49°49'08.9"N 15°05'33.7"E