Mechanical issue costs former MX champ his first enduro world title

Former youth MX champ Jed Etchells talks us through his experiences at the final round of the FIM Enduro World Championship…

‘I am gutted about missing out on the Enduro World Championship Youth title. I feel like I let people down even if it wasn’t my fault but I now feel really, really motivated and know that I can prove to everyone I can do it for next year.

‘I was on course to take the title for Fantic D’Arpa Racing on the Fantic 125 Competition machine but a detached throttle cable meant a 30-minute delay and ultimately cost me the title by just two points. Silver is some consolation in my debut season as a factory enduro rider but it’s not gold!

‘The weather conditions were tough at this weekend’s GP of Portugal and on the Friday night I was feeling excited and nervous – although mostly excited. I had a vision and was feeling ready for the weekend ahead.

Jed gets on the gas in Portugal Pic (c) Giovanni Chillemi

‘The track was in reverse to the previous round, quite rough already which was a bonus and I was happy with the way it flowed nicely.   Saturday morning I woke up feeling good, I did my usual routine – stretching and listening to some music to get myself in the zone – and in the first test I set off but got a bit confused as the officials were waving me to stop. I probably lost five seconds and that kind of ruined my head as I lost time in that test and it didn’t set me up for the rest of the day very well.

“I was focussed on trying to be smooth and fast but probably over-thought it and on the second lap of the fourth test I hit a rock and crashed so lost even more time, then began stressing about the points.

‘Despite this I was still leading by four points at the end of the day so I went for a swim to relax my muscles and then mentally prepared myself for the last day.

‘On Sunday I woke up ready for it. Everything felt better, I was sharper mentally and really feeling good. In the first test I beat Sergio Navarro who was my nearest rival. Then in the second test I caught him up and then the throttle cable disconnected!

‘Had that not happened I would probably have been 20 seconds ahead of him – instead I lost 15 minutes in the test and then another 13 minutes on time because I was late to the check and so that was that. It was a tough moment to experience, knowing that the dream was slipping away – and not due to a lack of speed, strength or skill – but that’s racing and we all know it.

‘I want to say a massive thank you to all my sponsors, my family, friends and a huge thank you to my team for believing in me and supporting me.  I cannot wait to move forward, go up to the Junior class next season and continue racing in my element.’

Jed Etchells