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EnduroGP: FREEMAN Closes In On Holcombe

For the second time in two weeks, the FIM Borilli Enduro World Championship is enjoying a race in Marco de Canaveses, Portugal. On the first day of the 2020 season finale, we saw four riders crowned champions, and above all a magnificent battle in EnduroGP…

Victory seemed promised to Steve HOLCOMBE (GB – Beta) at the end of the second lap as the Brit was almost 20 seconds ahead of title rival Brad FREEMAN (GB – Beta). But in the EnduroGP class, things are never finished until the last corner of the last special test! In a shock twist, it was FREEMAN who took 24 seconds out of his team-mate, earning himself a precious victory on Day 1! The gap is therefore narrowing between the two rivals, now only separated by 4 points in favour of HOLCOMBE. For his part, HOLCOMBE made too many mistakes in the last two tests when he was looking to secure victory.

VERONA Takes A Big Advantage!

The Factory Beta pair were lucky that Josep GARCIA (E – KTM) was unable to take an EGP victory today, despite the “comeback kid” earning another 3rd place. Andrea VERONA (I – TM), Thomas OLDRATI (I – Honda) and Jaume BETRIU (E – KTM) also put on a good show for the last positions in the Top 5 overall. The Spaniard was unable to stop his Italian rivals in the class, and VERONA took an emphatic 4th while OLDRATI was 5th. It was a difficult day for the series “rookie” of the weekend, Manuel LETTENBICHLER (D – KTM), who had to be content with 23rd place overall.

In Enduro 1, the impressive victory of Andrea VERONA (I – TM) allows him a little breathing space in the title fight with his rival, Thomas OLDRATI (I – Honda). The 2019 Junior Champion is now 7 points ahead of the 2008 Junior Champion. Tomorrow is sure to see another thrilling day in the battle for the E1 crown. Antoine MAGAIN (B – Sherco) took a podium for the fourth time in a row to the detriment of Christophe CHARLIER (F – Beta). Eero REMES (SF – Yamaha) completed the Top 5.

In the E2 class, a very impressive 6th victory of the season for Steve HOLCOMBE also means he also takes his 6th World title, one day before the end of the season! The Beta Factory rider left no chance for Josep GARCIA, who was the only one capable of taking victory from him. Behind them Matteo CAVALLO (I – Sherco) grabbed the last step of the podium, 14 seconds ahead Danny MCCANNEY (GB – Honda). The 2019 E2 Champion, Loïc LARRIEU (F – TM) took 11 points and 5th position.

In the big class, E3, Brad FREEMAN also collected the World Champion’s crown! The young Brit remains unbeaten and formidable in the category. Once again, he won the day with a lead of more than 1.5 minutes over runner-up Jaume BETRIU (E – KTM). This time around it was David ABGRALL (F – Beta) who enjoyed the podium Champagne ahead of his compatriot Antoine BASSET (F – Beta) and Spaniard Marc SANS SORIA (E – KTM).

MACDONALD – Junior World Champion 2020

Hamish MACDONALD (NZ – Sherco) had only one task on this penultimate day of the season; finish in front of his teammate Théo ESPINASSE (F – Sherco). He managed this perfectly and the New Zealander takes his second title in as many years, after he won the Youth Cup 125cc last year. He took his 4th victory in a row and looked unflappable, beating ESPINASSE by more than 15 seconds. ESPINASSE tried everything during the day to keep with his team-mate but it was to no avail. At the forefront all day, the impressive Wil RUPRECHT (AUS – Beta Boano) crashed heavily on the last special test and seems to have seriously injured his left arm. Roni KYTÖNEN (SF – Honda) therefore joined the two Sherco riders on the podium in the Under 23 category. Lorenzo MACORITTO (I – Beta Boano) takes 13 points for 4th place while RUPRECHT clenched his teeth to still finish an amazing 5th!

With this latest victory in Junior, MACDONALD also wins the Junior 2 World Cup ahead of ESPINASSE and RUPRECHT, while Roni KYTÖNEN gets a little closer to the J1 World Cup with this new victory ahead of MACORITTO and Bruno CRIVILIN (B – Honda).

In Youth 125cc we will see a final day full of suspense since Sergio NAVARRO (E – Husqvarna) won the day with both Claudio SPANU (I – Husqvarna) and his brother Alejandro NAVARRO (E – Husqvarna) between himself and the championship leader, Jed ETCHELLS (GB – Fantic), who could only manage 4th today. There is now only a 4 point gap between the Brit and the Spaniard heading into the final day of the season! Harry EDMONDSON (GB – Fantic) completed the Top 5, just 5 seconds behind his compatriot.

In the Women’s Cup, 2019 Champion Jane DANIELS (GB – Husqvarna) won the first day in style ahead of the France’s Justine MARTEL (F – KTM) and Spain’s Mireia BADIA (E – Husqvana). Sandra GOMEZ (E – Husqvarna) and Nieve HOLMES (GB – Gas Gas) completed the Top 5.

Finally, in Champion Lubricants Enduro Open World Cup, the first day saw Gonçalo REIS (P – KTM) take a 7th consecutive victory and with it his second Open 2-Stroke title in a row! The Swede Arvid MODIN (Yamaha) managed 2nd place ahead of the Portugal’s Gonçalo SOBROSA (Beta). In Open 4-Stroke, Mathias VAN HOOF (B – Husqvarna) took the advantage ahead of the final day of racing, the Belgian beat his compatriot Damiaens DIEGTER (KTM) and is now 3 points ahead in the provisional standings. Jorge PARADELLO (E – KTM) took the third step on the podium, to the detriment of Andrea BELOTTI (I – KTM). In Open Senior, Alessio PAOLI (I – Husqvarna) took his 5th victory and he could win the World Cup tomorrow if he is victorious again. David MARTINEZ (E – KTM) and Duccio GRAZIANI (I – Beta) completed the podium.

While the E2, E3, Junior and Open 2-Stroke titles have already been awarded, the premier class is still undecided, as are E1, Youth, Open Senior, Open 4-Stroke ad Women. Tomorrow will therefore be another day packed full of excitement and unexpected twists and turns! See you at 08.00 on the start ramp for the grand finale of a special 2020 season!

What They Said:

Brad FREEMAN: “I’m really very happy to win E3! It was one of my big goals this season. The 300 is a real gem and I gave everything today to prove that I never give up – that was important to me. Tomorrow is another day and there are 4 points between Steve and I for the EnduroGP title. I know I’m going to need a little help to be Champion, but I’m going to give it my all!”

Steve HOLCOMBE: “Honestly, winning E2 was my main goal this year so to get the title a day before the end of the year is cool! It was a good day for me but unfortunately I fell twice in the last Cross Test and Brad was too strong in the last Enduro Test and he stole the GP victory from me. I’m ready for tomorrow, I had a lot of doubts with my thumb injury but I’m feeling great so we’ll see what happens tomorrow!”

Josep GARCIA: “I was sleeping a bit on the first lap and Steve was very strong! When I finally woke up I couldn’t catch him. But anyway, I’m quite happy to finish on the podium again today. I’m not worried about the duel between FREEMAN and HOLCOMBE but one thing is certain, I intend to do my race and give everything to taste victory again.”

Hamish MACDONALD: “This is awesome! Winning two Championships in a row is magic! Last year I learned a lot and I’m really happy with my consistency and results this year! In fact, that consistency was my strong point this season. I know I’m fast but others can be faster than me depending on the terrain…
Now I have to tell my family on the other side of the world that I’m Champion!”

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