After three weeks of well-deserved rest, the FIM Enduro Maxxis World Championship heads in the direction of North-East Europe and to Tallinn in Estonia for the fourth Grand Prix of the season!
For the first time in its history, Estonia will host a round of EnduroGP thanks to the highly motivated RedMoto Klubi and its dynamic President Veiko BIENE. The Moto Club based in the Estonian capital will also be supported by the Estonian Motorcycling Federation (EMF).
The First European Capital to host an EnduroGP!
The largest Moto Club in Estonia, the RedMoto Klubi has already hosted many rounds of national Enduro and a round of the European Championship in 2016. Veiko BIENE and his team also organise many national motocross races. But on the occasion of the centenary of Estonia, RedMoto wanted to celebrate in style by bringing EnduroGP to Tallinn!
And they have gone all out to create an excellent and accessible race, since the paddock will be located in Lauluväljak, Tallinn's biggest concert venue, just 1.5 km from the city center. The Friday Night Akrapovic Super Test will also be in Lauluväljak and will start at 19.45. Over the next two days, the riders will leave from this paddock and return there at the end of the day. From the start they will head to the only Time Check of the race, in Maardu. From there, they will take the direction of the Maxxis Cross Test located, like the T.C, in Maardu. This test will use part of the motocross track belonging to the club. Then they will tackle the first of two Enduro Tests of the course, named the Technomousse Enduro Test for this occasion, before ending the lap with the X-Rocks Enduro Test. This second Enduro Test on the lap will be run entirely in the woods and will take between 12 and 14 minutes - this is where everything will be decided! As in Portugal, the riders will finish the day with the Super Test, which will be broadcast live on EnduroGP’s Facebook page! Also note that the terrain will be very varied, alternating between stony and sandy soils...
Can SALVINI Confirm?
Back in a mid-March interview at the demanding Päijänne GP, Alex SALVINI (I - Husqvarna) revealed that he felt ready to tackle this season at the top. He proved his point on the Iberian Tour, where we were treated to a great show from the 2013 E2 World Champion, who won no less than 3 out of 4 days in the EnduroGP class, while achieving the Grand Slam in Enduro 2. Now in command of these two categories, the rider from Bologna will have to continue his push and keep scoring points to keep his rivals at bay!
The 33-year-old will have to resist attacks from Eero REMES (SF - TM), currently 2nd by 8 points, who should be comfortable and quick on a type of terrain very similar to his home country of Finland. The double E1 World Champion will certainly want to get his hands on the 24MX Leader Plates which he had to surrender to SALVINI in Portugal...
We’ll also have to keep an eye on Loïc LARRIEU (F - Yamaha), who is currently third in E2 and who is looking for a first victory of the season - which could finally launch his 2018 season. Likewise, Matthew PHILLIPS (AUS - Sherco), who had great difficulties during the Iberian tour, will certainly want to respond to his rivals and find some consistent results to build on his overall position…
Christophe CHARLIER (F - Beta), Thomas OLDRATI (I - Honda) and Deny PHILIPPAERTS (I - Beta Boano) will also want to shine and catch up some lost ground.
But Estonian fans will only have eyes for local stars Martin LEOK (KTM) and Juri TRIISA (Beta) or for the ‘neighbouring’ Latvian, Ivo STEINBERGS (KTM).
Over in Enduro 3, the deal is simple: The factory Gas Gas riders Christophe NAMBOTIN (F) and Danny MCCANNEY (GB) must get ahead of Steve HOLCOMBE (GB - Beta) if they don’t want to be too far behind when starting the second part of the season...
But while the 2017 EGP World Champion remains very fast, he has not yet shown the same mastery and consistency of last season, and that could play into NAMBOTIN’s hands as he is very strong mentally, and he will be well suited to the type of Enduro Test that we will find in Tallinn...
Behind this trio, Anthony GESLIN (F - Beta) will seek to confirm his excellent Iberian tour, as well as consolidate his 4th place in the provisional standings. But he will have to deal with this year’s early leader of the category, Aleksi JUKOLA (SF - KTM). The Finn has stayed in EnduroGP (after his victory at the Päijänne) and he intends to prove to observers that he is able to compete with the best in the world, even in more “summery" conditions...
In Enduro 1, Jamie MCCANNEY (GB - Yamaha), the favourite of the category, found himself a title rival in the form of 2017 Junior World Champion, Brad FREEMAN (GB - Beta)! In Castelo Branco, the Beta Boano rider showed that he could be faster than his compatriot... and he is now only points 4 points away from the Manxman.
