A complicated weekend was had by the Gas Gas Enduro Factory team and its official rider, Jonathan Barragán, who closed the GP Finland with the bitter-sweet taste of not being able to finish on the first day and achieving a fifteenth place in Enduro2 on Sunday. There was an unusual start to the World Championship with a GP that favoured the Scandinavian riders who were more familiar than the other competitors to riding on studded snow tyres and riding with them on ice and snow.
The Finnish GP was known beforehand to be one of the most difficult events of the World Championship, and even more so for riders from sunnier climes who were just not used to riding on studded tyres on the ice, snow and mud found in Finland. This was a GP held in very favourable conditions for Scandinavian riders and for the others it was a great handicap. This was an unusual way to start the World Championship, with two exhausting days of enduro, with over 400 kilometres of racing every day and a total of 25 specials in a row, impossible to inspect previously by the riders, as is usual in the days before a race.
And being faced with such extreme conditions as were present in this race around lake Paijanne in Finland, more than a good result, the aim of most riders and their teams was to survive this supreme challenge presented by the GP Finland. A challnge to the machines and especially to Gas Gas and Jonathan Barragán and the new EC 250 Racing. This weekend this bike had its debut in Finland in the toughest race this year on the face of the planet.
“On the first day, in the middle of the race, the rear sprocket hit a rock and broke. We couldn’t do anything to fix it. In fact the bike worked really well throughout the day. But it was a shame as I got stuck half way round a stage and couldn’t keep going.”, says Jonathan Barragán about the unlucky knock that destroyed the rear sprocket of his Gas Gas and left the rider from Madrid unable to finish in the first day when he had already got past the halfway mark of a race that is heavily demanding on both the riders physical abilities and also the bikes’ mechanical aspects.
The next day, under equally demanding conditions, the Gas Gas Enduro Factory Team rider made up for the bad taste of having to abandon the race the previous day by finishing in fifteenth position in Enduro2, the only category with a representative from the company from Girona at least until Antoine Basset gets back. The French Gas Gas rider in EnduroGP is still in the process of recovery after the injury to his knee ligaments he received in the run-up to the season.
“Sunday was also a complicated day with eleven stages. Our aim was o finish this race that was so different from the ones we normally experience in the World Championship. And for this reason we are happy to have finished the Finnish GP. Our results were not especially good here where there are so many riders specialised in riding on snow. But anyway, we managed to finish the second day and I am happy with the team and how well the bike went.”, summarised Barragán after an embarrassing first GP for riders who are usually much faster on dry terrain.
This weekend, although no points were scored, has been productive for the Gas Gas Enduro Factory Team that has been able to draw very positive conclusions regarding the development of its ‘Project Phoenix” before the coming manufacture and sale of the new Gas Gas EC250 Racing.
“This has been the first contact with the World Championship and now it is time to go home, recover and prpare for the seond event of the National Championship”, highlights Barragán. With hardly a moment to relax, the Gas Gas Enduro Factory Team, makes its way back to Spain, where next weekend -1stand 2nd April – the second event of the Spanish Enduro Championship is being held in Valdecaballeros in Extremadura.
Photo: Dario Agrati