Leading into the GP of Euskadi one of the most popular topics of conversation was about the weather. After the scorching +35 degree sunshine of South America, just one month previous, the weather in Spain was anything but favourable. With weather forecasters promising torrential downpours on a regular basis across the entire country, it seemed that Munitibar escaped relatively unscathed. Only for the heavy Friday evening rain shower that erupted as the last of the Enduro 2 riders took to the line, the rest of the weekend’s racing was mostly dry though conditions were muddy.
Mr & Mrs Consistency
There were only six winners in Spain. With both days won by the same rider in their respective classes, KTM’s Antoine Meo remained unbeaten in Enduro 1. Pela Renet stepped it up in Enduro 2 to secure victory both days while the seemingly untouchable Christophe Nambotin blitzed his class to win Enduro 3. After a dominating performance on day one, Husaberg’s Mathias Bellino fought back from the jaws of defeat on day two to claim his second double victory of the season in Enduro Junior. Italy’s pocket rocket, Giacomo Redondi won both day’s of the Enduro Youth Cup on his KTM, while Laia Sanz beat the odds and defending Women’s champion Ludivine Puy to win the Women’s Cup.
Viva la France
The French nation continues to be the most dominant country in the EWC paddock at the moment. With Meo, Renet, Nambotin and Bellino flying the flag in E1, E2, E3 and Enduro Junior they were not alone on the podium. Marc Bourgeois finished second on day one in Enduro 1, with Johnny Aubert also second in Enduro 2 on day one. Although Nambotin had no one to join him on the podium, Gas Gas’ Ludivine Puy claimed a pair of runner up results in the Womens Cup to ensure a strong French showing.
In Mika’s Honour
As a mark of respect to the great Mika Ahola, the Enduro 3 class of 2012 kept the centre seat free in his honour during the Friday afternoon group photoshoot.
Home Race Struggle
Not strictly a home race, Spain’s Ivan Cervantes had a weekend to forget. Entering the GP of Euskadi as point’s leader in the tightly contested Enduro 2 class, many expected Cervantes to excel with the support of his country behind him. Loosing upward of 30 seconds with a crash on the opening enduro test of the weekend, the Spaniard worked his way back to sixth on day one. The following day faired worse for the Gas Gas rider as a failed attempt at one of the hill climbs in the extreme test on lap one left him faltering in 21st position. Although battling back to ninth, Renet topped the standings to knock Cervantes back to third in the points chase.
Securing the fastest time in the Friday evening super test before going on to finish in second place in Enduro 1 on day one, Marc Bourgeois’ weekend ended prematurely on day two. Starting the second enduro test on day two, while pushing for another top three result, the young Frenchman had a monstrous crash. Getting bucked from his Yamaha as he launched off one of the many hi-speed drop offs, Bourgeois hit the ground hard. With the test halted to allow medics attend the fallen rider, Bourgeois was lucky to escape injured. However a light concussion and a strained bicep will force the impressive Bourgeois to miss the GP of Portugal.
Roses In Bloom
The GP of Euskadi marked an exciting debut ride for Electraction TM’s Jordan Rose. Showing plenty of potential with a tenth place finish in Enduro 2, the British rider shell shocked his classmates with his performance on day two. Running as high as fourth by the midway point in the day, Rose eventually ended his day with a top five result of fifth finishing just 13 seconds behind KTM’s Johnny Aubert. Rose was also the fastest British rider on day two.
The Enduro Master
After six wins from six starts in this year’s championship, Nambotin as already edged his way 24 points clear in Enduro 3 and based on his dominating run on the enduro test in Spain it’s easy to see why. As the first rider to start the enduro test on day one, the French man carved out a time around the technical forestry tracks and virgin grass fields that was almost 30 seconds faster than anyone else. Continuing to place over 20 seconds per enduro test quicker than his E3 competitors, Nambotin won day one by almost 95 seconds before improving to two minutes on day two.
The Basque Region
Munitibar, full name Munitibar-Arbatzegi Gerrikaitz, host to the GP of Euskadi, is situated in the Basque region of northern Spain approximately 40kms from the capital Bilbao. Regarded as a breakaway region of Spain, this area of over two million in population, strive for their own identity and independence with mainland Spain, where some parts even speak their own language.