The opening day of competition at the Acerbis GP of Germany in Zschopau saw the crowning of the 2017 EnduroGP World Champion. Steve Holcombe (Beta) put the finishing touches to his incredible season to win his second Enduro World Championship title in style, topping the EnduroGP class for a fifth time this season and finishing in front of Christophe Nambotin (KTM) and Loic Larrieu (Yamaha). Danny McCanney (Husqvarna) secured his first Enduro 2 class win of 2017 while Brad Freeman (Beta) topped the Enduro Junior class with Maria Franke (KTM) securing the win in the Enduro Woman’s category by the narrowest of margins.
Unquestionably, day one of the Acerbis GP of Germany belonged to Steve Holcombe (Beta). Entering the event with a commanding 40-point advantage at the top of the EnduroGP championship standings, the British rider put his name to the coveted EnduroGP championship with a controlled class win. “It feels great to finally wrap-up the EnduroGP World Championship title,” enthused Steve. “I really wanted to win the championship in front of my home fans at the last round of the series, but to finally win is amazing. It’s been a long, hard season, with many great battles – it’s been an amazing year for me. I didn’t feel like I was riding too well, but I felt relaxed all day and I think that really helped. The tests were really good, like I remember them from the ISDE here. It’s cool to win the title at a true enduro event.” Back from the hand injury that forced him to miss the penultimate round of the series in Great Britain, Christophe Nambotin (KTM) proved to be Holcombe’s strongest challenger as the former three-time world champion pushed hard for the win. Topping two of the day’s special tests, Nambotin’s lack of race fitness ultimately saw him fall back from the Beta rider but he nevertheless secured a well-deserved runner-up result. Finishing on the podium, but seeing the EnduroGP title going to Holcombe, Loic Larrieu (Yamaha) rounded out the podium, just eight seconds behind Nambotin. Matthew Phillips (Sherco) finished fourth and a further eight seconds back while Giacomo Redondi (Honda) rounded out the top five.
In the Enduro 2 class Danny McCanney (Husqvarna) claimed his first victory of the series, placing ahead of championship leader Josep Garcia (KTM) and brother Jamie McCanney (Yamaha). With little to separate the leading three E2 class riders throughout the day, it was Jamie who topped the opening test. Danny topped the day’s second test, fourth place finisher Davide Guarneri (Honda) put in the fastest time on the third test before Danny again topped the results sheet on test four. “Obviously, I wanted to be doing this (winning) earlier in the year but to finally get a win feels great,” said Danny. “I felt really confident throughout the day and I was able to push hard during the enduro test, which I really liked. I didn’t make any mistakes, made a strong start to the day, and managed to get the win. It was a very close battle with myself, Josep and Jamie.” For much of the day Jamie McCanney (Yamaha) held the runner-up spot but a mistake on the final extreme test cost him dearly. Finishing 17th in class on the test in question, he fell behind championship rival Josep Garcia (KTM) in the day’s eventual result, as the Spaniard took the runner-up result. With Jamie placing third, Davide Guarneri (Honda) improved his speed as the day progressed to finish just nine seconds from the podium. Pascal Rauchenecker (Husqvarna) and Eero Remes (TM) rounded out the top six.
From 44 points adrift of the Enduro Junior World Championship class lead at the start of the season Brad Freeman is now one-point ahead with one-day of the series remaining, thanks to possibly the most important victory of his career. Completing the opening day’s competition without mistakes, Freeman placed 10 seconds ahead of Swede Albin Elowson (Husqvarna) with Davide Soreca (Honda) third. “It’s been a great day,” admitted Freeman. “I didn’t ride my best, but I did enough as the other riders were the ones making mistakes. The tests were great and the number of spectators on all of the special tests was great to see. Like I said, I rode ok, but not great. I really want to win this championship, so I’ll be giving day two everything. To even be in a position to possibly win the title is pretty amazing considering where I was at the start of the season.”
Separated by just 0.17 of a second, Maria Franke (KTM) and Laia Sanz (KTM) finished close to five-and-a-half minutes ahead of third placed Jane Daniels in the Woman’s class, as they continued their battle for title honours. With Franke’s win halving Sanz’ points advantage at the top of the championship to just three points, the two riders have everything to go for and nothing to lose on the final and deciding day of the EnduroGP World Championship.
In the 125cc Enduro Youth class it was Chilean Ruy Barbosa (Husqvarna) who claimed victory, finishing 23 seconds ahead of series newcomer Belgian Matthew Van Oevelen (Sherco) with Leo Le Quere (TM) third, just 1.21 seconds behind.
Day two of the Acerbis GP of Germany in Zschopau will see riders return to the same course used on day one as the battles to be crowned Enduro 2, Enduro Junior and Women’s World Champion will ensure a thrilling end to the 2017 EnduroGP World Championship.