FIM Hard Enduro World Championship
In a demanding and slippery 1st round of the FIM Hard Enduro World Championship, held at Serbia, Alfredo Gómez finished 7th in the Xross Hard Enduro Rally, a result that puts him in 5th place provisionally in the World Championship. Nicola Grossi also stood out by finishing 8th in Expert.
The FIM Hard Enduro 2023 World Championship kicked off last Wednesday with the first round, the Xross Hard Enduro Rally, in Zlatibor (Serbia). The Rieju Factory Team was represented by Alfredo Gómez, Eric Miquel, Nicola Grossi and Jack Winn. The event started with the EnduroCross Prologue, held in the afternoon, where the riders completed a circuit with artificial elements, with Alfredo Gómez shining in the competition by finishing 2nd in the PRO class, with Italian Nicola Grossi 5th in the Expert category.
Thursday was the first day of real Hard Enduro over a 100 kilometre course, which was considerably complicated by the rain and cold, leaving a very muddy and slippery terrain. Alfredo Gómez did not have his day, finding himself stiff, finishing in 12th position of the day. Eric Miquel, in his debut in the World Championship competing among the Juniors, started well, but a fall forced him to have to repair the bike, losing a lot of time, thus failing to overcome all the check points of the route, being penalized with 3 hours and dropping to 51st position. Among the Expert riders, Nicola Grossi finished 8th and Jack Winn 24th.
On Friday, again the participants made another difficult 100 km route through the Tara mountain range, a very physical day with some fast sections, despite the rain stopped, the terrain was still very complicated due to its low grip. In the PRO class, Alfredo Gómez improved his performance to finish in 9th place, which allowed him to advance positively in the provisional general classification. On the other hand, Eric Miquel, thanks to a more effective driving than the previous day, recovered quite a few positions, finishing the day in 30th position. In the Expert class, Nicola Grossi was 8th and Jack Winn, with difficulties, finished in a discreet 61st position.
On Saturday, the last day of competition, Alfredo Gómez continued to improve to finish in an outstanding 7th place, the same position with which he finishes this first round of the World Championship in Serbia, although adding the points received in the special prologue, he achieves a very positive 5th place in the provisional classification of the World Championship. Meanwhile, Eric Miquel, with a better feeling, mainly after the refueling, overtook a group of riders ahead of him and improved one place compared to Friday, to finish 29th of this third day, with Nicola Grossi repeating 10th place and Jack Winn 35th. With these results, Eric Miquel finished 38th and 11th in Junior, while Nicola Grossi was 8th in the Expert class and Jack Winn 55th.
"We started already in the rain on Wednesday, the truth is that I had a hard time going through the wet and fast terrain, I was losing a lot of time mainly in the fast sections, while in the more technical and difficult sections I was going quite well. Every day I was improving a little bit with the bike, on Saturday I finished seventh overall and thanks to the points from the prologue where I was second, I finally finished fifth, a result that I think is good in my first race in the Hard Enduro World Championship with the Rieju. So I'm happy, everything worked very well, the bike, the mechanics, so let's go for more!"
"We started the race with the prologue, which didn't go too well for me, finishing 29th. On the first off road day I started off quite well, but after about 40 minutes I had a crash and lost time repairing the bike, then I found myself with a lot of clogs, so I couldn't pass all the check points, penalising me up to 3 hours and dropping to 51st position. The second day I had a better start, with a good feeling, moving up almost 20 places, but I still finished 33rd. The last day I was doing a good race with a group that was difficult to overtake positions, for such a technical course; after the refueling I got a good pace, overtaking some riders in front of me and I could escape, finishing in 29th position. Overall very happy with the riding, but a little disappointed with the first day that we were not allowed to finish and we were penalized. In the end I finished 38th and P11th among the Juniors. I'm looking forward to the next race and show where I can be".
The next race, the second one for the FIM Hard Enduro World Championship 2023, will be the mythical Red Bull Erzbergrodeo at Austria, from the 8th to the 11th of June.
French Enduro Championship at Saint-Jean d'Angély
Léo Le Quéré's intense fight for the podium on home soil.
Double for Mireia Badia at France!
Official Rieju rider Léo Le Quéré had a consistent two days in Charente Maritime (17), the second round of the French Enduro Championship, but missed out on a place in the provisional standings by just one point. Mireia Badia, took advantage of the French event to train and won among the women.
The Moto Club Angers did a good job, as the more than 300 riders who took part in this event could see, with magnificent special stages and beautiful, technical and demanding links, covering three laps per day, in an event at the height of the championship.
On Saturday, Léo Le Quéré started the race in second place in the first two special stages of the day, but then could not maintain this high pace, losing the good feeling of the morning and his promising initial times in the following laps. Navigating between fourth and sixth in the category, he eventually finished the day in fifth position, leaving him with a feeling of frustration.
On the second day, over a course that had been crushed by the first day, conditions that he normally likes, the official Rieju rider was confident of improving his classification, setting times close to the podium, with the exception of the second special stage, where he achieved the third fastest time. Thanks to these times, he was able to finish fourth overall for the day.
Now third in the provisional general standings, the Breton rider hopes to improve his performance in the next race, which will take place on his home soil in Le Merzer (22nd), with the aim of regaining his position and fighting for the top spot in the E3 category.
An unbeatable weekend for Mireia Badia, who on this occasion took advantage of the celebration of this level race to compete in France with the idea of continuing her preparation for the third round of the Enduro World Championship. Mireia made few mistakes and set practically all the best times in the specials, so she won the women's class in the two days of competition.
Léo Le Quéré:
"Hats off once again to the Moto Club volunteers who gave us a superb event, on a par with the best races in the Championship. It shows that in Charente-Maritime we can organise great Enduro races. I had a great time during the two days. The special stages were well designed as they made perfect use of the site's configuration, with the motocross track and the soft texture of the terrain making the race increasingly physical and selective. I don't usually dislike these race conditions, but I have to admit that I didn't get a good feeling. When the track gets difficult and I have to ride hard, I don't feel comfortable, confident and free. This explains why my lap times were not as good as at the beginning of the race. I still have to work on my set-up and my riding. My physical condition is good, but I feel I lack confidence when it comes to riding at the limit, with a bike where I need to fine tune my settings. I am getting better and better, but I am still not at my best and I thank the team for supporting me in these difficult moments. I would like to give them more podiums or even victories, but I am not yet in a position to do so. After that it will be a matter of time and I thank them for their efforts. They are doing everything they can and it is very motivating. Every time I get on my machine I give it my all! I want to congratulate Mireia Badia, the Spanish factory rider in the women's category, for her magnificent weekend. She won both days, scoring almost all the scratches in the category, which shows that our machine has potential!
"The truth is that I was very happy with the race, with two fast time trials like Cross Test and an Enduro Test between trees but quite fast, I managed to win almost all the specials, with few mistakes, so it was a good training for the world championship".
The next round of the championship will take place on 29 and 30 July at Le Merzer (22).