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EnduroGP Talking Points – Round 2, Portugal II

EnduroGP Talking Points – Round 2, Portugal II

The Paulo Duarte FIM EnduroGP World Championship had it all at round two in Valpacos, Portugal. From the action-packed AKRAPOVIC Super Test on Friday night to two long and physical days of racing across Saturday and Sunday.

Words and Images by EnduroGP

Throughout the weekend the racing was tight. Riders pushed the limits and the spectators were treated to some incredible moments. While the winners naturally grabbed the lion’s share of the limelight, here are some of the additional Talking Points from Valpacos that we couldn’t quite squeeze into the daily results newsletters…

Nieve Holmes

At most rounds of the Paulo Duarte FIM EnduroGP World Championship there are heroic moments from the riders. Nieve Holmes’ story from Valpacos is definitely up there with the best of them. During the second POLISPORT Extreme Test she dislocated her shoulder. Finding a way to put it back in, she not only completed the test, but continued on with her day to finish eighth. Incredible stuff Nieve!

Milwaukee paddock presence

At every round of the championship, the paddock is a hive of activity. In both Fafe and Valpacos it was great to have Milwaukee on hand to showcase their incredible range of tools to both the public and the teams. It’s awesome to have the world’s most respected manufacturer of heavy-duty power tools put their support behind enduro.

Fast Eddy Racing

One team enjoying an impressive start to the 2024 Paulo Duarte FIM EnduroGP World Championship is Fast Eddy Racing. The privateer British outfit has fielded a very strong team for this season. Jamie McCanney, Mikael Persson and Harry Edmondson are consistently in the hunt with the factory-backed riders for a place on the podium. Claiming his first EnduroGP top five of 2024 on day two in Valpacos, McCanney lies sixth overall. Missing the Enduro1 podium only once so far this season, he’s currently third in class.

Portugal rocks

The north of Portugal has a unique and impressively rocky landscape. The POLISPORT Extreme Test in Valpacos took advantage of the giant boulders and rugged terrain with a special test that was highly challenging. Taking three of the fastest times from a possible six, Honda Racing RedMoto Enduro Team’s Steve Holcombe showed he had the measure of everyone when the clock was ticking.

The KiSS Green Movement

As with every round of the Paulo Duarte FIM EnduroGP World Championship, Valpacos embraced the green movement. As part of the FIM Ride Green’s KiSS environmental and sustainability plan, there were many exciting and clever initiatives taking place at round two. All used tyres from teams were donated to the local schools to help build organic gardens. In a couple of weeks from now, Steve Holcombe and Josep Garcia’s race-winning tyres will be reused as flower pots for children to plant aromatic herbs!

All’s fair and square

The AKRAPOVIC Super Test had us on the edge of our seats on Friday night in Valpacos. The pace was frantic as riders pushed the limits. Unfortunately, some pushed it too far. FIM officials were quick to hand out 10-second penalties for some off-track excursion on the technical rock corner by Zach Pichon (Sherco), Brad Freeman (Beta), Samuele Bernardini (Honda) and Nathan Watson (Beta). At the end of day one, it was Freeman who had recovered best of the four riders to take fourth overall.

Tied on time

The racing at rounds one and two was super tight. The outcome of the podium in the majority of classes was decided by only a handful of seconds. But one result that really caught our eye on day one in Valpacos was between Fast Eddy Racing’s Mikael Persson and Fantic Racing Team’s Albin Norrbin. The duo tied on time in EnduroGP for eighth and ninth. After over one hour and 13 minutes of timed special test racing, the pair of Swedes finished their day on the same one hundredth of a second.

Bent bars but battling on

There were plenty of tumbles throughout the weekend in Valpacos as riders came unstuck on the tricky Portuguese rocks. Beta Factory Racing’s Nathan Watson saw his day one end early when he broke a set of handlebars on the penultimate test. On day two, Josep Garcia (KTM) was close to a similar fate when he badly bent his handlebars on the first MAXXIS Enduro Test. Despite his handlebars looking even lower than the pint-sized Spaniard normally has them, he still managed to post the sixth-fastest time, and then went on to take third in EnduroGP once repaired. Impressive!

Come and have a go in Enduro Open

The Enduro Open categories were also racing in Valpacos. Serving as an excellent stepping stone for amateur riders into the Paulo Duarte FIM EnduroGP World Championship, competitors ride and race the exact same course as the main classes, albeit to a shorter and more relaxed time schedule. With three categories to choose from, there is an Open 2stroke World Cup, Open 4stroke World Cup and Open Senior World Cup for riders to compete in. In total, the best eight results count towards the end of season overall classification.

The Paulo Duarte FIM EnduroGP World Championship continues with round three in Bacau, Romania, May 10-12.