After a two month break, the Maxxis FIM EnduroGP World Championship returns to action for the penultimate round of the season with the GP FunnelWeb Filter of United Kingdom at Hawkstone Park.
With the iconic Hawkstone Park circuit playing host to the first World Championship Enduro race in the UK for almost 10 years, the EnduroGP action takes a new format with a mixture of enduro sprint and cross country racing allowing fans and spectators to get closer than ever to the action.
Bringing EnduroGP action back to British shores, Paul EDMONDSON will be at the helm of organising events at Hawkstone Park. An experienced organiser in Britain, EDMONDSON and his team of Fast Eddy Racing organise numerous extreme enduro races (FastEddy Extreme) and enduro sprint races.
EnduroGP welcomes a new era and format
With the environmental difficulties encountered in this country, the enduro sprint/ GNCC format on the closed circuit of Hawkstone Park was derived. On Saturday, the EnduroGP riders will contest the KTM Enduro Test in a typically British forest adjacent to the circuit and then the Maxxis Cross Test that will of course be located on the historic motocross track of Hawkstone Park on Saturday. They will have to race each of the two stages six times during the day. The next day, Steve HOLCOMBE (GB – Beta), Josep GARCIA (E – KTM) and others will race on a three-hour cross country that will mix the previous day’s enduro test and cross test. The winner will of course be the one who will cross the finish line first and the racers will have to stop at least twice in the pits to refuel.
Hawkstone Park is a 40-hectare natural park in the heart of England. This park contains an important golf course as well as the legendary MX track. This circuit has seen its hours of glory between the 1970’s and 90’s by hosting on numerous occasions the 125cc and 500cc World Championships of Motocross. Many stars like Stefan EVERTS, Mike BROWN, Georges JOBE and André MALHERBE have raced on the track of Hawkstone Park. It has become a mythical place for all British and MX fans around the world. In recent years, this venue has hosted enduro competitions organised by Paul EDMONDSON and also Hard Enduro with the Tough One in 2014.
Can HOLCOMBE finish the job at home?
In EnduroGP, Steve HOLCOMBE and Nathan WATSON (GB – KTM) are favourites at home in front of an audience that has long waited for an EnduroGP race in Britain. But the stakes will be different for the two British. In fact, HOLCOMBE, current leader of the main class, counts 37 points ahead of his closest rival Loïc LARRIEU (F – Yamaha). The Beta rider will therefore seek to maintain his leadership leading into the final round in Germany at the end of October. He could also be tempted to go for gold and claim a home win at Hawkstone Park and with it a possible world title. But LARRIEU, with a scratch victory at the recent ISDE, will arrive in full confidence and intends to increase his chances of titles before the final. For WATSON, if the title seems out of reach, he will have heart to deliver a memorable performance in his home GP. Matthew PHILLIPS (AUS – Sherco), renewed by his remarkable performance at the GP of Portugal, will want to consolidate his place on the podium and push for a victory that is missing since the GP of Spain while Christophe NAMBOTIN (F – KTM) should find racing conditions that he particularly likes. He remains a serious candidate for the victory of the GP. Behind these five riders is Christophe CHARLIER (F – Husqvarna), who is booming with confidence following his first podium in Portugal, claiming ISDE victory with France, winning the Italian Enduro Championship and also being selected to represent France at the MX of Nations. The E2 2013 World Champion Alex SALVINI (I – Beta) and the privateer Jaume BETRIU (E – KM) will also look to shine at Hawkstone Park. Giacomo REDONDI (I – Honda), Cristobal GUERRERO (E – Yamaha) and Deny PHILIPPAERTS (I – Beta) will try to create a surprise result and consolidate their positions in the standing. This FunnelWeb Filter UK GP will also see the return of three-time World Champion David KNIGHT (GB – KTM), and the newly crowned champion of Europe MX 300 Brad ANDERSON (GB – KTM).
