Rnd 3, 2018 World Enduro Super Series – Trèfle Lozérien AMV, France

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Josep Garcia has won the final day of the 2018 Trèfle Lozérien AMV to claim an impressive third overall at the event. Nathan Watson finished in a strong seventh place, with Jonny Walker 10th and Taddy Blazusiak 20th. With three WESS rounds now complete Walker holds firm as championship leader.

The 32nd edition of the Trèfle Lozérien AMV, held in the picturesque town of Mende in central France, marked the third round of the inaugural World Enduro Super Series. Contested over three days, riders covered a total of 600km and raced 15 timed special tests – five per day. The event’s timecard classic enduro format provided a new challenge for many of the WESS regulars with the first two rounds of the championship having been hard enduro events.

Coming from the EnduroGP World Championship, Josep Garcia and Nathan Watson were expected to do well on the Trèfle Lozérien AMV’s twisty grass tests. It was Watson who finished as top WESS regular on day one in eighth place. However, feeling more comfortable on the slippery timed specials on day two, Garcia posted the fifth fastest time at the end of the five tests to place as the best non-French competitor. With a reverse starting order on the final day, the 2017 Enduro2 World Champion was really able to push hard, winning all but one of the specials to take the day three victory. The time made up elevated the Spaniard to third overall, netting him valuable WESS points and moving him up to sixth in the provisional WESS championship standings.

Josep Garcia: “Today was really good fun and I am happy to take the win. The conditions were the same for all the riders and I was able to show my speed. On the first two days the tests were very slippery and, on the Friday, I made a small mistake and hurt myself a little. Luckily, it wasn’t too bad and I was able to carry on. The fans here have been amazing and it has been great to race with 600 other riders. I will go home now and take a week off to rest, after that I’ll start to concentrate on Romaniacs – it will be my first time there so I am looking forward to it.”

Nathan Watson posted some extremely strong times throughout the three days of the Trèfle Lozérien AMV. Battling with the local grass test experts Watson ultimately finished in seventh place – the second non-French rider behind team-mate Garcia. This result elevates the young Brit to 10th overall in the World Enduro Super Series standings.

Nathan Watson: “That was such a cool race – I really enjoyed it. It’s difficult to make up much time and the results are so close with only 15 minutes or so of timed tests per day – you can’t afford to make many mistakes. The French riders are fast on the grass and it took a bit of getting used to after the two hard enduro opening rounds. I am happy to move up in the championship but I know the next round at Romaniacs is going to be another tough one, so I’ll go away now and start to prepare for that.”

Jonny Walker showed great pace on each of the three days of competition to place 10th overall and in turn further increase his lead and the top of the WESS championship standings. With nearest rivals Graham Jarvis and Billy Bolt struggling on the French tests, Jonny’s advantage now increases to 265 points over the now second-placed Manuel Lettenbichler.

Jonny Walker: “I am really happy with my result here this weekend. I came into the event aiming for a top-15 position, so to get 10th feels great. I was confident in my pace but I haven’t ridden an event like this for a really long time and it’s difficult to get tuned in to the special stage format. I knew the local riders would be really strong here and obviously Josep and Nathan would be pushing hard but to finish top of the hard enduro specialists is really encouraging for the rest of the championship. I have got a bit of a lead at the top but you can’t take anything for granted and with the WESS, one bad result can take you back down again. I have learnt a lot here and hopefully I can take that and use it in the next event at Romaniacs.”

Taddy Blazusiak rode three consistent days of classic enduro. Out of his comfort zone, the multiple Endurocross Champion placed 20th, earning himself more valuable WESS points to move up to fifth in the standings.

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Antoine Meo took time off from his rally schedule to contest Trèfle Lozérien AMV. The former World Enduro Champion, enjoying the chance to compete in a classic enduro, finished in a creditable 16th place.

FMF KTM Factory Racing’s Cody Webb was unfortunately unable to contest Trèfle Lozérien AMV after suffering an injury to his leg in the Erzbergrodeo Prologue one week previously.

The next event on the 2018 WESS calendar is the Red Bull Romaniacs hard enduro rallye, Romania on July 24-28.

Results – 2018 Trèfle Lozérien AMV

1. Loic Larrieu (FRA), Yamaha, 51:05.319
2. Theo Espinasse (FRA), Sherco, 51:16.117 +10.798
3. Josep Garcia (ESP), KTM, 54:16.819 +11.500
4. Emmanuel Albepart (FRA), Yamaha, 51:18.943 +13.624
5. Julien Gauthier (FRA), Yamaha, 51:21.246 +15.927
Other KTM
7. Nathan Watson (GBR), KTM, 51:56.348 +51.028
10. Jonny Walker (GBR), KTM, 52:35.836 +1:30.517
16. Antoine Meo (FRA), KTM, 53:23.109 +2:17.790
20. Taddy Blazusiak (POL), KTM, 53.50.672 +2:45.353

Provisional World Enduro Super Series Standings (after 3 of 8 rounds)

1. Jonny Walker (GBR), KTM, 2130 pts
2. Manni Lettenbichler (GER), KTM, 1865 pts
3. Billy Bolt (GBR), Husqvarna, 1830 points
4. Graham Jarvis (GBR), Husqvarna, 1818 pts
5. Taddy Blazusiak (POL), KTM, 1445 pts
Other KTM
6. Josep Garcia (ESP), KTM, 1425 pts
7. Paul Bolton (GBR), KTM, 1262 pts
10. Nathan Watson (GBR), KTM, 1008 pts

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