Josep Garcia put in a worthy championship winning performance during the eighth and final round of the FIM Enduro World Championship in Zschopau, Germany.
The KTM 250 EXC-F mounted rider carried a healthy, 13-point championship advantage into the event, which he further extended before wrapping up the E2 title. A crash on Friday night’s Super Test put Garcia on the back foot, but the young Spaniard held his composure and claimed the runner-up position at the end of day one.
With a 15-point lead going into the second and final day, all Josep needed to do was secure a handful of points and not make any mistakes. He did exactly that and in placing a solid fifth claimed his first ever world championship title.
Garcia: “I can’t describe how this feels right now. I want to thank all my team for believing in me this year. It has been my first year in the senior class of the world championship and the racing has been so close all year. To get to the end of the season and win the title is unbelievable.
“This weekend has gone very well. The conditions have been tough, especially on day two, but I have enjoyed the event and I did what I had to do. It feels amazing to be world champion. Thanks again to everyone that has supported me. Now I just want to take it all in and enjoy the moment.”
In the EnduroGP class, Christophe Nambotin put in two inspired rides on his return from injury to claim a double-podium finish. Forced to miss the GP of Great Britain due to an injury sustained at the ISDE in France, Nambotin returned to action in Zschopau and proved why he is still one of the best riders in the championship. The Frenchman completed the 2017 season in fifth overall.
Nambotin: “The GP of Germany has been a great event for me. The conditions have been difficult but I enjoy it when it’s like this. I made a couple of mistakes in the cross test, which cost me some time. But the pace at the top has been really fast all weekend and I am happy with how I have ridden. Fifth in the championship is great considering I missed a few days due to injury.”
KTM 350 EXC-F mounted Nathan Watson had a very difficult weekend. With the conditions not suiting the British rider, Watson struggled to find a comfortable set-up on day one. Day two started better with Nathan near the front, fighting for the podium. Unfortunately, a painful crash on the enduro test forced him to retire.
Despite several setbacks and injuries during the season, Watson finished an impressive third overall in the EnduroGP championship standings.
Watson: “This weekend has been tough for me. I didn’t quite have the pace on Saturday and after hurting my shoulder today it was best to retire. It’s been an up-and-down season. I started the year battling injury so to finish third overall is great. I know my speed is good, I guess I just didn’t have luck on my side this season.”
Australian Daniel Sanders rode well throughout the GP of Germany. The KTM 250 EXC rider enjoyed the conditions and special tests in Zschopau. A few mistakes cost him some time, but overall the 2016 ISDE E3 class winner was happy with his performance.
Sanders: “I really enjoyed it here in Zschopau – this is what enduro is all about. The crowd were amazing and the tracks were great. I am disappointed my results weren’t a little better, but all in all the end of the season has been good for me.”
In the Enduro Women’s class, the title looked set to go right down to the wire. KTM Enduro Factory Racing’s Laia Sanz came into the German round – the third for the women’s championship – with a six-point lead over Maria Franke. On day one, it was Franke who took the win, a mere 0.17 seconds ahead of Sanz. With everything to play for, the winner of day two looked set to take the championship.
Unfortunately, a technical issue for Sanz after the second test forced the Spaniard to retire. KTM mounted Maria Franke comfortably secured the day win and in turn the 2017 EW title.
Sanz: “Obviously, I’m disappointed the championship has ended the way it has but it happens sometimes. On the plus side, I am happy with how the season has gone. Both Maria and I have really taken a huge step forward in terms of pace and we have had a great battle all season long.
“For me now, my focus is on rally. It would have been nice to finish off my enduro career with another world title but it wasn’t meant to be. I am a little sad, but have to look forward to the future now.”
