Freeman battles through the pain barrier for Enduro GP of Greece win – Race Report and Highlights
Serres saw another day under the sweltering Greek sunshine, despite a big storm during the very last test on Sunday! Once again, we had our fair share of surprises and the results changed frequently and drastically over the course of the 10 test Let’s hear all the news from Day 2…
The first victim of the tough day was Giacomo REDONDI (I – Husqvarna). Fifth overall yesterday and the winner of the E2 class, the Italian had a heavy fall in the first Champion Lubricants Enduro Test of the day and damaged his ribs. He lost more than 14 minutes and managed to finishes the day 19th overall by gritting his teeth.
After a DNF yesterday, Alex SALVINI (I – Honda) bravely took to the start again this morning and rode in pain to finish in an honorable 12th position overall, taking some valuable points.
But perhaps the biggest victim of this stifling weekend was Brad FREEMAN (GB – Beta Boano). Strong from the outset, and dominating Day 1, the Beta Boano rider pulled out a gap right from the start of Day 2. However, as fatigue set in the Brit had a huge crash on the last Enduro Test and injured his left shoulder. Despite this, he was able to hold off Thomas OLDRATI (I – Honda RedMoto) and Matteo CAVALLO (I – Sherco) and win the EnduroGP class nevertheless. Increasing his gap on a struggling Steve HOLCOMBE (GB – Beta) who could only managed 7th overall today. But this mistake from FREEMAN could cost him dearly next weekend in Italy if he does not recover quickly. This story is to be continued…
So it was in fact OLDRATI who was the surprise of Serres by being the closest rider to FREEMAN on the second day of racing. They were joined on the podium by another Italian, the impressive CAVALLO.
Fighting for the EnduroGP podium for the majority of the day, two errors relegated a resurgent Christophe CHARLIER (F – Honda RedMoto) to fifth position, he was beaten by Britain’s Danny MCCANNEY (GB – TM) who courageously put his hand injury to the back of his mind.
CHARLIER Finally Rewarded!
With a 100% win-streak in Enduro 1, FREEMAN took victory on Sunday ahead of OLDRATI and CAVALLO. Davide GUARNERI (I – Honda RedMoto) and Kirian MIRABET (E – Honda RedMoto) completed the Top 5 in this small engine capacity class.
As for the Enduro 3 class, Danny MCCANNEY took his second win of the season ahead of Steve HOLCOMBE and the consistent Anthony GESLIN (F – Beta)…
In Enduro 2, it was another crazy and dramatic day. After his early and heavy crash, Day 1 winner REDONDI was forced to try and limit the damage by finishing 8th. For his part, the “warrior” Alex SALVINI holds on to the title lead in E2 before arriving at his home GP in Rovetta. He finished 5th with his damaged shoulder, only 14 seconds behind the Chilean Benjamin HERRERA (CL – Beta). While the Italian is still the leader, the French duo of CHARLIER and LARRIEU are edging dangerously close to him. Honda RedMoto’s CHARLIER took a deserved victory on Day 2 and TM’s LARRIEU was just behind him in 2nd. Clearly, this category remains unpredictable and there are still at least four riders in with a shout of the title!
KYTÖNEN Takes VERONA Down
A couple of times this season we’ve seen Enric FRANCISCO (E – KTM) come close to knocking Andrea VERONA (I – TM) off the top spot. But it has taken until the 4th GP of the season to end the 7-strong winning streak of the Italian! However, it wasn’t Ivan CERVANTES’ protege who achieved this feat but instead the Finn, Roni KYTÖNEN (Husqvarna). Absent at the opening round in Germany, the Kytönen Motorsport rider already showed great potential during the Iberian tour and now he has proven that he can compete with the best young talents on the planet.
But FRANCISCO gave him a hard time, and remained on the Finn’s tail until the last test of the day. VERONA managed to fight his way back to a useful third place, pipping an unfortunate Antoine MAGAIN (B – KTM) on the last lap!
