It’s time to look back on a tough Hungary-Greece tour, difficult for the riders as well as for the bikes; both were tested by the tricky tests and by the searing heat...
It took more than a year of hard work for Adam HADOBAS and his team to organise the 4th round of the Maxxis FIM EnduroGP World Championship, after 23 years of absence for the series in Hungary. Organisers of many national Enduro events such as the Alpe Adria, the Matra Xtrem Kft club was able to largely fulfill its goals and succeeded in putting on a well thought out event complete with an exhibition village, special tests worthy of a World Championship, and a challenging lap in total... Nearly 15,000 spectators descended on Paradfürdo throughout the weekend to come and support PHILLIPS, NAMBOTIN, HOLCOMBE, GARCIA and others in this corner of Magyar. There is no doubt that the Matra Xtrem club would like to re-live the adventure again and in the future welcome another round of the World Championship.
SPANDRE quits Lunigiana… for Honda RedMoto!
Since the beginning of the season, Mirko SPANDRE (I) has been under the wing of Gianni BELLONI and the Lunigiana team. But a few days before the Maxxis Grand Prix of Hungary, the rider from Costa Volpino in Italy decided it was time to switch things up - and he has joined the Honda RedMoto squad. Perhaps a surprising decision when we know the investment and passion that BELLONI and all his Suzuki team bring to each race. This is the first time that we have seen a "transfer" during the season.
The First KTM TPI in EnduroGP
It's been a few months since the new KTM 250 EXC TPI began to make a buzz around the world. Indeed, this new Austrian injection system is thought to be the future, especially due to its more ‘positive’ effect on the environment... Already representing at some Hard Enduro races, Lars ENÖCKL (A) decided to bring KTM’s new jewel to the Hungarian EnduroGP round. The winner of the 2016 Sea to Sky race works in the Research and Development sector at KTM and was therefore keen to bring the TPI to the Maxxis FIM EnduroGP World Championship... A real breakthrough for Enduro and a great opportunity for the friendly and well-liked Lars!
The Hungarian Show
The Matra Xtrem Kft club made the fourth round of the Maxxis FIM EnduroGP World Championship a true celebration of Enduro, first of all due to the quality of the tests offered to the riders, but also because of the organisation of the extra festivities which accompanied the racing throughout the weekend at this Grand Prix of Hungary. Next to the start ramp and podium there was a small ‘village’ composed of exhibitors and entertainment of all kinds, which attracted a large number of spectators. Enduro fans and interested locals were able to relax and refresh themselves with numerous food stalls and craft products. Throughout the weekend, the organisation also put on stunt shows, log-cutting competitions, a parade of vintage cars and even DJ parties. On Saturday evening, the stuntmen continued their show with an added firework display! In Paradfürdo, the party was full on!
Vasilios SIAFARIKAS (Honda) is not only one of the best Greek riders of recent years, but also one of the main men in the Moto Club Grevena presided over by Yannis SIOULIS... a cheesemaker in his day job; he created the Maxxis Cross Test of this GP of Greece. He also played a leading role in the creation of the other two specials of the weekend like the magnificent Technomousse Xtreme Test. 14th both days in EnduroGP, SIAFARIKAS enjoyed the weekend and hopes to see the Championship return to his homeland as soon as possible...
During this tour, where Mathias BELLINO (F - Husqvarna) made his return from injury, two riders unfortunately joined the infirmary. Indeed, Christophe CHARLIER (F - Husqvarna), already unlucky in Italy, was forced to take some time off. On the first day in Hungary, he fell and fractured his metacarpus. His team manager Andreas HÖLZL wanted to reassure us that we should see CHARLIER again at the GP of Portugal. In FIM 125cc Youth Cup, Alex ISCLA (AND - KTM) was seriously injured following a fall in the Enduro Test. Verdict: he has fractured vertebrae 5 and 6... He required urgent surgery in hospital and we wait to hear more news of him soon. Let’s hope for a speedy recovery for these two riders and a quick return to the EnduroGP paddock.
Eero REMES (SF - TM) has struggled by his standards since the Grand Prix of Italy and his results prove it (8/8/2/3/5/4). The double E1 World Champion sees his two great rivals for the title, Josep GARCIA (E - KTM) and Jamie MCCANNEY (GB - Yamaha) gradually pulling ahead of him in the standings... Many rumours about the cause of REMES’ lacklustre performances began to circulate during these three Grand Prix, and it is TM Team Manager Luca CHERUBINI who tells us the real reason: "Eero has suffered from a blood infection ... There are days when he is very tired and other days where it is better” We hope that the TM rider will return to his best level in Portugal to engage in new epic battles with the young guns of E2!
Of course the Grand Prix Maxxis of Greece has fewer spectators than a GP in Italy, Spain or France but in Greece there are true connoisseurs and fans of the discipline. The Greek spectators show great fervor and kept cheering on every lap for the stars of the discipline... They also appreciate the skill required to run at this level and they applaud and encourage even more when a rider is in difficulty. Steve HOLCOMBE (GB - Beta) told us: "It's very nice to have such a crowd behind us! We feel that the Greeks are real connoisseurs... they all have stars in their eyes when they come to meet us! "
The Most Beautiful Xtreme of the Season?
A year after a GP of Greece made difficult by the climatic conditions (heavy rain), EnduroGP was back in Grevena, for this 5th round. If the riders thought they knew the lie of the land from their 2016 visit, they were wrong, and they found an entirely new course including the Technomousse Xtreme Test which will remain as one of the most beautiful of the season. Located on the edge of the green river Venetikos, it gave a lot of trouble to the riders who had to battle to overcome a 100% natural test with rocky terrain. It must be noted that at the present time it is increasingly difficult to find such beautiful natural Xtremes, especially in the heart of a Natural Park. Hats off to Yannis SIOULIS who managed to create a beautiful course, with this XT the high point, in this idyllic setting considered one of the most beautiful in Greece.