Results – 2017 FIM EnduroGP World Championship, Round 8
- 1. Steve Holcombe (GBR), Beta, 53:42.03
- 2. Christophe Nambotin (FRA), KTM, 54:04.42 +20.39
- 3. Loic Larrieu (FRA), Yamaha, 54:10.58 +28.55
- 4. Matthew Phillips (AUS), Sherco, 54:19.03 +37.00
- 5. Giacomo Redondi (ITA), Honda, 55:12.58 +1:30.55
- Other KTM
- 6. Jaume Betriu (ESP), KTM, 55:35.99 +1:53.96
- 9. Nathan Watson (GBR), KTM, 56:42.75 +3:00.72
- 10. Marco Neubert (DEU), KTM, 57:14.44 +3:32.41
- 1. Daniel McCanney (GBR), Husqvarna, 54:03.71
- 2. Josep Garcia (ESP), KTM, 54:15.37 +11.66
- 3. Jamie McCanney (GBR), Yamaha, 54:16.81 +13.10
- 4. Davide Guarneri (ITA), Honda, 54:25.99 +22.28
- 5. Pascal Rauchenecker (AUT), Husqvarna, 55:20.68 +1:16.97
- Other KTM
- 7. Daniel Sanders (AUS), KTM, 56:23.76 +2:20.05
- 1. Maria Franke (DEU), KTM, 40:33.98
- 2. Laia Sanz (ESP), KTM, 40:34.15 +0.17
- 3. Jane Daniels (GBR), Husqvarna, 45:58.83 +5:24.85
- 4. Juliette Berrez (FRA), Yamaha, 53:39.96 +13:05.98
- 1. Steve Holcombe (GBR), Beta, 58:27.64
- 2. Loic Larrieu (FRA), Yamaha, 58:57.98 +30.34
- 3. Christophe Nambotin (FRA), KTM, 59:12.38 +44.74
- 4. Matt Phillips (AUS), Sherco, 1:01:03.58 +2:35.94
- 5. Giacomo Redondi (ITA), Honda, 1:01:05.51 +2:37.87
- Other KTM
- 6. Jaume Betriu (ESP), KTM, 1:01:35.35 +3:07.71
- 8. Marco Neubert (DEU), KTM, 1:03:27.67 +5:00.03
- 9. Christian Brockel (DEU), KTM, 1:04:11.61 +5:43.97
- 1. Jamie McCanney (GBR), Yamaha, 59:38.66
- 2. Daniel McCanney (GBR), Husqvarna, 59:42.69 +4.03
- 3. Eero Remes (FIN), TM, 1:00:41.30 +1:02.64
- 4. Davide Guarneri (ITA), Honda, 1:00:42.78 +1:04.12
- 5. Josep Garcia (ESP), KTM, 1:00:42.96 +1:04.30
- Other KTM
- 11. Daniel Sanders (AUS), KTM, 1:03:17.00 +3:38.34
- 1. Maria Franke (DEU), KTM, 44:10.58
- 2. Jane Daniels (GBR), Husqvarna, 46:15.72 +2:05.14 2017
Final Championship Standings
- 1. Steve Holcombe (GBR), Beta, 350 points
- 2. Loic Larrieu (FRA), Yamaha, 302
- 3. Nathan Watson (GBR), KTM, 259
- 4. Matt Phillips (AUS), Sherco, 252
- 5. Christophe Nambotin (FRA), KTM, 222
- Other KTM
- 7. Jaume Betriu (ESP), KTM, 203
- 1. Josep Garcia (ESP), KTM, 350 points
- 2. Jamie McCanney (GBR), Yamaha, 344
- 3. Eero Remes (FIN), TM, 309
- 4. Pascal Rauchenecker (AUT), Husqvarna, 274
- 5. Danny McCanney (GBR), Husqvarna, 254
- Other KTM
- 8. Daniel Sanders (AUS), KTM, 187
- 1. Maria Franke (DEU), KTM, 141 points
- 2. Jane Daniels (GBR), Husqvarna, 122
- 3. Laia Sanz (ESP), KTM, 119
- 4. Jessica Gardiner (AUS), Yamaha, 69
- 5. Mireia Badia (ESP), Husqvarna, 48
- Other KTM
- 7. Sanna Karkkainen (FIN), KTM, 34