MCCANNEY aiming for home win at Hawkstone
In the Enduro 2, the battle rages between Josep GARCIA (E – KTM) and Jamie MCCANNEY (GB – Yamaha). Indeed, only six points separate the Catalan, current leader, from the Outsider Yamaha factory rider. But in Hawkstone Park, MCCANNEY is clearly a favourite. From the Isle of Man, Jamie is particularly fond of these racing conditions and already has the experience of enduro sprint and cross country racing in Britain. Add to this home support and MCCANNEY will be at maximum attack. However, GARCIA has already shown his strength of character and will not let go of his leader plate as easily. With the nature of this type of race, some riders could come in create a stir. We think of course to the double E1 Champion Eero REMES (SF – TM), freed from his health problems, or the Austrian Pascal RAUCHENECKER (Husqvarna), the Italian Davide GUARNERI (Honda) and Danny MCCANNEY (GB – Husqvarna) who will be very encouraged by the local public. Thomas OLDRATI (I – Husqvarna), Henric STIGELL (SF – Husqvarna), Rudy MORONI (I – KTM), Jonathan BARRAGAN (E – Gas Gas) and Manuel MONNI (I – TM) will also be in the hunt. Daniel SANDERS (AUS – KTM), Victor GUERRERO (E – Yamaha) and Lorenzo SANTOLINO (E – Sherco) are expecting a lot more, while Frenchman Romain DUMONTIER (F – Yamaha) can shine as he is particularly fond of these cross country events.
SORECA faces a determined FREEMAN
The under-23 category should also be worth its weight in gold. After Portugal, Brad FREEMAN (GB – Beta) is only 14 points behind the leader Davide SORECA (I – Honda)… The Italian has held onto his leader’s plate since the Spanish GP, but his lead over FREEMAN is eroding with each round. The protégé of Jarno BOANO, missing the Päijänne due to injury, has embarked on a frantic come back and is honing in on SORECA. With home advantage on his side this weekend, he intends to arrive in Zschopau (Germany) in late October neck and neck with the official Honda RedMoto rider.
Behind this duo, Mikael PERSSON (S – Yamaha), injured on day two in Portugal, looks to become the spoiler in the mix, while Matteo CAVALLO (I – Beta) will try to get among the leading action. Finally, Albin ELOWSON (S – Husqvarna), returning to action, will hope to play his cards right to taste the joys of the first place. FREEMAN will be “supported” by young local talents like William HOARE (KTM), Luke FLACK (Sherco), Joseph WOOTTON (Husqvarna) or Jed ETCHELLS (Sherco)…
Finally, already crowned Youth 125cc World Champion in Castelo Branco (Portugal), Andrea VERONA (I – TM) wants to resume his series of victories which had been stopped by the French Léo LE QUERE (TM) in July. But the task will not be easy for the Italian, especially since LE QUERE still has to work hard to consolidate his second place, while resisting the attacks of Ruy BARBOSA (CL – Husqvarna) who is in shape after a brilliant ISDE. Hugo SVÄRD (Husqvarna) of Finland will try to regain his place among the top three riders in the category, while Alex TRIGO HIJON (KTM) and Pau TOMAS FONT (KTM) will continue their progression at the highest level of enduro. Again, we should find a strong contingent of young British talent led by Alex WALTON (KTM) and Dan MUNDELL (KTM).
With a historic track and suspense in each category awaiting, this Great FunnelWeb Filter of the United Kingdom has all it takes to be one of the highlights of this 2017 season and will offer a great show to the enduro fans of Great Britain who have been waiting a return of the World Championship for nearly 10 years.
– Hawkstone Park; – Saturday, September 23rd: Enduro Sprint from 9.00; – Sunday, September 24th: Cross Country: Start 12h00 – Finnish around 15h00 ; – Organizer: Fast Eddy Racing – Websites: www.endurogp.org and www.worldenduro.co.uk; – Airport: Birmingham and Manchester – Ticket Prices: • Saturday: 10£ and 5£ (Under 16 y.o), Under 5: Free • Sunday: 20£ and 10£ (Under 16 y.o), Under 5: Free • Pass Weekend : 25£ and 15£ (Under 16 y.o) • Pass Weekend Camping : 40£