2021 EnduroGP: could the sand mix things up in Estonia this weekend?
Estonian sand will stir up the 2021 EnduroGP World Championship protagonists as the series heads to northern Europe for two rounds and the meaty and meaningful part of the GP season – check the current championship points and entry list ahead of EnduroGP round three.
If the opening two rounds of the 2021 EnduroGP World Championship were the starters, then rounds three and four in Estonia this weekend and Sweden next week are the main courses.
Riders have already landed and walked the tests in Saaremaa, Estonia where the terrain changes dramatically from the rocks of Italy into sandy forests in Northern Europe.
The meaty part of the season is always fascinating as riders have settled in, weighed each other up and now know what they need to do if they want to do anything about their rivals ahead of the summer break.
As always the switch to a different part of Europe also brings fresh faces to the entry list and mixed in with riders who specialise in the sandy forest conditions, this weekend promises a shake-up in the results.
One rider who doesn’t need to look too hard at where to improve is championship leader and gold plate holder, Brad Freeman. Brad has been like a bullet and started each GP day so far in 2021 with the kind of determination and outright speed which makes him the benchmark.
Three overall day wins from four means a 10-point lead at the top of the EGP points for Brad but the sand in Saaremaa could pose a potential problem for his Beta two-stroke compared to his rivals. Though he has no shortage of speed in these conditions, the 4T machines he's up against could make life harder for the British rider this weekend.
Wil Ruprecht is the only other rider than Freeman to take a day win this season and the TM Boano Racing rider comes to Estonia in the form of his life. The sand should also suit the Aussie, like it does all Aussies.
Both Steve Holcombe and Josep Garcia (below), third and fourth in the points, will need to make dents into Freeman’s points lead this weekend too. The pair haven’t consistently matched Freeman and Ruprecht for the scratch results so far – a broken rib hasn’t helped reigning champ Holcombe and too many crashes in the tests have held Garcia back.
The sand in Estonia will change things up a bit and notably Holcombe has form in the soft stuff this year after taking a winning result at the Hawkstone Park Fast Eddy event early in the summer.
2021 EnduroGP championship standings after Rnd 2:
Time for the best of the rest to step up
Behind this battling quad of riders, the fight for E1 honours between Italians Andrea Verona and Davide Guarneri will also continue to spill over into the overall EGP scratch standings – this could be the weekend where either of these two bust to the top.
Antoine Magain, Jamie and Danny McCanney, Theo Espinasse (returning from injury) and his RedMoto Honda teammate Thomas Oldrati, Hamish Macdonald, Christophe Charlier….where do you stop naming names of riders who are in good form, ride well in the sand and who are capable of punching for a podium this weekend?
That’s not to ignore some very rapid Nordic and Scandinavian riders spread across the entry list, particularly within the Junior classes where riders including Roni Kytonen (who raced and won the Finnish Enduro Championship last weekend) are well-worth watching on the overall timing sheets.
The Estonia EnduroGP in Saaremaa begins on Friday night with an opening ceremony from 17:00 followed by the Supertest from 19:00.
Race days Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 start from 09:00 where riders face 55km laps with three lots of three tests (Extreme, Enduro and Cross plus another run around the Supertest at the end to total 12 tests each day).
EnduroGP of Estonia entry list:
Photo Credit: Enduro21 | Andrea Belluschi + Jani Hovi