Race report: Josep Garcia takes the WESS win at Trèfle Lozérien AMV – first non-French winner in 33 years

Spain’s Josep Garcia wins round two of the World Enduro Super Series, storming to victory at France’s Trèfle Lozérien AMV ahead of Jamie McCanney and Nathan Watson.

 

In testing conditions across three days racing at the 2019 Classic French Enduro, Trèfle Lozérien AMV, the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider Josep Garcia has become the first non-French winner in the 33-year history of the race. 

The historic final podium saw Outsiders Yamaha rider Jamie McCanney bring it home in second and with Garcia’s KTM team-mate, Nathan Watson finishing third further hammering home the non-French look to the results.

For 2019, the second round of the WESS championship proved a challenge for the 600-plus riders competing. Continuous rain and occasional fog throughout the three days of racing at France’s most-prestigious Enduro – Trèfle Lozérien AMV – ensured the 719 kilometres of riding were both physically and mentally demanding for all.

 
josep.garcia Wess 2019 Rnd2 Trefle Lozerien 08150 560
 

Garcia makes history 

With victory on days one and two, Garcia entered the third and final day of racing as the rider to beat. Holding a 30-second advantage over McCanney and Jeremy Tarroux, the race was his to lose.

Second fastest to McCanney on the opening test, Garcia then won tests two and three. With victory almost his, another second fastest time on the penultimate test set things up for the 15th and final special test of the three-day race. With rain falling heavily, he kept things safe to cross the finish line as a first-time winner of Trèfle Lozérien AMV and victor of round two of the World Enduro Super Series.

“To get my first WESS victory of 2019, and also to create a little piece of history by being the first non-French winner here at Trèfle Lozérien, is amazing.” Said Garcia unsurprisingly at the finish. “The conditions really didn’t suit me – I’m not really a big fan of wet, slippery mud. But I pushed hard on all special tests and, well, everything went perfectly. Coming here straight from Extreme Lagares wasn’t easy but I knew this race was going to be important to my WESS championship.”

 
josep.garcia Wess 2019 Rnd2 Trefle Lozerien 08666 560
 

McCanney makes the podium 

Behind him, the battle for the remainder of the podium places was fierce. Helped in part by setting the quickest time on the opening test this morning, McCanney held his ground over his rivals to take the runner-up result.

For the Outsiders Yamaha rider who has spent 2019 not racing in any championship, let alone his more familiar EnduroGP surroundings, it was a very strong result: “Right from when I started walking the special tests here in France I knew Josep Garcia would be the rider to watch. 

“When conditions weren’t too wet, or when they suited the 450 more, I managed to win some tests. And I’m really pleased about that. But Garcia was really strong throughout the event.

“I’ve been away from enduro racing for some time now, firstly getting over a shoulder injury and surgery and then focusing on rally. To come here and get the result I’ve got is really great. Despite the weather it’s been a great event. I can’t say if I’ll be back for more WESS racing, but I’d love to compete at Hawkstone if my schedule allows it.”

 
Jamie McCanney day3 Trefle Lozerien 560
 

Tough battle for third podium place

Entering the final special test it was all to play for between Watson and Julien Gauthier for third. Gauthier had just one tenth of a second in hand over the KTM rider. With both riders putting it all on the line, Watson edged out Gauthier by just over one second to snatch the final step of the podium in the last few moments of the race.

“I’m really happy with third overall.” Said Watson at the finish. “This is the first Classic Enduro I’ve raced since this event 12 months ago. 

“I had a consistent three days and kept things upright over the 15 special tests, which was really important. I’ve really enjoyed racing the 450 – being able to keep things smooth in these conditions has really helped me. 

“Things were really close coming into the final test, just half a second between third and fourth overall. Thankfully, I managed to jump up one position to third, which was a great way to end the race.”

For Gauthier it was not to be and with his fourth place result it also marked the first time in the event’s history that a French rider wasn’t present in the top three positions. After a strong ride on day two, Tarroux slipped down to fifth, with teammate Theo Espinasse completing the top six.

 
Nathan Watson Trefle Lozerien 2019 Day3 560
 

WESS hard enduro specialists shining performances

Jonny Walker once again showed his all-round talent backing up a top 10 finish in 2018 with ninth this year to bring home good points in the WESS championship and make himself the best of the rest once again. 

 
jonny.walker Wess 2019 Rnd2 Trefle Lozerien 560
 

Walker's performance in these conditions and in this company proved the all-round talent required for this race series. Given his background in Hard Enduro, bringing it home in seventh on the day three ahead of former World Enduro Champions and EnduroGP regulars, Christophe Nambotin and Giacomo Redondi shouldn’t be underestimated.

Upping their games also at Le Tref in 2019 were Manuel Lettenbichler and Travis Teasedale who both put in consitent strong test times in the muddy French fields. 

 

The eight-round World Enduro Super Series continues with round three at Austria’s Erzbergrodeo Red Bull Hare Scramble on May 30 - June 2.

 

Overall top 10 results Trèfle Lozérien AMV 2019:

  1. Josep Garcia (KTM - ESP) 01:03:07.557
  2. Jaime McCanney (Yamaha - GB) 1:03:49.586 +42.029
  3. Nathan Watson (KTM - GB) 1:03:55.612 +48.055
  4. Julien Gauthier (Yamaha - FR) 1:03:57.013 +49.456
  5. Jeremy Tarroux (Sherco - FR) 1:04:10.136 +1:02.579
  6. Theo Espinasse (Sherco - FR) 1:05:04.311 +1:56.754
  7. Christophe Nambotin (Gas Gas - FR) 1:05:10.817 +2:03.260
  8. Emmanuel Albepart (Yamaha - FR) 1:05:21.908 +2:14.351
  9. Jonny Walker (KTM - GB) 1:05:31.888 +2:24.331
  10. Joe Wootton (Husqvarna - GB) 1:05:52.828 +2:45.271
 
 
Photo credit: Future7Media
 
 
 
 
Byline jp ISDE 2018 Enduro21
Jon Pearson
Enduro21 Editor and Bike Tester
jon.pearson@enduro21.com