2018 FIM SuperEnduro World Champion
Photo Credit : Future7Media
Photo Credit : Future7Media
Born on 22 April 1999 in Thiene, Italy
THE BEST OF VERONA
Andrea Verona (TM) was deservedly crowned as the FIM Youth Enduro World Champion in 2017 after putting together a sensational run of nine unbeaten days in the 125cc category. Verona started the season with what proved to be a solid sixth place in an opening round in Finland that was dominated by local riders, with Hugo Svärd and Hermanni Haljala (Husqvarna) taking the wins, joined on the podium by compatriots Antti Ahtila (KTM), Roni Kytönen (Husqvarna) and Sweden's Emil Jonsson (KTM).
With only Svärd contesting the remainder of the season on a regular basis, Leo Le Quere (TM) and Ruy Barbosa (Husqvarna) emerged as the most consistent rivals to Verona, the Frenchman and the Chilean taking a second place apiece behind the Italian as he kicked off his winning streak at the second round in Puerto Lumbreras, Spain.
The trio were virtually ever-presents on the podium throughout the rest of the championship, however, neither could match the sheer speed of Verona and the 18-year-old got his first opportunity to wrap up the title at round six in Castelo Branco, Portugal. After taking his ninth consecutive victory on the opening day by some two minutes over Le Quere, the youngster almost lost his grip on the title on day two when he crashed on a special stage, dropping to third place but recovering to take second behind his French rival and secure the championship with two rounds to spare.
World title - 2017
Born on 22 December 1996 in Súria, Spain
DEBUANT GARCIA CLAIMS E2 TITLE
Josep García (KTM) made his name as the next big star of Enduro in 2017, completing a dream first season at senior level as he stormed to the FIM E2 Enduro World Championship title. Despite being unable to ride for a month following a car accident prior to the opening round of the season in Finland, García's talent was obvious from the start as he finished his first ever senior class outing on the podium with a strong second place behind last year's FIM E1 World Champion Eero Remes (TM).
The 20-year-old battled for the remainder of the season with Remes and 2015 FIM Junior Enduro World Champion Jamie McCanney (Yamaha), who took his first win in Hungary, with the Spaniard and the Brit separated by just thirteen points going into the final round in Germany. A crash on Friday night’s Super Test put Garcia on the back foot but the young Spaniard held his composure to claim the runner-up position ahead of McCanney, securing the title with fifth place on the final day despite a fifth victory for his rival.
García was born into a family of bikers – his father and uncle both raced competitively – and he began racing motocross and enduro at the age of seven, going on to compete in Catalan and national championships before making his debut in the MX World Championship. Having raced in Metrakit 80cc championships in 2008, in 2011 the talented youngster again tried his hand at circuit racing, scoring several points finishes during a season in the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup before successfully turning his attention back to the dirt.
World title - 2017
Born on 5 July 1996 in Great Britain
FREEMAN TAKES JUNIOR CROWN
Brad Freeman (Beta) emerged victorious from one of the closest title battles in the Enduro discipline in 2017 as he claimed the FIM Junior Enduro World Championship by just four points from Davide Soreca (Honda). The British youngster missed the first round of the series in Helsinki, where Italy's Soreca finished second to local Finnish wildcard Eemil Pohjola (Husqvarna), but came roaring back to score maximum points at round two in Spain.
After that Soreca was only able to topple Freeman from the top of the podium on one further occasion, on day one of his home round in Spoleto, Italy, whilst Swedish pair Albin Elowson (Husqvarna) and Mikael Persson (Yamaha) also took a day win apiece, as Freeman dominated the remainder of the season and closed to within four points of the championship summit going into the final round in Zschopau, Germany.
With Soreca only managing third on the first day behind Elowson and the victorious Freeman, the battle went down to the very last special tests. However, just when it looked like Freeman had done enough to win, having opened up a healthy lead with just one lap remaining, a rear brake issue during the final enduro and extreme tests saw Soreca close to within five seconds with just the final motocross test remaining. Under extreme pressure, Freeman responded with the second outright fastest time, topping the special test, the day and with it the championship.
World title – 2017
Team manager: Donald Atkins
Riders: Jessica Gardiner, Tayla Jones, Jemma Wilson
AUSSIES ALRIGHT FOR FIVE
The Australian ladies' team continued their domination of the FIM ISDE Women's Trophy with a fifth consecutive success in the 2017 edition held in Brive, France, but not before the USA gave an impressive indication of things to come. The strongest initial challenge to the title holders came from Spain, who were helped by Laia Sanz (KTM) to a forty-two second lead on the opening day. However, the Spaniards' time at the top was short-lived as two of their team riders failed to reach the finish of day two.
Meanwhile Australia topped the second day with a one-minute and eight second gap over the USA to take the overall lead by three-and-a-half minutes, and even with Jessica Gardiner (Yamaha) riding with a broken finger on day three they extended their advantage to almost six minutes. Australia topped the class again on day four to create a seven-minute and fifteen second cushion over the USA, and over the final two days Gardiner, Tayla Jones (Yamaha) and Jemma Wilson (Yamaha) put the finishing touches to a near faultless week to claim a fifth consecutive class victory.
