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POLISPORT GP of Slovakia welcomes EnduroGP for Round Five – Preview

POLISPORT GP of Slovakia welcomes EnduroGP for Round Five – Preview

The Paulo Duarte FIM EnduroGP World Championship readies itself for the second half of the 2024 season with the POLISPORT GP of Slovakia. Making a return to the popular host town of Gelnica, round five will see the battle for this year’s title fights ramp up.

  • Excitement builds ahead of POLISPORT GP of Slovakia
  • Gelnica makes a welcome return to the schedule for 2024
  • Josep Garcia looks to extend his EnduroGP points lead

With the Paulo Duarte FIM EnduroGP World Championship heading to Slovakia for round five of seven this weekend, it marks an important stop in the 2024 season. Now firmly entering the second half of the championship fight, the POLISPORT GP of Slovakia in Gelnica will see this year’s title contenders begin to come to the fore.

AKRAPOVIC Super Test To Get Racing Underway

A familiar venue, Gelnica played host to a round of the championship in 2023, and so its mixture of terrain should remain fresh in the competitors’ minds. As is customary, racing begins on Friday with the AKRAPOVIC Super Test. Riders will then face two full days of racing on Saturday and Sunday. From the POLISPORT Extreme Test to the ACERBIS Cross Test and the nearly six-kilometre-long MAXXIS Enduro Test, the action will be fast, fun and exciting.

Although not quite having things his own way of late, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Josep Garcia still leads the way in the AKRAPOVIC Super Test standings. The Spaniard won the first two rounds in Portugal but has yet to win since. CH Racing Sherco’s Zach Pichon lies second thanks to three second place results but is clearly searching for that breakthrough win. GASGAS Factory Racing’s Andrea Verona is tied for third with Beta Factory Racing’s Brad Freeman.

Garcia on top in EnduroGP

In the EnduroGP classification, Josep Garcia (KTM) tops the standings by 10 points. The KTM rider has taken a day win at every round held so far in 2024, making it difficult to bet against the Spaniard. However, having raced in Gelnica last year while injured, it’s tough to call Garcia’s true form on the Slovakian terrain.

Lying second and third to Garcia in the standings, Andrea Verona (GASGAS) and Honda Racing RedMoto Enduro Team’s Steve Holcombe will be looking forward to attacking the special tests this weekend. Both riders claimed an overall win last year and know they need to win again to reel Garcia back in.

Verona enjoyed a strong ride last time out at his home race. A victory on Sunday by the narrowest of margins over Holcombe shows he’s hungry to win. Holcombe, still reeling from that four hundredths of a second loss to Verona, will want to make amends this time out. With only 16 points currently separating the top three, the POLISPORT GP of Slovakia is sure to be fascinating to watch.

Brad Freeman (Beta) lies fourth overall in the championship chase, but trails Holcombe by 43 points. The nine-time world champion is still a threat for overall honours on the day. His second-place finish on day one in Italy proved just that.

Teammate to Freeman, Nathan Watson rounds out the top five in the EnduroGP standings. Watson has enjoyed a strong year to date, including some standout moments in Portugal. In Slovakia, he will hope the tests favour his style.

In Enduro1, Garcia continues to lead the way. Holcombe is next in line to the Spaniard, with just six points separating the duo. Carding a pair of third-place results at round four, Zach Pichon (Sherco) now holds third overall in points.

With seven wins from eight starts, Verona is in command of Enduro2. He’s built up a 39-point advantage over Watson in second and will want to add to that in Slovakia. The fight for second is close, with Watson just two points ahead of Samuele Bernardini (Honda) in third.

Freeman holds the points lead in Enduro3. TM MOTO’s Matteo Cavallo maintains second but faces a strong challenge from Hamish MacDonald (Sherco) in third who is now back up to speed following injury.

Ahlin aiming to extend Enduro Junior lead

The GALFER FIM Junior Enduro World Championship sees Team KTM Pro Racing Sport’s Max Ahlin strengthen his hold on the points lead. The young Swede has set the pace during the last two rounds and is now 12 points clear of his nearest rival, Fantic Racing’s Team’s Axel Semb.

The battle for the final step of the podium is between Kevin Cristino (Fantic) and Honda Racing RedMoto Enduro Team’s Manolo Morettini, with the duo separated by three points. Fired up by his debut victory last time out in Italy, Morettini will be hungry for more success.

Confidence growing for Verzeroli in Enduro Youth

Team KTM Pro Racing Sport’s Manuel Verzeroli is quietly extending his advantage in Enduro Youth. The young Italian is proving to be a model of consistency in 2024, only once slipping outside of the top four. TM MOTO’s Alberto Elgari lies second with three wins to his tally, while Pietro Scardina (Fantic) completes the top three.

The Paulo Duarte FIM EnduroGP World Championship continues with the POLISPORT GP of Slovakia in Gelnica, July 12-14.

Championship Standings (After round four)

EnduroGP
1. Josep Garcia (KTM) 144pts; 2. Andrea Verona (GASGAS) 134pts; 3. Steve Holcombe (Honda) 128pts; 4. Brad Freeman (Beta) 85pts; 5. Nathan Watson (Beta) 80pts; 6. Zach Pichon (Sherco) 63pts; 7. Samuele Bernardini (Honda) 59pts; 8. Jamie McCanney (Husqvarna) 55pts; 9. Hamish MacDonald (Sherco) 50pts; 10. Matteo Cavallo (TM Racing) 46pts…