After a Hard Enduro first round contested the past weekend at the Extreme XL Lagares, the World Enduro Super Series switches to Classic Enduro this weekend for Trèfle Lozérien AMV.
The WESS championship takes a jump from Portugal to the French countryside for its second round and first Classic Enduro race of the series, Trèfle Lozérien.
Mende in Southern France will host three days of racing where riders will have to complete 719 kilometres and 15 different special tests. Lagares was hard because of the rocky streams, Le Tref is hard because it requires a different kind of endurance.
In its 33rd edition, and second consecutive year as part of WESS, Trèfle Lozérien has become France’s most prestigious classic enduro. The 700 entries for this year’s event filled in just four minutes and includes a high number of world class enduro riders and world champions in the different enduro disciplines.
The list of French riders battling for national honours includes Loïc Larrieu who returns this year to defend his 2018 overall win, Yamaha’s 20th. In 2019 Larrieu is racing onboard a TM and surely start as one of the favourites to take his second and the Italian manufacturer's first victory.
Sherco Factory Racing’s Theo Espinasse was one of last year’sTrèfle Lozérien’s revelations. The youngster impressed on the grass-track special tests and is poised to become one of Le Trèf’s youngest victors if the cards fall his way.
Missing from the 2018 line-up, four-time Enduro World Champion Christophe Nambotin returns this year also. One of World Enduro’s big hitters, the Gas Gas-mounted Nambotin has won the event only once, back in 2012, but like his compatriots will see 2019 as a strong chance to make it two.
Other French specialists to watch include another pair of former World Enduro Champions – Antoine Meo and Johnny Aubert who are both clearly capable of pulling a result in famliar terratory. Both riders have also won Le Tref – Meo in 2015 and Aubert in 2016 – and for Meo usually to be seen riding in his farmer's coat between tests, it is something of an annual patriotic ritual to compete this event alongside his fellow French club enduro riders.
Sherco’s Jeremy Tarroux – the 2017 winner – returns and will aim to become a two-time winner of the race. Leading a large portion of the event in 2018 was another former winner (2007) Emmanuel Albepart who will be a threat for a podium result once again.
Battle to be the first non-French winner
In its entire 33-year history the Tref has never seen a non-French winner. Josep Garcia, one of the classic enduro specialist racing WESS and podium finisher in 2018, will be looking to change that this year. Now in his second year racing the event, experience will be on his side.
Another classic enduro specialist and Garcia´s team-mate, Nathan Watson also has high aspirations for the race. Seventh in 2018, Watson didn’t produce the result his talent suggests he is capable of but 2019 could see a change there.
WESS title contenders change tack
Trèfle Lozérien is perhaps unique in the WESS calendar in that the main contenders for events like Lagares last week, Erzberodeo and Romaniacs title have a harder time racing with the classic enduro specialists.
Jonny Walker was the best of the rest last year with P10, Manuel Lettenbichler, Taddy Blazusiak, Billy Bolt and Alfredo Gomez will fight outside their usual comfort zones but each can count on their experience on the French grass last year.
Watch out also for 2017 second placed finisher, Jamie McCanney aiming to take win number 21 for Yamaha plus EnduroGP contender Giacomo Redondi fresh off the back of a World Championship E2 class win at the Spanish GP.
Trèfle Lozérien in numbers:
719: Distance in kilometres competitors will ride during the three-day race
33: 2019 will mark the 33rd edition of the French Classic Enduro
20: Yamaha are the most successful manufacturer with 20 victories
15: Number of unique special tests in the Trèfle Lozérien AMV
9: Stephane Peterhansel holds the most race wins
6: Consecutive times David Frétigné won between 1999 and 2004
4: Time in minutes in which this year’s entries were snapped up
0: Number of non-French winners of Le Trèfle Lozérien AMV
Trèfle Lozérien AMV 2019 Schedule:
Friday, May 17: Gorges du Tarn (266km)
Saturday, May 18: Circuit Margeride (267km)
Sunday, May 19: Circuit Gévaudan Aubrac (186km)
Stay tuned to iRideWESS social media channels for regular updates.
Photo credit: Future7Media Igor AguadoEnduro21 Junior Editorigor.firstname.lastname@example.org