EnduroGP World Championship results: day one in Valpacos sees another titanic tussle between Josep Garcia, Steve Holcombe and Andrea Verona – the Red Bull KTM rider grabs win by 14 seconds as Watson crashes out.


EnduroGP Rnd2, Valpacos day 1 in a nutshell:

  • Valpacos is one of the most spectacular locations the EnduroGP World Championship circus visits in a season. From classic Portuguese stone villages to the giant granite rocks of all shapes and sizes in the tests, it can be daunting to ride but brilliant to watch as the best in the world skip through the scenery.
  • Getting down to the nitty gritty right from the first special, Steve Holcombe, Josep Garcia, Andrea Verona continued their tussle up top of the time sheets from seven days ago.
  • Like last week their speed and consistent attack-mode put them steadily clear of the rest to seemingly set a race for the overall podium between themselves, with the rest having a race with each other.
  • By the end of the first lap Garcia had a slender advantage, by the end of lap two that grew with Holcombe and Verona on near identical 10 seconds back.
  • A mistake at the start of the third lap, the extreme test, saw Verona drop a chunk of time but it didn’t stop him giving it everything in a final five tests which were, like last weekend, electric.
  • Garcia it was though who had the measure of the spectacular terrain and his rivals to record a hard fought, 14s win: “It was a tough day and I had a great battle again with Steve. I had a crash in the second enduro test and lost time. Then I tried to push and make a small gap, I was able to do it but we were fighting all day in every test. I’m happy to win after a day like that.”
  • Steve Holcombe can look at his times in the first two visits to the nine-minute-long enduro test for a big difference between first and second place. Finally getting the measure of it by lap three, it was too late to claw back around 10 seconds and P2 was his scorecard overall, and in E1: “A pretty good day but not one without a few dramas, I had a bike issue before the second cross test (his bike wouldn’t start and he carried a bumbag through that test to be sure – Ed), which meant I struggled to maintain focus there a bit. But first loser is never bad and Josep was riding awesome today. I’m still riding a little bit like I’m on a big bike sometimes and it took me a little to get over that but overall good, a good last lap and looking forward to starting that way tomorrow.”
  • A mistake at the start of the third lap, the extreme test, saw Andrea Verona drop 16 seconds and relegate himself to third just like that. The GASGAS rider takes the win in E2 and will gain back the leader’s red plate: “I’m happy about my day, my speed was good overall but I made a mistake in the extreme in the first lap and then again in the third lap where I lost 15 seconds. The speed was there and I did some nice tests but, in the end, these seconds made the gap to the guys in front. But we know we have the speed to tomorrow we push full gas!”
  • Brad Freeman was among the riders docked 10 seconds last night in the Super Test, for going outside the tapes (Brad plus Nathan Watson, Zach Pichon, Samuele Bernadini) and that time adds to today’s results. But with or without it, Brad claimed first in E3 class and fourth overall, albeit over a minute off Garcia’s time.
  • Behind him the fight for the top 10 places is super-close at every GP day so far this season and today was no exception. Between Hamish Macdonald in fifth, through Jamie McCanney, Bernadini, Mikael Persson, Albin Norrbin, Matteo Cavallo and Wil Ruprecht in 11th, the competition is as intense as it is between the top three and they are fighting tooth and nail for class podium positions.
  • In the thick of that fight was Nathan Watson, riding without a front mudguard for some of the day, until the penultimate test when the E2 class points leader at the start of the day had a big crash, hitting a tree. The rider is ok but Nathan was forced to retire with bust handlebars, we think...


  • Bad news to report for Mikael Persson also as the Fast Eddy Racing rider limped home with an injured leg and was being seen to by medics at time of writing.
  • There was no doubting the winner in the Juniors as Axel Semb (who surely could and should have a career in a rock band?) took another resounding victory. Fantic’s latest dominant force in this class ran home over one minute clear of his teammate, 2023 Youth champion Kevin Cristino who fought off first Antoine Alix and then Max Ahlin for the podium.
  • The Youth 125 class continues to be a blinder of a championship to watch as a gaggle of riders make the result unpredictable. Taking his maiden day win last weekend, Italian Manuel Verzeroli once again forged clear of the marauding French, led this week by Romain Dagna and Max Clauzier, to claim the win.
  • Dagna held off the rest to take second ahead of a late surge by Alberto Elgari, winner on day two last weekend.
  • Rieju Factory Racing’s Mireia Badia picked right back up where she left off last Sunday in the Women’s category. The diminutive Spaniard started strongly, edged an advantage with consistent fast times in drier conditions this week compared to last and maintained.
  • But Honda RedMoto’s Francesca Nocera, fighting a 30 seconds deficit after a mess-up in last night’s Super Test, was on a mission. Badia held a 30 seconds advantage into the last lap but a remarkable run in the last four tests by Nocera turned it right around for the win by eight seconds, making it her first GP day win.
  • Badia had to settle for second with Rosie Rowett, a huge three minutes adrift of the winner, inheriting third after Rachel Gutish hit bike problems in the penultimate test, losing a whopping 10 minutes.
  • The open World Cup class is looking a bit sorry for itself this weekend, it must be said, with just 11 riders split across three classes. As one week ago, it was Belgian Tim Louis who took the win but very narrowly from Briton Alfie Webb – in the end by 40 seconds. Frenchman Alex Pichaud was third.

2024 GP of Portugal II, day 1 results, EnduroGP overall:


E1 class:


E2 class:


E3 class:


Junior overall:


Youth class:


Women class:


Open class scratch:



Photo Credit: Future7Media | Andrea Belluschi