However, they will have taken notice of the performance of their American counterparts, who clinched their first day win on day five and followed up on day six to claim the overall runner-up spot despite all three team members - Kacy Martinez (KTM), Rebecca Sheets (KTM) and Brandy Richards (KTM) - having never competed before at the ISDE. France were third, ahead of Sweden, Italy, Canada, Portugal, Slovakia and Spain.
Team manager: Frédéric Weill
Riders: Jeremy Miroir, Hugo Blanjoue, Anthony Geslin
FRANCE'S STARS OF THE FUTURE
Not to be outdone by their senior class team-mates, France’s FIM Junior World Trophy team also claimed ISDE victory on home soil in Brive, finishing on top of a thrilling two-nation fight to the very end of the final day against Italy. Reigning champions Sweden got their title defence off to the best possible start by topping the opening day some twenty-eight seconds ahead of Italy, but their challenge was effectively over on day two when Mikael Persson (Yamaha) ran into technical issues and failed to finish the day, allowing the USA to take over at the top.
Third on day one and second on day two, the French trio of Jeremy Miroir (Husqvarna), Hugo Blanjoue (Yamaha) and Anthony Geslin (Beta) stepped up on day three, finishing twenty-six seconds ahead of Italy to open up a thirty-nine second lead over their Transalpine neighbours as the USA dropped back to third. With just 0.07 seconds between France and Italy on a close day four, France managed to re-establish a twenty-eight second advantage by the end of day four although there was still no room for error during the final full day of competition, with the USA also just under two-minutes behind the leaders.
Italy went on the offensive during the final day motocross races but France hung on to take the overall win by a slender fifteen seconds, much to the delight of the thousands of spectators who turned out to enjoy the thrilling finale. Italy hung on to the runner-up spot ahead of day-six winners the USA, who rounded out the podium.
Team manager: Frédéric Weill
Riders: Jérémy Tarroux, Loïc Larrieu, Christophe Nambotin, Christophe Charlier
FEARLESS FRENCH TAKE THE CROWN
The 92nd running of the FIM International Six Days Enduro (ISDE) in Brive, France, was a memorable one for the home nation, who took a clear victory in the FIM World Trophy despite being made to sweat through the final two days with Christophe Nambotin (KTM) forced to ride with broken bones in his hand.
Day one of the dramatic event saw defending champions the USA run into immediate trouble, with Thad Duvall (Husqvarna) crashing on the opening special test and badly injuring his left wrist. Along with Chile and Japan the USA were one of three teams who saw one of their riders’ fail to reach the finish of day one, whilst in stark contrast the French celebrated victory despite Loic Larrieu (Yamaha) picking up a one-minute time penalty.
Competing over the exact same course on day two, a French team that also included Jeremy Tarroux (Sherco) and Christophe Charlier (Husqvarna) extended their advantage over Australia to four minutes and nineteen seconds and then had three riders in the top four on day three as they edged further clear. France again dominated day four but their seemingly unstoppable charge to the title was thrown into doubt as Nambotin picked up a serious hand injury, allowing Australia to take a 28-second chunk out of their lead on day five.
With questions over Nambotin's fitness for the final-day motocross races, even a sizeable seven-minute and thirty-two second cushion did not look safe although all four French riders made it to the line without problems, Nambotin producing one of the most hard-fought performances of the event to ensure the home nation took the spoils. Final day victory for Australia secured second place ahead of Finland.
Born on 13 September 1989 in Hollister, USA
HAAKER MAKES IT A DOUBLE
Colton Haaker (Husqvarna) successfully defended the SuperEnduro World Championship title he won for the first time last season after another final-round decider, this time in Albi, France. After placing a strong second overall at the opening round of the season in Poland, Haaker's defining moment of the campaign came at round two in Germany, where he enjoyed a perfect night with three final wins. Third place overall at round three in Spain meant that he arrived in France with an eleven-point cushion over his closest challenger Alfredo Gomez (KTM).
Kicking things off in front of a capacity crowd at the Exhibition Centre of Albi it was Jonny Walker (KTM) who once again secured Superpole, and when the gate dropped in heat one the Brit secured a comfortable victory from Haaker and Gomez. The reversed start for heat two saw Gomez work his way to the front to take the win, but second place for Haaker meant he maintained a small points buffer entering the final heat.
Gomez did all he could to keep his title hopes alive, the Spaniard charging to his second victory of the night to take the overall win, but as Walker cruised to second, Haaker happily crossed the line in third and claimed another FIM World Championship title to take back to the USA.
2 World titles – 2016, 2017
HAAKER SHAKES IT UP IN GRAND FINALE
Colton Haaker (Husqvarna) completed a perfect debut season in the FIM SuperEnduro World Championship at the final round of the series in Madrid, coming out on top of the three-way title showdown with fellow American Cody Webb (KTM) and Great Britain's Jonny Walker (KTM). The Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing rider, whose father John Haaker was an ISDE Gold medallist, started the championship with a fourth overall in Poland but after that he never looked back, finishing on the podium at every round. The last event of the season in Las Rozas started with a third place for Haaker in the opening final, before finishing second to Webb in the second final.
Despite a bad start in the decisive third final, Haaker battled back to the front and went head-to-head with Webb for the win, making a pass on his compatriot on the final lap to secure the title in dramatic fashion. Webb was forced to settle for the runner-up spot in the championship ahead of Walker in third.
World title - 2016