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Holcombe & Freeman collect important EnduroGP points in Portugal!

Holcombe & Freeman collect important EnduroGP points in Portugal!

The sixth round of the 2023 FIM EnduroGP World Championship took place from Friday 29 September to Sunday 1 October in Valpacos, a small Portuguese town about 150 km from Porto.

Report and Images by Betamotor

The Portuguese GP was raced in a summer climate characterised by high temperatures above 30° Celsius, which kept our two riders busy throughout the entire race weekend. The first of the two Portuguese rounds on the programme was a not very difficult but very technical track with three special stages to be completed four times a day for a total distance of 48 km and eleven stages per day of racing (three special stages on the first three laps and two special stages on the fourth lap). The race track of the Portuguese stage, designed by the Motoclub Usprigozus Clube TT de Vilarandelo in collaboration with Track Inspector Maurizio Micheluz, included in order: a very technical natural Extreme Test of 1. 7km characterised by challenging passages with characteristic stones, followed by a technical and not very fast Enduro Test of 5.6km on mainly hard and friable ground, and at the end of the lap a Cross Test inside the Motocross track of Valpacos, for a total of 4.6km.

On Saturday Steve Holcombe got off to a strong start, setting excellent times in all special tests, especially in the Extreme Test and the Enduro Test. The British rider never forced the pace and at the end of a long and hot day of racing took the third step of the podium in the Enduro GP class and the second step of the podium in the E2 class. On Sunday, on the other hand, Steve Holcombe changed strategy and from the very first special stage, Extreme Test, set a high pace, recording the fastest time on three special stages out of the first four run. The official Betamotor rider fought until the last special stage to take the top spot, but had to be content with the place of honour by just 1.90 seconds from the front runner. In the E2 class, on the other hand, the British rider took the top step of the podium and increased his lead. At the end of the penultimate GP of the season Steve Holcombe is still the leader of the EnduroGP class and in Santiago do Cacem, in addition to the EnduroGP queen class title, he will also be fighting for the E2 class title in the last act of the 2023 season.

Coming back from injury Brad Freeman arrived in Portugal not at his best. The British rider was able to defend his provisional lead in the E3 class on both race days. On Day One Brad Freeman managed to take second place in his class, while on the following day he pulled off a miracle to win the race day in the E3 class. Brad Freeman will also fight for the final title at the last round of this exciting 2023 season.

Also worth mentioning are the excellent performances of Team Beta OXMOTO Officiel France, which achieved both Saturday and Sunday: second position in the Youth category with Leo Joyon and fourth position in the E1 category with Theophile Espinasse.

Steve Holcombe: 

“This weekend’s goal was to not make any serious mistakes and compromise a positive and profitable outcome of the race. On Day One I managed third position in the EnduroGP while on Sunday I definitely changed my strategy by setting some absolute best times in the first special stages. Now maximum concentration for the final rush in which the future winner of the EnduroGP and E2 class will be decided.”

Brad Freeman:

“Over the summer I recovered from my mid-season injuries and didn’t manage to train as well as I had hoped, so I didn’t get as many hours on my bike and a few races to warm up my arms. However, I managed to finish both days ahead of my direct opponent and in Santiago do Cacem I will fight for the title.”

After the Portuguese GP, the next appointment is expected in less than five days’ time, again on Portuguese territory in Santiago do Cacem, where the seventh and final round of the season will be staged from 6th to 8th October, and which will see the many coveted world titles of the 2023 season awarded.