Sam Sunderland will join Daniel Sanders under the GASGAS Factory Racing awning in 2022. Undoubtedly a pair of heavy hitters on the rally scene, having finished third and fourth respectively at the 2021 Dakar Rally, the dynamic duo are ready to chase glory in the upcoming 2022 event in January before taking on the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship.
Norbert Stadlbauer – GASGAS Rally Team Manager
“It’s great to have two very talented riders racing for GASGAS next season. They are at different stages of their careers, yet they both have the talent to win. Sam is very experienced, and his career achievements speak for themselves. He knows everything there is to know about rally and this will help him to succeed in 2022. Daniel only has one full season of rally racing under his belt, but he has picked things up really quickly. He doesn’t have the experience that Sam has but he’s a very quick learner as we have seen in 2021. They’re both fast, motivated, and capable, so we fully expect to see them battling for success at the Dakar and then in the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship next year.”
Former Dakar Rally winner Sam Sunderland needs no introduction. The Brit has dedicated much of his life to the sport of rallying, lifting the Dakar winner’s trophy in 2017. Since then, Sam has been crowned FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Champion in 2019 and continues to fight for that coveted second title at the Dakar. Sunderland was back to his best at the 2021 edition of the event where he remained in contention for victory until the very last day. With a focus on adding another Dakar win to his resume, the Brit has all the tools needed to get the job done.
Sam Sunderland – GASGAS Factory Racing
“It’s super exciting for me to be joining the GASGAS Factory Racing team. It’s a relatively new team but with strong foundations and a lot of expertise behind the program. For sure it’s a new challenge and a new opportunity for me and it gives me a lot of confidence being within similar surroundings, so I can focus on the job at hand. So far, everything has been really positive. I’ve been fortunate enough to have spent some time on the bike recently and I can’t wait to start racing. My goal is to win the Dakar again and claim the first win for GASGAS too, so I’m really motivated and excited for the future. It’s cool to be racing in new colors and I’m looking forward to coming out swinging at the Dakar on the red bike.”
Daniel Sanders strengthens the team for what will only be his second full season of rally racing. Beginning the year with a seriously impressive fourth-place finish at the 2021 Dakar, the Aussie then went on to claim the bronze medal in the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship. Not bad by anyone’s standards, especially for a rookie! We really can’t wait to see what he can do next year with all the experience that he’s gained throughout this season.
Daniel Sanders – GASGAS Factory Racing
“Being able to be one of the faces of GASGAS for another year, especially alongside Sam, is really cool. I’ve just finished up my first full season of racing rally and I’m certainly looking forward to another! It’s not all that long until the Dakar starts and with the world championship coming up pretty soon after that, it’s going to be another busy year. I’ve learned so much in 2021 and I’m excited for the future, the opportunity that I have, and I can’t wait to get started again. Let’s go!”
Both riders are now busy preparing themselves ahead of the 44th edition of the Dakar Rally, which kicks off on January 1, 2022. They’ll then take a short break before gearing up once again for the opening round of the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship, which is scheduled to start sometime in the spring.
Pit Beirer – GASGAS Motorsport Director
“It’s a huge moment for GASGAS to have both Sam and Daniel on the Rally team. What started off as a small project with Laia, and then with Daniel, has now become a much bigger effort. Signing a former Dakar winner in Sam, and having quite possibly the best young talent in rally at the moment in Daniel, really shows a clear statement that the brand is ready to compete for victories and grow its presence further in rally. It’s really exciting for GASGAS to have two great riders that are both capable of winning in 2022 and I wish them both the best of luck for the Dakar Rally and 2022 season.”
Daniel Sanders is fit and raring to go as the 2021 FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship heads to Morocco for the Rallye du Maroc. Covering over 2,600 km, the race is set to pose a real challenge to all riders with its mixture of fast tracks and rolling sand dunes.
Marking the penultimate round of this year’s FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship, the Rallye du Maroc is traditionally one of the last proper tests for teams and riders ahead of the Dakar Rally, held in January. Never having even visited the country before, let alone raced there, Daniel is looking forward to getting back to competition, especially at a desert location like Morocco.
Following his excellent fourth-place finish at the Silk Way Rally – a performance that earned him three stage wins from five stages – Sanders travelled to the United States where he spent the downtime working on his speed and bike fitness.
With the team joining him stateside in September, an intense month of road book training and work on bike set-up then followed. Now, feeling fast and comfortable on his GASGAS RC 450F, Chucky is excited to get back to racing.
