Now Reading
Portugal’s Valpacos welcomes FIM EnduroGP World Championship for Round Two – Preview

Portugal’s Valpacos welcomes FIM EnduroGP World Championship for Round Two – Preview

The 2024 Paulo Duarte FIM EnduroGP World Championship picks up speed as it heads to Valpacos in Portugal for round two this weekend. After last weekend’s exciting and explosive opener in nearby Fafe, the battle for a place on the podium is set to be equally fierce in Valpacos.

At the head of the EnduroGP classification it’s Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Josep Garcia who holds an early lead, while in the GALFER FIM Junior Enduro World Championship, Fantic Racing Team’s Axel Semb leads the way.

  • EnduroGP arrives in Valpacos, Portugal for round two
  • Akrapovic Super Test to get racing underway on Friday
  • Josep Garcia aims to extend EnduroGP championship lead

Offering little time to rest, the 2024 Paulo Duarte FIM EnduroGP World Championship keeps momentum high as it arrives in Valpacos for round two. Marking the second leg of back-to-back racing weekends to open the 2024 season, the stage is set for a challenging, physical, and fun GP of Portugal.

If the town of Valpacos sounds familiar to enduro fans, that’s because it hosted the penultimate round of the 2023 season at the beginning of October. Event organisers have worked hard during the winter months to prepare another set of tests to put the world’s best enduro riders through their paces.


AKRAPOVIC Super Test set to get racing underway

Friday will see action begin with the AKRAPOVIC Super Test. Located beside the paddock, it is set to become a hub of activity. With a mixture of superenduro elements to test the riders, the Portuguese spectators will be served up an exciting evening of racing. Last weekend, Josep Garcia (KTM) took the win in the AKRAPOVIC Super Test, and the Spaniard will be favourite to top the time sheets this Friday.

Make sure to tune in to the EnduroGP YouTube channel at 20:00 WEST/BST on Friday to watch all the Super Test action LIVE!

Saturday and Sunday will see competitors face a testing mix of special tests. From the ACERBIS Cross Test to the MAXXIS Enduro Test and POLISPORT Extreme Test, the variety in terrain will demand the best all-round skills to top the podium.

Garcia aiming for victory in Valpacos

Sitting at the top of the EnduroGP championship standings, Garcia will look to build on his performance from Fafe. The Spaniard will no doubt welcome a return to Valpacos having dominated both days of racing here back in October. He’ll be hoping to use that confidence to catapult him to victory.

However, as we saw on day two in Fafe, the competition is fierce in EnduroGP. With the top three riders separated by just 10 seconds, the fight is on. Defending EnduroGP champion Steve Holcombe delivered the goods in his debut ride with Honda Racing RedMoto Enduro Team by winning last Sunday. Many had wondered if Steve could successfully transfer his speed to the lower capacity Enduro1 class for the first time in his professional career. Already answering that question, he will push for the same again in Valpacos.

GASGAS Factory Racing’s Andrea Verona sits third overall in the standings after his consistent results in Fafe. The former EnduroGP champion placed second and fourth but later admitted that things did not quite go his way on Sunday. He’ll hope to turn that around at round two because it’s already clear that there is no room for error in this championship fight.

Nathan Watson shadowed Garcia and Holcombe home on Sunday for third overall in EnduroGP to cap off an incredible debut ride with Beta Factory Racing. Currently lying fourth in the championship standings, the Brit looks hungry this year to establish himself as a title contender and will be exciting to watch in Valpacos.

Italy’s Samuele Bernardini (Honda) completes the top five overall in EnduroGP following an impressive ride at round one. However, Bernardini only heads CH Racing Sherco’s Hamish MacDonald by one point, with Fast Eddy Racing’s Mikael Persson just a further one point behind in seventh overall.

Gutish leads the way in Enduro Women

The FIM Women’s Enduro World Championship dished out some exciting racing in Fafe, and we’re expecting more of the same in Valpacos. Creating history, Team KBS Sherco’s Rachel Gutish won day one to become the first American to stand on the top of the podium in the women’s class. Placing second on day two sees her put her name to the top of the standings. However, she only leads RIEJU Factory Team’s Mireia Badia by two points. Badia rose to the top on day two to claim victory and will want to repeat that result on both days this weekend to overhaul Gutish.

Rosie Rowett (RIEJU) placed a strong second on day one, but slipped down the running order on Sunday. Although currently third overall in the standings, she will aim to get back in the podium fight at round two. Honda Racing RedMoto Enduro Team’s Francesca Nocera holds fourth, with Elodie Chaplot (Beta) tied on points for fifth.

With his Enduro1 class win on day two, Steve Holcombe tops the class heading into round two. Josep Garcia is second, but the duo are tied on points. Fast Eddy Racing’s Jamie McCanney is third, but is also tied on points with CH Racing Sherco’s Zach Pichon in fourth.

In Enduro2, Nathan Watson leads the way over Andrea Verona, but they also share 37 points each. Already seven points behind, Samuele Bernardini is in third.

The Enduro3 class sees Hamish MacDonald take control of the points lead after round one. The New Zealander secured his debut senior class win on day two in Fafe and will want to keep adding to that tally in Valpacos. Matteo Cavallo (TM Racing) and Julien Roussaly (Sherco) complete the top three.

Semb puts Fantic on top in Enduro Junior

The GALFER FIM Junior Enduro World Championship enjoyed an exciting start at round one. Fantic Racing Team’s Axel Semb proved himself as the rider to beat and was fastest both days. However, he was denied a double victory in Fafe when he received a 30-second penalty following the end of day sound control. The Swede will look to make amends at round two.

Behind Semb, Thibault Giraudon (Sherco) is second overall, while Antoine Alix (Beta) and Kevin Cristino (Fantic) are tied on points for third and fourth, respectively.

Enduro Youth is ultra-competitive

Although we’re only one round into the season, the Enduro Youth class is incredibly tight. Amazingly, the top five riders are all tied on points as we head to Valpacos. By virtue of his victory on day two, Alberto Elgari (TM Racing) leads the category with 30 points. Romain Dagna (Sherco) is second overall thanks to his victory on day one. Manuel Verzeroli (KTM), Maxime Clauzier (Beta), and Clement Clauzier (Beta) are third, fourth, and fifth respectively, and have all scored 30 points each too.

The Paulo Duarte FIM EnduroGP World Championship continues with round two in Valpacos, Portugal from April 12-14.

Championship Standings (After round 1)
1. Josep Garcia (KTM) 37pts; 2. Steve Holcombe (Honda) 35pts; 3. Andrea Verona (GASGAS) 30pts; 4. Nathan Watson (Beta) 28pts; 5. Samuele Bernardini (Honda) 20pts; 6. Hamish MacDonald (Sherco) 19pts; 7. Mikael Persson (Husqvarna) 18pts; 8. Jamie McCanney (Husqvarna) 14pts; 9. Zach Pichon (Sherco) 13pts; 10. Matteo Cavallo (TM Racing) 12pts…