One of the most grueling tours, mentally and physically for many years. From the furnace of Greece to the legendary Bergamasco Valley; so much to report.
When ABC Communications learned in March that the organisers in Corsica had to pull out of the championship for health reasons, Bastien and Alain BLANCHARD instinctively turned to Aris LIOUGAS, Xristos POUFTAS and the Serres Off Road Premio Moto Club, trusted friends of the Maxxis FIM Enduro World Championship. After several meetings, the club accepted the challenge of replacing the Corsican round in less than three months, which they did brilliantly! The riders were treated to three great tests and beautiful terrain. As usual the Gran Premio Club of Serres put on a remarkable event and ABC Communications wishes to thank them again for having replaced the Corsican round.
We knew that Danilo PETRUCCI, who won the MotoGP of Italy at Mugello, was a big fan of Enduro and a friend of Tommaso MONTANARI (I – KTM). At the Acerbis Grand Prix in Italy last weekend, the Ducati rider paid a visit to his friend and the EnduroGP Paddock. He also took the opportunity to be at the start line on Day Two of the 43rd Valli Bergamasche before cheering on MONTANARI throughout the day.
Toppling the Leader
We wondered who could manage to defeat Andrea VERONA (I – TM) this season as the Italian seemed invincible. In some GPs Enric FRANCISCO (E-KTM) was getting close, but it was finally Finn Roni KYTÖNEN (Husqvarna) who accomplished this feat during the second day of the GP Maxxis of Greece. The Finn was impressive and showed he has a bright future in Enduro. Despite this, VERONA still claimed the Junior title in front of his home crowd in Rovetta the week after.
This tour was exhausting for many. Steve HOLCOMBE (GB – Beta) has been suffering from a persistent virus, Alex SALVINI (I – Honda) battled bravely with a dislocated shoulder and Brad FREEMAN (GB – Beta Boano) broke his collar bone in Greece yet still managed to finish the Acerbis GP of Italy. Not forgetting Giacomo REDONDI (I – Husqvarna) with his injured ribs or Priit BIENE (EST – Yamaha) with his injured arm. Now they have nearly two and a half months to get back on their feet and prepare for the home run of the season!
The Pride of Bergamo
There are many riders from Bergamo in the EnduroGP Paddock, two of the best known are Thomas OLDRATI (I – Honda RedMoto) and Rudy MORONI (I –KTM). It’s fair to say that these two riders were determined to do well at home in Rovetta. OLDRATI, like MORONI, can be proud of his GP. For OLDRATI, a podium and a first victory since 2010 in Slovakia, for MORONI his very first podium in the E1 class. For local riders, a win or podium in the Valli Bergamasche is like a consecration and no doubt this date was marked as a red letter day on their race calendars – and for the thousands of spectators present too!
The Acerbis Grand Prix of Italy is one of the biggest, if not THE biggest EnduroGP of the year. And it’s a place where many of the Championship sponsors get together. This year Technomousse was present – they had a stand in the commercial area, along with Scott Motorsports, Just 1 and of course Acerbis, partner of the GP. We also had a visit from Alojz TRSTENJAK and Gregor ZUPAN from Akrapovic Exhaust as well as Marco BOLETTI (Technomousse), Pascal POULY (Scott), Tony AMORIELLO (Just 1) and of course Franco and Guido ACERBIS.
As they did in 2015, the Moto Club Bergamo created an amazing space called Motor Party for the Akrapovic Super Test and the Champion Enduro Test. On the programme were refreshments, concerts, stunt shows and the famous Red Bull Epic Rise. The stars of the Enduro were there for the traditional autograph session just before the Super Test. Giuliano PICCININI’s team created additional entertainment and activities to keep the public enthralled until the end of the evening and to make this 43rd Valli Bergamasche a huge Enduro party!
From ‘ROCKY’ to ‘GLADIATOR’
Since 2013, the year of his first Championship win, Alex SALVINI (I – Honda RedMoto) has been nicknamed ‘Rocky’ by the Italian fans. But now he has a new nickname: ‘Gladiator’. Many still wonder how he managed to go from a dislocated shoulder in Greece to an overwhelming EnduroGP victory just a week after in Rovetta. ‘SALVO’ impressed everyone with his mental strength and determination, resuming the race on Sunday in Greece to score valuable points. Then, after a difficult Saturday in Italy, the Honda RedMoto wrote a new chapter of his legend by winning the “Valli” on Sunday, more than 40 seconds ahead of his nearest rival Loic LARRIEU (F – TM). A legend that Italians are rightly proud of.