“It feels like it’s been a really long time since the last race, and with Silk Way not going the full distance due to the pandemic situation, that was a bit of a strange one too. Even though it was shortened, I had a good time in Russia – it was great to get some stage wins and it showed I definitely have the speed to mix it up front. After that, I flew to America and have been doing a lot of motocross training to maintain my fitness on the bike and keep that intensity you need. After the team arrived in the States, we did a lot of testing over there – plenty of road book training and working to improve the bike. I’m really looking forward to Morocco now, it’s a bit crazy not having so many races, but I’m definitely up for this next one. Hopefully the race should suit me, I’ve never been there before, but I hear it’s always a good race, with a good variety of terrain. I can’t wait to get started.”
Totaling six days, the Rallye du Maroc will ease riders into things with a short Prologue stage on Friday, October 8. The short 10 km sprint will decide the start order for Saturday’s 441 km stage one, that in turn will be followed by a further four stages, all set out in loops from the main bivouac in Zagora. When riders reach the finish on Wednesday, October 13, they will have covered a total of 2,656 km, and raced 1,633 km against the clock. The mixture of fast tracks and dunes should suit Daniel’s skills perfectly, and the young Aussie is definitely keen to get started!
The 2021 Silk Way Rally faced its fair share of challenges this year, with Covid-19 preventing the event from crossing into Mongolia, instead being confined to Siberia, with Austria’s Matthias Walkner (KTM) taking top honours.
Walkner was able to claim the victory from Skyler Howes (Husqvarna) and Franco Caimi (Hero), with Australia’s Daniel Sanders (GasGas) proving a strong competitor but finishing fourth after a slow start couldn’t be offset by a number of stage wins.
First into the stage and enjoying a near five-minute advantage over the second-placed rider, Matthias Walkner still pushed hard through the tight forest tracks.
With navigation less of a factor on the timed special, the experienced Austrian was able to maintain a fast, but safe pace over the demanding terrain. In doing so he finished the day as runner-up and increased his lead in the final event standings to six minutes and 20 seconds.
Combined with his second-place finish at round one of the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship – Rally Kazakhstan – Walkner moves into the lead of the series standings with a 21.5-point advantage over the second-placed rider.
Matthias Walkner – P1
“The final stage here was really nice to ride. It was the same as day two, but instead of making it rougher, it seems the cars and trucks prepared it quite well for us today. I really tried to push at the beginning, because I know the first part of the stage is good for me over the fast pistes. In the forest I thought I might have to ease off a little, but it rode better today, and I was able to push for the whole stage. It’s a shame the rally had to be shortened, but the organizers did a great job of giving us a full event to race. To win the famous tiger trophy here at the Silk Way feels amazing, and with my win here I’m now also leading the championship. I couldn’t have asked for a better result really.”
Aiming to defend his position, yet not wanting to make a costly mistake on the fast tracks of the special, Howes chose the perfect pace over the 110km timed section to ultimately finish fourth on the stage and claim second overall in the final rally standings.
Despite having a technical issue on the previous round of the series that knocked him down the order, his second-place result from the Silk Way Rally elevates Skyler to second overall in the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship.
Skyler Howes – P2
“To get second place and my first podium at a world championship round is amazing. I was hoping for a slightly longer race, and maybe another step higher on the podium, but I can’t tell you how stoked I am to finish as runner-up. Things went well over the whole race and in the end, it came down to just seconds on the final stage. Thankfully, I had a really good ride and was able to defend my position in the standings. The result here moves me up to second in the championship standings, which after my issues in the first round feels amazing. We’ve got a bit of a break now until the next race, but to be in the fight for the championship only gives me more motivation. I definitely can’t wait to get racing again.”
A stellar ride from Franco saw him hold on to his third position in the overall rankings, missing out on the second position by a mere six seconds, after close to 3,100 km of racing over five days.
Franco Caimi – P3
“I don’t have the words to describe how happy I am feeling right now, not just for myself, but also for the team. They have done a fantastic job, and we were able to finish on the podium. We pushed hard during the entire race and in the end, missed the second position by just six seconds. I am really happy with the result, and looking forward to growing with the team. I am sure we can accomplish great things together. I also want to take this opportunity to thank the Hero family and the fans for their support and good wishes.”
The fifth and final day of racing at the Silk Way Rally saw riders line-up for a re-run of stage two, the very same stage that Daniel claimed victory on just days ago.
Entering the stage with the sole focus of making up time, Sanders was never headed as he reached each waypoint as the fastest rider, taking his third stage win from five starts at the shortened event. With two rounds of the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship now complete, Daniel moves up to third in the provisional standings, although Walkner holds a significant lead.
Daniel Sanders – P4
“I pushed really hard today to try and get onto the overall podium, but it wasn’t quite enough. I left everything out there and did everything I could to make time up on the riders ahead, but it was a short stage and there wasn’t much to separate us all today. I learned a lot this week, I felt great on the bike, and I know I have the speed so it’s all positive. When we get home from here my main focus will be on improving my navigation as this is where I feel I’m lacking a little bit. But overall, a pretty decent week for me and the team.”
