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EnduroGP heads to POLISPORT GP of Italy for Round Four – Preview

EnduroGP heads to POLISPORT GP of Italy for Round Four – Preview

The Paulo Duarte FIM EnduroGP World Championship reaches the halfway point in this year’s championship battle with the POLISPORT GP of Italy in Bettola, held June 21-23. Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Josep Garcia leads the way in EnduroGP, while Fantic Racing Team’s Axel Semb heads the GALFER FIM Junior Enduro World Championship.

  • All systems go for round four of EnduroGP at POLISPORT GP of Italy
  • Josep Garcia aims to fend off home favourite Andrea Verona
  • Racing gets underway in Bettola with Friday evening AKRAPOVIC Super Test

After a short break, the Paulo Duarte FIM EnduroGP World Championship returns to action for round four in Bettola, Italy. Situated between Milan, Genoa and Piacenza, the small, quiet, rural town is set to come alive to an epic weekend of racing. Across three days, the world’s best Enduro riders will fight for victory in what will mark the halfway point in this year’s championship chase.

Always a favourite on the calendar, the POLISPORT GP of Italy annually attracts thousands of passionate Enduro fans. The race paddock, located in the centre of the town, will be a hive of activity as riders and teams ready themselves for the Friday evening AKRAPOVIC Super Test.

Saturday and Sunday will see competitors challenged with three-and-a-half loops of a 46-kilometre course. Designed in a figure-of-eight formation, the opening loop will feature the ACERBIS Cross Test, with the second loop combining both the POLISPORT Extreme Test and MAXXIS Enduro Test. With an expected ride time of seven hours each day, the POLISPORT GP of Italy is set to put everyone through their paces.

Racing gets underway with AKRAPOVIC Super Test

At the top of the AKRAPOVIC Super Test standings sits Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Josep Garcia. The Spaniard won the opening two rounds in Portugal. Last time out in Romania it was TM MOTO’s Matteo Cavallo who took a debut win. In front of his home crowd this weekend, the Italian would love to win again.

Garcia aims to extend EnduroGP lead in Italy

The EnduroGP classification continues to ramp up in 2024. In Romania, Garcia firmly took control of the championship standings. The KTM rider is riding strong this season, finishing inside the top three in every race to date.

Moving up to second overall in points is GASGAS Factory Racing’s Andrea Verona. The Italian secured his first victory of the season at round three. With a home round on the cards, he will aim to use that as added momentum to ride to victory again.

The GP of Romania was not as kind to Honda Racing RedMoto Enduro Team’s Steve Holcombe. The defending EnduroGP champ arrived in Bacau tied on points for the championship lead with Garcia, but left it third overall in the standings, trailing Garcia by 11 points. The Brit knows he has some ground to make back up in Bettola, so should come out swinging.

Behind the leading trio, it’s the Beta Factory Racing pairing of Nathan Watson and Brad Freeman who close out the top five in fourth and fifth respectively. Watson has looked strong for the majority of the season and should deliver some more excitement in Italy. After a shaky start to his year, Freeman showed in Romania that he’s getting back on top form by placing third on day two. The Brit is ferociously fast. Now fighting fit, he could become a real thorn in the side of the top three title contenders from here on out.

Fast Eddy Racing’s Jamie McCanney is sixth overall, while Samuele Bernardini (Honda) will hope to improve on his position of seventh at his home round.

Enduro Women return to action in Italy

Missing in Romania, the FIM Women’s Enduro World Championship returns to do battle at the POLISPORT GP of Italy. After two exciting rounds in Portugal, it is RIEJU Factory Racing’s Mireia Badia who leads the way into Bettola. The Spaniard has proved decidedly strong this season and will aim to add to her growing win tally.

Honda Racing RedMoto Enduro Team’s Francesca Nocera and Team KBS Sherco’s Rachel Gutish are both tied for second overall. Each rider has claimed a race win so far in 2024, but with Nocera entering her home round this weekend, she’ll be highly motivated to put her Honda on the top step of the podium both days.

Behind the top three, Brits Rosie Rowett (RIEJU) and Nieve Holmes (Sherco) complete the top five. Rowett has two podium visits to her credit in 2024, while Holmes is still searching for that breakthrough result.

In Enduro1, Garcia is beginning to stretch his lead thanks to four wins from six starts. Holcombe lies second, but is now six points behind his rival. McCanney holds third with a four-point advantage over CH Racing Sherco’s Zach Pichon in fourth.

Verona is steadily building a big advantage in Enduro2. The Italian is now 27 points clear of Bernardini in second. Watson is third overall, but with just two points separating him from Bernardini, the Beta rider is sure to attack in Bettola.

With a double victory at round two, Freeman returned to the top of the Enduro3 standings and now looks increasingly hard to beat. Holding second overall, Cavallo will aim to continue his run of good form on home soil and fend off both Hamish MacDonald (Sherco) and Fantic Racing Team’s Albin Norrbin.

Battle of the Swedes in Enduro Junior

The GALFER FIM Junior Enduro World Championship sees Fantic Racing Team’s Axel Semb lead the way after round three. The Swede was sensational during the opening two rounds and looked to have a command on the class. However, in Romania, Max Ahlin (KTM) put a severe dent in his momentum and topped the podium both days. With many expecting that exciting rivalry to continue in Italy, it’s shaping up to be another competitive battle.

Entering their home round, both Kevin Cristino (Fantic) and Manolo Morettini (Honda) have the speed to take the fight to the Swedish duo. Cristino has placed as high as second three times already this year, Italy would be perfect timing to take his debut win in Enduro Junior.

In Enduro Youth, TM MOTO’s Alberto Elgari took over the points lead at the end of round two. Behind him, fellow countrymen Manuel Verzeroli (KTM) and Pietro Scardina (Fantic) complete the top three. With all three riders eager to deliver their best in front of family and friends, the fight to finish first will be fierce in Bettola.

Round four of the Paulo Duarte FIM EnduroGP World Championship takes place in Bettola, Italy from June 21-23.

Championship Standings (After round 3)

1. Josep Garcia (KTM) 109pts; 2. Andrea Verona (GASGAS) 99pts; 3. Steve Holcombe (Honda) 98pts; 4. Nathan Watson (Beta) 64pts; 5. Brad Freeman (Beta) 62pts; 6. Jamie McCanney (Husqvarna) 55pts; 7. Samuele Bernardini (Honda) 48pts; 8. Zach Pichon (Sherco) 44pts; 9. Matteo Cavallo (TM MOTO) 37pts; 10. Hamish MacDonald (Sherco) 30pts…

Words and Images by EnduroGP