But to assume that this small capacity class can only offer the duel between MCCANNEY and FREEMAN would be a mistake. Indeed, Antoine BASSET (F - Gas Gas), currently 3rd, is close to his two rivals and may well come to join in the battle for the title...
Davide GUARNERI (I - Honda RedMoto), victim of a huge crash in Portugal, is also not far behind on points, the former MXGP rider is not done in the race for the podium - just like Eemil POHJOLA (SF - Gas Gas) and Manuel MONNI (I - Suzuki)!
This Estonian Maxxis Grand Prix will also mark the return of the highly acclaimed Aigar LEOK (EST - Yamaha) to the World Championship. He will be joined by Veiko RAATS (Sherco) as an Estonian representative in E1, while Henry OLENIUS (SF - TM) and Jussi ARVAJA (SF - Sherco) will also travel over from Finland.
Among the Juniors, the title favourite Davide SORECA (I - TM) is already in danger because of his two compatriots Matteo CAVALLO (I - Beta Boano) and Andrea VERONA (I - TM). The former, a protégé of Jarno BOANO, started his season by leading the standings in J2 and scratch. And the latter is at the head of the J1 class. "SHOWRECA" is 19 points behind CAVALLO in J2, and 31 behind him on scratch! The TM rider will have to make amends if he doesn’t want to see his title hopes fly away...
Especially since the competition is tough in J2 with already six riders who have reached the podium, in addition to CAVALLO and SORECA. Enric FRANCISCO (E - KTM), David ABGRALL (F - Sherco), Jack EDMONDSON (GB - Sherco) and Joe WOOTTON (GB - Husqvarna) also tasted the Cava Bertha!
The positions are therefore not fixed and anything could happen in this category, despite the voracious appetite of CAVALLO...
In J1 the competition is also tough. While Andrea VERONA leads the dance, behind him there is a large chasing pack consisting of Antoine MAGAIN (B - KTM), Brazilian Bruno CRIVILIN (KTM), Théo ESPINASSE (F - Sherco) and Kirian MIRABET (E - Honda), who all have the speed and the talent to challenge the 2017 World 125cc Youth Champion.
Not forgetting the Frenchmen Léo LE QUERE (TM), Thibaut PASSET (Yamaha) and Jean-Baptiste NICOLOT (Yamaha) as well as the Finns Antti HANNINEN (Husqvarna) and Lari JUKOLA (Husqvarna) who are not far from the leading group.
Confirmation time for VAN OEVELEN!
In the first round of the Youth 125cc class, held in Santiago de Compostela, a name appeared on everyone's lips: Matthew VAN OEVELEN (B - Sherco). The young Belgian shone in Galicia and left with the 24MX Leader Plate...
After this historical first Belgian victory, VAN OEVELEN must now confirm in Tallinn and prove that he has the stuff to resist the other talents of the future; Ruy BARBOSA (CL - Husqvarna), Hamish MACDONALD (NZ - Sherco), Hugo SVARD (SF - Husqvarna) and Joakim GRELSSON (KTM)...
Other hopefuls include Robin FILHOL (F - Sherco), Dan MUNDELL (GB - Sherco), Roni KYTONEN (SF - Husqvarna) and Marcus ADIELSSON (S - Yamaha).
This first Maxxis Grand Prix of Estonia in the history of EnduroGP is therefore of major importance in each category for the rest of the season... In addition to sporting issues, 15 nationalities will be represented this weekend in the Tallinn tests. What more could you add to this fourth round of the year? A big celebration of Enduro led masterfully by the RedMoto Klubi in the Estonian capital!
- Tallinn (Capital of Estonia);
- Friday 1st June: Akrapovic Super Test 19:45 EET;
- Saturday 2nd & Sunday 3rd June: Start 09:00 EET – Arrival around 16:00;
- Organisation: RedMoto Klubi;
- Website: www.endurogp.org;
- Route: 55kms – 3 laps;
- Airport: Tallinn
- GPS Points :
- Akrapovic Super Test: Tallinn, Lauluvaljak
- Technomousse Xtreme Test: Jöelähtme (59°27'59.5"N 25°01'51.9"E)
- Maxxis Cross Test: Maardu (59°27'11.4"N 24°59'24.0"E)
- X-Rocks Enduro Test: Jöelähtme (59°27'56.2"N 25°01'44.0"E)