Buhler also had a good rally and his consistency got him the fifth position in the overall standings. Joaquim had difficult times and luck during some stages and this cost him time and positions. Yet, he recovered well to complete the rally in the top 10.
Sebastian Buhler – P5
“Today was the same stage as SS2, so it was nice to ride at a good speed without too much navigation. The rally was shorter than what we were expecting, due to the situation in Mongolia, but the organisers did their best and we were able to complete the rally. Overall, it was a positive race and I felt good on the bike. I was gaining confidence to push harder each day and the team also did a good job. Thanks also to our fans all around the world for their support.”
Bringing his time at the Silk Way Rally to a positive end, Adrien Van Beveren finished stage five as the seventh fastest rider through the shortened special.
Completing the stage just over one minute adrift of the third-place rider, it was a strong performance from Adrien despite the terrain not quite being to the Frenchman’s liking. Overall, Van Beveren placed sixth in the final classification.
Adrien Van Beveren – P6
“I enjoyed today’s stage, both with the terrain and also my riding. There wasn’t so much navigation today and it was something different to be riding fast through the woods. It was fun and I felt relaxed on the bike, which is something that I’ve been searching for this week. It’s been good to end with a positive ride. Because of the change to the schedule we didn’t go to Mongolia which is unfortunate, however, for me it was good to challenge myself on terrain that I’m not so comfortable on. This will make me a better rally rider so even if the result was not my best, I learned a lot this week with my riding and also the bike. Overall, it has been a positive experience for me at the Silk Way, it was great to be racing again, and I’m happy to have completed this rally.”
2021 Pro Motocross Championship
Round 4 – Twisted Tea RedBud National
Following its second break of the 2021 season the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing, returned to action for its Fourth of July tradition with the annual Twisted Tea RedBud National.
The fourth round of the season saw a massive crowd line the fences in their red, white, and blue for America’s Independence Day holiday and were treated to an afternoon of perfect weather.
Monster Energy/Star/Yamaha Racing’s Dylan Ferrandis continued his impressive season by leading the way in the 450 Class for his third victory of the season.
In the 250 Class, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s RJ Hampshire demonstrated incredible speed all day en route to his third career win.
As the gate dropped on the opening 450 Class moto, Monster Energy/Star/Yamaha Racing’s Aaron Plessinger prevailed with the Motosport.com Holeshot ahead of Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Cooper Webb and Team Honda HRC’s Ken Roczen. A quick pass by Webb in the second turn allowed him to steal the lead from Plessinger who retaliated to retake the lead just turns later. It was Plessinger, Roczen, and Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Adam Cianciarulo at the completion of the opening lap. Championship point leader Ferrandis was sixth at the start.
As the moto surpassed the 10-minute mark, Roczen started to close on Plessinger for the lead, eventually making the pass stick as Plessinger slid back to second. As Cianciarulo continued his charge in third, he would soon find himself under pressure from Ferrandis who was turning the fastest lap times of the race.
Ferrandis was relentless in his push to the front and made the move on Cianciarulo just before the halfway point of the moto. The battle for the lead began to tighten up as Plessinger closed in on Roczen while his teammate Ferrandis closed in on them both with 10-minutes remaining. The Star Racing Yamaha teammates pulled alongside each other several times before Ferrandis took possession of second with a pass on Plessinger through the sand rollers.
Ferrandis’ charge to the front could not be stopped as he struck on his championship rival Roczen to take the lead with just three laps remaining. The Frenchman would hold on to claim his second moto win of the season with 2.9 seconds to spare on Roczen. After leading early, Plessinger would finish third.
450 Moto 2
The deciding 450 Class moto kicked off with Plessinger launching out of the gate to sweep the Motosport.com Holeshots by edging out the Monster Energy Kawasaki duo of Eli Tomac and Cianciarulo, followed by Roczen and Ferrandis. Cianciarulo would lose the front end coming downhill on the opening lap and be forced to rejoin near the tail end of the field as Plessinger, Tomac, Roczen, and Ferrandis led the way on the opening lap.
The deciding 450 Class moto kicked off 450 Moto 2with Plessinger launching out of the gate to sweep the Motosport.com Holeshots by edging out the Monster Energy Kawasaki duo of Eli Tomac and Cianciarulo, followed by Roczen and Ferrandis. Cianciarulo would lose the front end coming downhill on the opening lap and be forced to rejoin near the tail end of the field as Plessinger, Tomac, Roczen, and Ferrandis led the way on the opening lap.
The battle immediately intensified up front as Tomac made quick work of Plessinger to take the number one position from Plessinger. Just behind the leaders, Roczen and Ferrandis matched one another’s pace in an effort for valuable championship points and to keep the leaders in sight. Roczen made a costly mistake that saw him go down hard, but he was able to dust himself off and remount in sixth.
