Three years have now passed since the Maxxis FIM Enduro World Championship welcomed a women’s class. This season, the world’s elite female enduro riders will get the opportunity to race four of the series’ eight Grand Prix – one more than during the past few seasons. Starting in Spain, then heading to Portugal, Italy and finishing in France at the championship’s final event, the women enduro riders, who have shown themselves to be every bit as courageous as the men, will participate in an intense and furious season.
The Enduro Women championship kicks off on May 5th and 6th in Munitibar (Spain). So, with only one week to go before the Grand Prix, it is time for us to take a closer look at the class…
Double Word Champion and winner of 11 days out of a possible 12 since the creation of the class, Ludivine PUY (F – Gas Gas) is the undisputed champion of the Enduro Women class. “Lulu” has already announced that this season will be her last and as such she will have only one goal – a third World title. Moreover, the French rider still remains faithful to the Gas Gas team that she knows so well and that has helped her win two World titles.
But with the meteoric improvement of Laïa SANZ (E – Gas Gas) over the last two years, the championship seems to be more undecided than ever before. Third in her first participation in the championship, and then second last year, the Catalan rider who is an 11-time Trial World Champion, must surely be planning on giving her new team-mate a hard time! The two official Gas Gas riders will not make life easy for one another with Laïa really wanting to become Lulu’s successor.
Blandine DUFRENE, 3rd last season, is the only rider to claim a day win from the double World Champion in the Enduro Women class, at the GP of Italy in 2010. The 2011 French Champion really wants to play the spoiler between the two Gas Gas riders. On a Husaberg this season, she will really want to give her new bike a victory and to show to the two favourites that she is much more than a championship outsider.
Fourth last year, Heike PETRICK (D – KTM), the dean of the class, will look for the podium and to show that she still has the potential of her ambitions.
Jessica JONSSON (S – Gas Gas), the blond Scandinavian, must confirm her nice results during the past season and maybe also play a spoiler role in the championship.
The French riders Geraldine FOURNEL (Husaberg), Juliette BERREZ (TM), Audrey ROSSAT (KTM) and the Spaniard Rosa ROMERO (KTM) will target some nice performances… and are ready to benefit from any possible mistakes from the title favourites.
This season, the Enduro Women class is welcoming five newcomers. Among them, Samantha TICHET (F – HVA) – the young French racer from Mende who placed third during the 2011 French championship. With the speed to compete with the best in the class Samantha might deliver a few surprises.
Australian Jemma WILSON (Yam) and South African Toni JARDINE (KTM) will also add colour to the women class.
Finally, the British riders Fionn GRIFFITHS and Emily DAVEY will fight with the Enduro World Championship’s best as they taste EWC competition for the very first time.
The Enduro Women class continues to take more and more importance and promises an exciting spectacle. Even if Ludivine PUY is the favourite for success, Laïa SANZ and Blandine DUFRENE are better armed than ever to stop the French rider from achieving a third World championship title.
The Enduro Women championship kicks off on May 5th and 6th in Munitibar (Spain).