EnduroGP results: Josep Garcia bosses day 1 in Portugal
Results from day one at the EnduroGP of Portugal, round five of the 2021 World Championship where Red Bull KTM’s Josep Garcia has stormed to a comfortable victory on a super-competitive day in the sandy Santiago do Cacem tests.
EnduroGP of Portugal day 1 in a nutshell:
- After seven and a half hours on the course today, day one of our second visit to Portugal this season, no-one is short on bike time here in Santiago do Cacem.
- From the beginning of that 7.5 hours Josep Garcia was in charge of the timing sheets with six test wins straight, his game plan to “push from the start” delivered a lead of 45 seconds on Brad Freeman after two of the three laps.
- It wasn’t until test seven that we saw a different test winner, Andrea Verona was that man but it would be the only test Josep dropped all day on his way to almost a one minute winning margin. The win also means Josep takes a narrow E2 championship points lead over Ruprecht who was P8 today.
- Behind the flying Spaniard, things were as competitive as they get in EnduroGP with a top 10 (at least) list of riders all clambering for position – it was amazing how much chopping and changing went on inside the top 10 at each test.
- By the final time check it was EGP points leader Brad Freeman in second and doing everything he needed to do without risks to aim at that title next week in France (and potentially the E3 title here tomorrow) – despite declaring it “a shit day” where he couldn’t find the flow.
- Fighting for third on the day was a stiff contest between a list of names including Verona, Steve Holcombe, Davide Guarneri, Danny McCanney, Wil Ruprecht and Jaume Betriu (to name half a dozen).
- GASGAS’s factory pilot Verona got it together on the third lap to edge clear of the rest and in fact challenged Freeman for P2. In the end the Italian took third scratch, just four seconds adrift of Brad but, with the E1 top honours, Andrea increases his lead in class over Guarneri.
- If anyone was wondering if all that beach and MXGP racing took the edge off Nathan Watson’s speed in enduro then think on. Maybe it was the sandy conditions here but Watson clocked an impressive top five on his return to GPs and finished not just top RedMoto Honda rider but second-best British rider to boot. Neither of those facts should be taken lightly given the competition.
- A close fifth place for Steve Holcombe was a welcome return to form and fitness for the Beta Racing rider albeit a minute and a half down on Garcia.
- Another Honda rider on fire today was Roni Kytonen. The Finnish rider also seemed at home in the sand as he added a fast middle part of the day to overall consistency and that brought him and RedMoto Honda their first day win of the season in the Juniors.
- It was the first time all season a TM rider hadn’t been on the top of a day podium also – Matteo Pavoni and Lorenzo Macoritto have traded wins all year. P2 for Pavoni keeps helps his title chase on course.
- Sergio Navarro and Leo Le Quere had a hell of scrap for third in the Juniors scratch result with the Frenchman just edging it in the last test on the Sherco.
- Albin Norrbin once again finished top Youth 125 rider but it was a closer call here than in previous rounds with Kevin Cristino keeping him honest.
- Max Warenghien took a comfortable victory in the Open class as two-strokes dominated the results and entry. Mark Szoke was second with Kaiya Brouwer third.
Portugal II results, EnduroGP scratch:
Junior scratch results:
Youth 125 results:
Open class results:
Photo Credit: Future7Media