Also worth noting is the disqualification of Ruy BARBOSA (CL – Husqvarna), taken out of the race by the FIM due to reckless and unsporting behaviour.
Naturally, KYTÖNEN also had the beating of VERONA in the J1 class, while MAGAIN took third place. FRANCISCO grabbed a second J2 win in as many days in front of the great Czech hope Krystof KOUBLE (KTM) and Jack EDMONDSON (GB – Sherco)…
KNIGHT Wins the Champion Lubricants Enduro Open Senior Title!
This Maxxis Grand Prix of Greece also gave us our very first victor in the history of the newly-created Champion Lubricants Enduro Open World Cup. Present at every race since the start of the season and undefeated so far, ‘Enduro legend’ David KNIGHT (GB – TM) finished the job without a hitch on Sunday and leaves Greece, as the cup winner of the Open Senior category, 14 years after his first ever World title, also won here in Serres! KNIGHTER beat Austria’s Werner MÜLLER (KTM), 2nd. And Sweden’s Patrik ANDERSSON (Yamaha) completed the Top 3, taking his very first International podium!
In Open 2-Stroke, Gonçalo REIS (P – Gas Gas) did the double and is only one win away from taking the crown. Second was George PISIMANIS (GR – Yamaha). Let’s see if the rider from Portugal can finish the job next weekend in Rovetta (Italy).
Finally, in Open 4-Stroke, Mathias VAN HOOF (B – Beta) who had a very unlucky Day 1 with mechanical failure was finally able to take his first world level win! The Belgian took this brilliant victory ahead of Konstantinos NIKIAS (GR – Husqvarna) and Panagiotis ZAFEIRIOU (GR – Suzuki).
So it’s ‘hats off’ to Serres OffRoad Premio Aris LIOUGAS and Christos POUFTAS who took on the considerable challenge of replacing the Corsican in just 3 months, something they did excellently with three high level special tests. The riders themselves also put on a great show for the enthusiastic Greek fans. There’s not much time for everyone to heal their wounds and recover from this punishing weekend because an iconic and infamously tough race awaits them next weekend – the legendary Valli Bergamasque. More than 150 riders are expected at the start line of this epic race!
What They Said:
Brad FREEMAN: “I’m destroyed! I was off to a good start and pulled a comfortable gap after two laps, but I was careless in the Enduro Test and I fell hard… I lost a lot of time and hurt myself a lot, especially my shoulder! But I am still very satisfied with this victory, it’s helped improve my gap in the EnduroGP standings. Now I just have to hope that my shoulder injury isn’t too bad and that I will be able to be 100% next weekend!”
Thomas OLDRATI: “I am very satisfied with this second place! I felt good all weekend and was disappointed to finish 4th yesterday. I knew how to take advantage of the decline of the others to get this podium and I was even close to winning after FREEMAN’s crash. Now I’m looking forward to Italy, where I’ll be riding in front of my home crowd!”
Christophe CHARLIER: “Finally, a win! After my mechanical issues and crash yesterday, I really wanted to do well! I make two mistakes that cost me the podium in EnduroGP but I am very happy with this first victory in E2. I’m getting closer to SALVINI in the standings and I hope to continue this trend next weekend. I felt good on the bike all weekend so I feel positive.”
Danny MCCANNEY: “I was really disappointed with my result yesterday and honestly, I did not think much about the EnduroGP ranking. I got through the pain and I managed my goal, which was to win in E3 this weekend. The 4th place in EnduroGP is a great bonus of course!”
Roni KYTÖNEN: “I’m so happy with this first win, especially as VERONA has been so hard to beat. It was very tight until the end with FRANCISCO but the small gap that I managed to pull in the Enduro Test was enough. With this victory, I’m able to show everyone that I have the talent to win in Enduro. This is my first career victory at the World Championship and I’m proud of it!”