We take a look back at a hectic Iberian tour which tested the strength of both man and machine, with everything from sun and dust in Valpaços, to mud and rain in Santiago de Compostela...
This tour offered up some excellent organisation, starting with the Usprigozus Vilarandelo de Valpaços. They took on the challenge of hosting a world level race, despite only running national events in the past. Fernando REIS’ team prepared a fantastic Grand Prix, from both a sporting and logistics point of view. They provided everything to make the weekend run smoothly, as well as adding lots of extras for the fans to enjoy!
As for Jose CANDA's Movete Na Moto, the task of hosting their second GP in two years was made difficult by the torrential rains and the wind that hit Galicia all week long. Despite having to modify and reroute some of the tests, this third round of the championship was still a great success. Bastien BLANCHARD (ABC Com), Pedro MARIANO (FIM) and Heinrich SCHMIDT (FIM) gave a lot of thanks and praise to these two clubs.
Fans & Influencers
Since the beginning of the season, three big Enduro fans and Facebook and Instagram influencers: Brian TILL, Peter SCHLUTER and Hüseyin ÖZ, have been present at the Maxxis FIM Enduro World Championship to share their experiences with their followers. Invited by ABC Communication to this Iberian tour, Enduro.Live, Enduro Life, and Hard Enduro World, have filmed and shared their race weekends around the world, also echoing the original content made by the promoter. In addition to the official coverage of EnduroGP on EnduroTV you can enjoy the GP of Portugal and Spain from the point of view of these passionate fans. They will also be present at the next 4 GPs!
We know that Eero REMES (SF - Yamaha) will never give up, something he proved last season we he finally took advantage of the misfortunes of Alex SALVINI (I) to take his third world title. But we did not know yet how strong the Finn was when it came to fighting through the pain barrier…
in Santiago de Compostela, after a big crash on the first day, REMES started on Sunday with cracked ribs and a heavy damage to his thumb. While in the end he only finished 11th in the E2 class, the Yamaha Johansson rider impressed everyone with his strength of character and proved he is ready to fight hard for more medals.
The Spanish GP witnessed a lot of ‘firsts’! Young guns Nathan BERERD (F - Husqvarna) and Matteo PAVONI (I - Beta Boano) took debut victories in the World Championship in the Youth class, while Brad FREEMAN (UK - Beta Boano) seized, for the first time in his career, the top spot in the EnduroGP standings! And there is one more rider who was celebrating an important milestone; Giacomo REDONDI (I - Husqvarna)! After racing in the USA last year and winning in the WORCS series, "Red" came back to EnduroGP almost at the last minute via the JET Racing team this year. And while some were surprised to see him on the podium in Portugal, he then proved that he was ready to go a step further, taking an excellent victory in E2 in Santiago - his very first win in a Senior category!
During the Portuguese Grand Prix, ABC Communication with the help of Usprigozus Vilarandelo organized several stunt show sessions. And Portuguese star Humberto RIBEIRO stepped up to the plate. So, in addition to an autograph session one hour before the race, Humberto RIBEIRO put on a jaw-dropping show before and after the Akrapovic Super Test, which ended with a firework display. The Portuguese stunt rider thrilled the fans and added extra spice to an exciting weekend. ABC Communication had prepared the same show for Spain on Friday in addition to the autograph session, but unfortunately it had to be cancelled due to bad weather.
With such a grueling tour, it’s hardly surprising that the EnduroGP infirmary has unfortunately grown in numbers. In addition to the battling Eero REMES, we were sad to see an injury for Youth 125cc star Hamish MACDONALD (NZ - Sherco), who suffered a broken collarbone and scapula on Saturday in Spain. Hugo BLANJOUE (F - KTM) took a heavy hit on his back, Joao LOURENCO (P - Beta) injured his foot and Stéphane MILACHON (F - Beta) was also forced to sit out due to injury. Fortunately, the riders have around one month to recover before the back-to-back rounds in Greece and Italy.
After two Grand Prix, it was a good opportunity for ABC Communication and the FIM to get the first impressions of the riders who make up the Champion Lubricants Enduro Open World Cup this year. Pedro MARIANO (FIM Clerk of the Course), Maurizio MICHELUZ (FIM Track Inspector) and Bastien BLANCHARD (ABC Communication) invited all the protagonists for a first meeting. The purpose of this meeting was to discuss the good points, and those to improve on in the future. It was a constructive meeting, with the aim to attract even more riders into these new Open classes.
For a few years now we’ve seen 300cc 2-strokes take over from the big 4-strokes which were so popular with Enduro fans. In fact, one of the last Champions to win on a big 4-stroke is still in our championship, David KNIGHT. It’s been difficult to find a 500cc 4-stroke in the paddock, but this year there’s one frequently on the podium in the Junior class… enter the RFME team with the current Junior 2 leader, Enric FRANCISCO (E - KTM). The young Spaniard has been doing rather well since the start of the year, and in addition to leading the Junior 2 class, he is tentatively in second place of Junior Overall! FRANCISCO is mentored by Spanish enduro legend, Ivan CERVANTES, who is no doubt thrilled to see his protege doing so well.
Pure Passion for Enduro
With the newly created Champion Lubricants Enduro Open World Cup, we have discovered some good old-fashioned enduro passion. Like that of the Frenchman Pierre HOURDIN (F - Husqvarna). He had already used up his paid holidays from work to race in the French Championship, but now the Atomic Moto rider is taking unpaid leave in order to participate in the World Championship, starting with Portugal & Spain, as well as the GPs of Italy and France. The Husqvarna rider made his way from Bourges with his van and his wife, Fanny, to achieve one of his dreams. Although he started badly with a DNF on Saturday in Valpaços, his efforts were then rewarded with a 6th place on Sunday, and then finishing 11th and 10th in the Senior category in Spain. This time we have mentioned Pierre HOURDIN, but these types of inspiring stories are abundant among the riders in the Open Cup classes this year.