The Finnish ‘Päitsi’, an event with over ninety years of history in this Nordic country, has given a welcome for the second year running to the ‘white hell’ of Lake Päijänne. This was an extremely tough event marked by the freezing temperatures and the great banks of snow in the stages. The young rider Eemil Pohjola rode brilliantly on his GasGas bike, taking it to the very top of the podium on the second day in the Enduro World Championship.
The Finnish rider, a commitment to the future by GasGas – as in their day were his fellow countrymen Petteri Silvan and Petri Pohjamo, World Champions with GasGas – has been one of the great stars of the GP of Finland. Pohjola led the general in the first day until the thirteenth special, when a setback separated him from a victory he had within his grasp. On the second day, the GasGas rider demonstrated his enormous potential by claiming the victory in his category and second place in EnduroGP on his GasGas 250 EC.
Christophe Nambotin and Danny McCanney debuted in the demanding GP of Finland riding with the GasGas colours in the World Championship. They achieved a seventh and an eighth place after a strenuous first day of more than 500 kilometres and 12 hours of competition, after riding 16 specials – two of them at night. On the second day of competition, McCanney climbed to fifth place and Nambotin repeated in seventh position. With this result, both added valuable points in the fight for the World Championship, in the most unique and demanding test of the championship, usually dominated by the great Scandinavian specialists.
In E1, Antoine Basset completed the Finnish event by obtaining two seventh positions before the World Championship heads to more southern lands. Santiago de Compostela is to host the second round of the EnduroGP World Championship on 27, 28 and 29 April, the Spanish GP.
“As we already knew we would, we encountered difficult conditions in this first World Championship race. Apart from Eemil [Pohjola], who is a specialist, our riders are not used to racing on ice and snow and we have come up against many situations that we were not adapted to. For that reason, we have fulfilled our main objective: that the four motorcycles finished the event. We got a win in E1 and we fought to win the event on both days. All the riders have scored points, which in itself was complicated, and we have kept our options open to fight for the title at the end of the season.
The commitment made by the GasGas Team with a young rider like Eemil has paid off and we are very proud of his magnificent race. He is a good specialist in this field, has become the revelation of the Grand Prix and put up a great fight throughout the weekend for the absolute victory.
Now we have to continue working for the next race, which will be in Spain, where we will attack in a terrain better suited to our riders.”
“It’s been a very hard weekend. The result is not too good for the championship, but it was a very difficult race, both because of the conditions we encountered and because of the organization, as it was the first time we have competed here. Despite the complications of the terrain, the bike worked very well but I could not ride comfortably on the snow. Next month we will compete in Spain and I am already looking forward to riding there.”
“We had to give everything we had in the snow in Finland. We did not find a correct set-up and yesterday I could not feel comfortable riding in these conditions. Last night we made some changes in the configuration of the bike and we noticed a great improvement. As for the championship, I cannot complain because despite the difficulties, we have added some good points and today I was able to ride quite well. I’m happy with the result we’ve obtained.”
“It was a very difficult race, especially since I am not used to this kind of event. Yesterday we had a lot of snow and in the specials there were very large ruts. It was a very long day, with more than twelve and a half hours of riding, and it was my first time. I did not do to badly considering I’m not Finnish. Today went a little better. I had some doubts about the shock absorber halfway through the day, but conditions were more similar to the usual ones.”
“On Saturday I had a problem in the 13th special while leading and very close to victory. Today was a good day, I have given 100% and everything went very well. I am very happy with my first victory in the E1 World Championship and I want to thank GasGas for this opportunity and especially to Jani for making it possible. We’re going to train hard to prepare for the next race in Spain.”