Beta Factory Racing’s Steve Holcombe has controlled his position at the top of the FIM Enduro World Championship standings with first and second place EnduroGP class results at round two of the series in Portugal.
Returning to competitive action following a six-week break between rounds one and two, Holcombe was highly motivated to repeat the double victory he secured in Germany. Working hard between rounds to improve both his speed and fitness, Steve arrived to Valpacos in confident spirits.
Getting things off to a flying start, Holcombe topped the Friday evening super test. Rolling that momentum into what would prove to be a long and physically demanding day of racing on Saturday, Steve’s position at the top of the classification remained unchanged. Recording six of the fastest times from the day’s 13 special tests, he secured a 23-second margin of victory in the overall EnduroGP category, while also comfortably topping the Enduro 3 class.
On Sunday Holcombe was once again up to speed from the word go. But with the tests developing a favoured line, he wasn’t able to dominate like he had done 24 hours previously. At the end of lap one it was Brad Freeman in tow and up for the win.
A mistake by Holcombe on the second enduro test saw him end in a bush, while Freeman ended it with the race lead. It was an advantage Freeman would hold for the remaining lap three and one Holcombe couldn’t chip away at. Holding firm, Freeman pushed on to win by 13 seconds and take his first EnduroGP victory of the season.
Steve Holcombe: “It’s been good to get back into the swing of things after such a strong start to the championship in Germany. Naturally, it would have been nice to win both days but a first and second is pretty good. Saturday pretty much went to plan, like I hoped it would. With the style of special tests we had this weekend I could see that not too many line options were going to form and so on the opening two laps I really wanted to push hard and capitalise on that.
“I managed to build up a decent lead before the final lap to take the win. I went with the same tactic for Sunday, but to be honest there wasn’t as much of an advantage to be gained – there was really only one fast line. I led lap one, but on the second enduro test I caught a rock with my front wheel and ended up in a bush.
“I did what I could after that, but ultimately, I missed my chance at winning. On a positive, I still gathered good points for the championship and know it was only one mistake that cost me. We’ve round three in Spain next weekend and I’m looking forward to going there with the speed I’m showing.”
Brad Freeman: “I’m over the moon to come away with the EnduroGP win on Sunday, plus two Enduro 1 class victories, it’s amazing to get an overall win like that because Steve is just so strong at the moment. At times I was probably over the limit bringing the fight to him, but it was that type of day.”
The 2019 FIM Enduro World Championship continues with round three in Spain on May 10-12.