The summer break was a long one, but the season restarted with a bang! The sixth round of the year played out in Uhlirske Janovice in the Czech Republic, and the fantastic event saw big crowds, as well as plenty of action and excitement throughout the weekend. Let’s look back at this eventful GP...
Organisation On Point
It’s 14 years since the Maxxis FIM Enduro World Championship last set foot in the Czech Republic! Thanks to the Enduro Klub Uhliřské Janovice v AČR run by the POSIK family, these long years of absence are finally over, and we enjoyed a great GP. The club carved out three brilliant special tests for the riders and spectators, especially the technical Enduro Test, where everyone was able to witness an exciting show. What better reward for the Moto Club than seeing happy fans packing the tests and paddock? The Czech GP comes second only to Italy in terms of spectator numbers! Many of the riders, team managers, media, the FIM’s Pedro MARIANO and ABC Communcation’s Bastien BLANCHARD all congratulated the club for their great work, and an EnduroGP race to remember.
Into the Lion’s Den
Junior World Champion since the Italian Grand Prix, Andrea VERONA (I - TM) decided to test himself in the EnduroGP category for the end of the season. He arrived in the Czech Republic and hopped on a TM 250cc 2-stroke in the Enduro 1 class. Whilst he couldn’t really gauge his performance on Saturday because his bike suffered a mechanical failure on the second test of the day, the Italian put together a strong performance on this ‘unfamiliar’ machine on Sunday; 13th in EnduroGP and 4th E1! VERONA does not know yet if he will return with the 2-stroke at the finale in Ambert, but one thing is certain, he will continue his apprenticeship among the ‘big boys’.
It had been a long time since we’d seen so many German riders taking part in a GP outside their home country! This weekend, we counted 22 German riders, thanks in part to Andre RUDOLPH, the KTM Stürm team, Marcus KEHR's Sherco Academy and GST Berlin! With four riders under the age of 23, Germany is looking to prepare for the future and once again become a strong Enduro nation. The 2020 German Grand Prix in Zschopau will also mark the 4th consecutive year that EnduroGP has visited the country. As always, Germany remains passionate about this sport!
After the summer break, where most injured riders had a chance to recover, we had an almost complete entry list on Friday night at the Akrapovic Super Test. Unfortunately, it didn’t stay that way for long since since on Saturday, Max VIAL (F - Beta) dislocated his shoulder. And soon after it was Jack EDMONDSON’s (GB - Sherco) turn to bite the dust and fracture his wrist. At the same time the unlucky Brit had to wave goodbye to his chance of winning the Junior 2 World Cup title. We wish a speedy recovery to these two riders!
Super Swedish Support
Joakim JOHANSSON, manager of the Yamaha Johansson MPE team, is a jolly person, always in a good mood and with a big smile. For this Grand Prix of the Czech Republic, he invited one of his main sponsors: Mälardalens, and twenty people made the trip from Sweden to attend the 6th round of the year. It was impossible to miss this rowdy and passionate group of guests - all dressed with Eero REMES (SF - Yamaha) replica shirts, and shouting their support for every Johansson rider from the Super Test until the final test, with chainsaws, airhorns, and lots of cheering!
In his final season in the Junior class last year, Joe WOOTTON (GB - Husqvarna) showed great progress to eventually win a day in J2 and finish in the overall top three in the Junior category. Having arrived in Senior this season, the Brit has been under the radar for most of the season with the Jolly Racing team. But a few days before the GP of the Czech Republic, the ACU (British Motorcycle Federation) announced its selection for the 2019 ISDE Trophy team, and WOOTTON will be representing his country in Portugal in November. It seems that this announcement has given him an extra boost, and the happy-go-lucky youngster was flying in Uhlirske Janovice, winning E2 and placing 4th EGP on Saturday! He was running the same pace on Sunday before committing a big mistake two tests before the end of the day. In any case, his talent has really shown through on the challenging Czech tests, and it will be interesting to see what he can do in Ambert, will he fight with the duo of SALVINI and LARRIEU?
Best Enduro Test of the Year?
Steve HOLCOMBE (GB - Beta) was adamant in one of his Instagram story posts ahead of the weekend: the Czech Enduro Test is the best of the season! Of course the opinions diverge according to the riders! But this test was clearly one of the highlights of the Grand Prix, and even of the season. Almost 10 minutes long, the Czech edition of the Champion Lubricants Enduro Test became more and more technical as roots and stones were unearthed with each lap and the ruts got deeper and more tricky. This was the test on which Brad FREEMAN (GB - Beta Boano) was able to make the difference and take the overall win! Whether the riders excelled here or lost out, everyone can agree that this memorable Enduro Test will go into the history books!