2022 Italian Enduro: Holcombe and Freeman signal EnduroGP intent with day wins
Tough conditions and spectacular natural terrain proved a tough test for EnduroGP elite riders at Italian Enduro Championship rounds four and five – Steve Holcombe takes the overall win with Beta Racing teammate Brad Freeman fastest on day two and championship leader Hamish Macdonald third.
The Assoluti d’Italia series staged in the hills and mountains around Colliano, south of Naples marked a few cards ahead of the Enduro World Championship opening round off 2022 on May 6-8.
Wet and tricky conditions particularly on day one, challenging and spectacular tests on the natural terrain, final fitness and bike shakedown testing in racing conditions – it all acted as a measure for the riders, teams and us watching with interest ahead of the incoming GP season.
The weekend in Italy was characterised by that natural terrain and tests managed by Mario Rinaldi for the organising Motoclub Cento. Heavy rain on the Friday meant conditions were primo for hard graft on three tests completed four times on Saturday and three times on Sunday.
The story of the weekend was the Beta Factory Enduro Team pairing Steve Holcombe and Brad Freeman signalling their pre-season is peaking perfectly for the EnduroGP opener in Spain.
Both riders took their first victories of 2022 with Holcombe at his best in the tricky conditions taking the day one win 18 seconds clear of Andrea Verona and Freeman just a tenth of a second behind in third.
The drier day two belonged to Brad who shrugged off the broken collarbone injury two months ago with a 12 seconds win over his teammate with championship points leader Hamish Macdonald third, just over a second behind.
With the 1-2 results Holcombe took the overall for the weekend, “That was a good weekend.” Steve explains. “Yesterday, day one, was good in the wet and I felt confident in the slippery and technical conditions on the 390.
“Day two was ok and still close in the slightly different conditions between me and Brad, we had a good fight for the overall. We’re working towards the first EnduroGP of the season and I tried some different fork settings on day two which took some getting used too but overall I’m happy with how I rode this weekend.
“It’s good to be at the top and shows my winter training, racing in three GNCCs, plus my fitness is where it should be. I’m looking forward to the Spanish GP.”
Sherco’s series leader
If the Beta boys were forging mission statements then Hamish Macdonald has been on a mission all season. The Sherco Facotry Racing rider remains the Assoluti series leader after challenging for the win on both days. His 4-3 scorecard meant third overall.
Ride onboard with Hamish in the spectacular Extreme test in Colliano:
The best of the rest with a day one scratch podium was GASGAS’s Andrea Verona although the Italian fell to P6 on day two after a mistake in the seventh test which cost him half a minute.
Davide Guarneri was rapid on the Fantic E50 Racing 300 two-stroke and completed the top five overall, taking the 300 2T class win in the process.
The super-competitive top 10 includes a bank of RedMoto Hondas with Thomas Oldrati, Nathan Watson and Roni Kytonen, Matteo Cavallo and Wil Ruprecht on the TM Boano Racing bikes, and on day two Alex Salvini who was also the winner in the 450 4T class.
Class wins also went to Verona in the 250 4T class, Jordi Gardiol in the 250 two-strokes, Deny Philippaerts in the 125s and Lorenzo Macoritto who topped the Juniors.
2022 Italian Enduro Assoluti Championship round 4 results:
2022 Italian Enduro Assoluti Championship round 5 results:
Photo Credit: Off Road Pro Racing + Cristiano Morello + RedMoto Honda