Winning the opening day’s racing in the 2024 FIM EnduroGP World Championship, Rachel Gutish became the first American woman to stand on the top step of the podium.

With her victory on day one at round one in Portugal writing the Team KBS Sherco rider Rachel Gutish penned herself into the history books, becoming the first American woman to top the podium.

It was a result that almost swamps the fact that she arrived and conquered in her first ever day’s racing in EnduroGP. Hugely experienced and with multiple Six Days winning medals, Rachel has never knuckled down to the long, seven hour days, long transfers and challenging different tests through a GP weekend – ISDE trophies or not, this is something different so to win first time out was remarkable.

Currently third overall in Enduro Women standings, Gutish talks ahead of this weekend’s Italian GP about what the victory means, who hard the EnduroGP events are compared to back home and why even being here is fulfilling a long-held ambition.

Rachel, how did it feel to become the first woman rider from the USA to win in EnduroGP?

Rachel Gutish: “It was an amazing feeling for sure! When I heard my national anthem playing, it was comparable to how I felt the first time I heard it play at the 6DAYS with my teammates. It wasn’t just a first for me, but a first for my country too. It was history being made. It also makes me proud that this particular accomplishment was mine in a way that the 6DAYS wins are not. It was my plan, my dream, my goal… and I am the rider who accomplished it!”

As a two-time winning member of the USA 6DAYS team you obviously have form, but did you expect this victory to come so soon at round one?

“Yes and no. I was familiar with my competition from racing against them at the 6DAYS®. I thought I could do well based on my results there, but I also knew this was a different game, so I didn’t want to come in cocky. I wasn’t surprised I won, but if I’d gotten beaten badly then I wouldn’t have been surprised either! I guess the best way to put it is that I tried to come in with a very open mind and without any expectations.”


How does EnduroGP compare to other Enduros you’ve raced?

“One of the reasons I wanted to race EnduroGP so badly is because I love this style of racing. At home we have the US Sprint Enduro series. It’s like EnduroGP, but without the transfer trail or mechanical aspects. Outside of EnduroGP I only get to do this format once a year at the 6DAYS® and that simply isn’t enough for me!”

What type of special test have you enjoyed the most this season?

“I really like the Super Test, and the Enduro Test has been really fun too. I expected to like the Extreme Test a lot given that I have background in some of the major American Hard Enduro races like the Tennessee Knock Out and King of the Motos. But, while I’ve still had fun on them, I’ve struggled to produce consistently good results.”


In EnduroGP the special tests tend to become more technical as the weekend progresses. What tests do you feel you have more to learn on?

“The Extreme Test and the Cross Test. I think some of my issue with the Extreme Test is that I’m used to doing that kind of riding on a bike specifically set up and designed for it, like Hard Enduro. So sometimes the bike wouldn’t do what I thought it should be able to. My two main areas of focus before the GP of Italy are more extreme riding on my regular enduro bike, and finding some fast, dusty, hard pack trails, so I’m prepared for the Cross Test.”

How did the deal with Team KBS Sherco come about to race in the 2024 EnduroGP season?

“Nieve Holmes and I have been friends since the 2021 6DAYS in Italy. We keep in touch and even though we rarely see each other, I’d say we’re pretty close. I had originally planned to borrow a bike from her to do the GP of Wales. But then she said Chris [Hockey], who runs Team KBS Sherco, was looking for another rider for this season. I was excited to try something different, so the timing turned out to be perfect. Sherco USA have also been a huge support in making it happen.”


Are you be based in Europe for the entire season, or do you plan to travel over and back to the races?

“Given the large gaps in the schedule, I travel coming home between rounds. I have more connections and places to ride when I’m home, so I can train better and have a routine. Also, there’s racing I still like to do for Sherco USA. Plus, it’s nice to get home, after a while I miss my family and our dogs!”

What has the reception been like back home after winning in the world championship?

“Overwhelmingly positive! I’ve received lots of messages from people, ranging from close friends to distant acquaintances. At the races back home, I think I’ve spent more time talking to people who wanted to hear all about my European adventures than I’ve spent riding my bike!”


Finally, do you feel your success can help elevate the USA’s interest in the FIM Women’s Enduro World Championship?

“That’s a tough question. In the USA, diehard fans of Enduro, or people who watch the 6DAYS closely, are familiar with EnduroGP, but we are kind of isolated over here. It takes a lot of travel to make it over to Europe. But with my EnduroGP success, and our team results in the 6DAYS® for men and women, there is definitely a renewed wave of interest in this style of racing. Here in the USA, women’s racing has grown exponentially. It’s now way bigger than when I first went pro in 2011, and that’s a trend I want to see continue!”


Round four of the 2024 Paulo Duarte FIM EnduroGP World Championship gets underway this evening in Bettola, Italy with the AKRAPOVIC Super Test.




Photo Credit: Future7Media