Up front, Tomac and Plessinger were separated by no more than two seconds for the majority of the race as they took turns on clocking the better lap times.
With the race winding down, the battle for second began to heat up as Ferrandis closed in on his teammate Plessinger. He would use an excellent drive through the sand rollers to take second and set his sights on the race leader Tomac. As the crowd cheered them on, Tomac held on to take his second moto win of the season by just 1.5 seconds over Ferrandis. A distant third would go to Plessinger, while Roczen recovered for sixth.
It was Ferrandis who’s hard charging and consistency would give him the overall victory (1-2). Tomac earned his second consecutive podium of the season in season (4-1), while Plessinger completed the podium with an impressive 3-3 moto scores on the day. Roczen’s 6-2 was good enough for fourth. A jump during the red cross flag in Moto 1 resulted in Ferrandis being docked a single point and Roczen two points, however, the overall finishes remained the same.
“I gave it everything and it was a big fight today, I charged really hard at the end of the motos. I wanted to win the second moto, but Eli [Tomac] was riding really good. I dreamed of winning here at RedBud and thanks to the fans for cheering loud for us all day. It’s been a good start to the season and I’m really looking forward to keep working hard so we can stay up front the rest of the season.”
With the win Ferrandis was able to extend his lead in the championship standings to 14-points over Roczen who lost crucial points in the second moto. Plessinger sits third, 36-points out of the lead.
“I was excited coming into RedBud for Fourth of July; it’s always a special race and the fans always go wild. We had a pretty decent couple of qualifying sessions. I ended up going fifth to the gate, which was totally fine; I felt pretty good on the track and was ready for the moto. In the first moto, I think I was third after the start and just kind of worked my way up there into second right away and made a move on [Aaron] Plessinger and was leading most of the race until about two laps to go. I kind of lost my rhythm a little bit. The track is really hard-packed underneath and soft on top, so it was really tricky to ride. It just wasn’t really my best performance, but at the same time I was okay with the second place. I got passed there with a couple of laps to go and tried to hang on behind [Dylan] Ferrandis and tried to make a pass back, but it just wasn’t enough. I was looking forward to the second moto. Moto 2 was kind of like when everything came undone. I was battling really hard to get to the front. I was in third and [Eli] Tomac was leading and Plessinger was second. I made my way past Ferrandis and just sat in third for a while trying to see what the race gave me. I had a bad case on [LaRocco’s] Leap, as Plessinger’s roost slowed me down so much. I hurt my wrist a little bit, but then a couple laps later I fell right after the leap. I tucked the front end, had a pretty big get-off, and my bars were a little bent. I’m glad I was able to finish at least in sixth and minimize the points damage. We’re healthy leaving RedBud and I’m just looking forward to prepping for next weekend’s race.”
250 Moto 1
When the gate dropped for the first 250 Class moto of the day it was Monster Energy/Star/Yamaha Racing’s Justin Cooper who emerged with the Motosport.com holeshot just ahead of the Team Honda HRC duo of Jett and Hunter Lawrence, Monster Energy/Star/Yamaha Racing’s Jeremy Martin and Hampshire.
As they crossed the finish on the opening lap, Cooper lost traction going up the face of the finish line and crashed out of the lead. Cooper’s mistake allowed a hard charging Hampshire to inherit the lead over the Lawrence brothers and Martin. Cooper would remount in 10th.
Hampshire pushed the pace out front with Jett Lawrence in tow and the duo began to slowly distance themselves from the train of riders behind them. As Jett Lawrence applied the pressure, Hampshire crashed out of the lead, but was able to restart quickly in second. Hunter Lawrence remained a distant third.
With the race closing in on the halfway point of the 30-minute-plus-two-lap moto, Hampshire started to inch back onto the rear wheel of Jett Lawrence and searched for a way around. Hampshire would once again lose the front end of his motorcycle and find himself on the ground while contending for the race lead. Hunter Lawrence took full advantage of Hampshire’s mistake to move into second, while Hampshire remounted in third.
As Jett Lawrence continued to control the race out front, Hunter Lawrence and Hampshire started to gain momentum and slowly reduce the gap to the race leader. With three laps to go, Hampshire muscled his way around Hunter Lawrence for second and began to set his sights on the race leader Jett Lawrence but Jett held on to take the checkered flag for his third moto win of the season by 2.2 seconds over Hampshire. Hunter Lawrence finished third, just ahead of Cooper who recovered for fourth.
250 Moto 2
The final 250 Class moto of the afternoon saw Cooper capture his second Motosport.com Holeshot of the day, just ahead of his teammate Martin and first moto runner-up finisher Hampshire. The Lawrence brothers found themselves mired deep in the pack as Hunter was scored 11th and Jett 18th at the completion of the opening lap.
As the lead trio went to work with a clear track out front, Jett Lawrence put his head down in an attempt to do damage control, however, a costly mistake would see him make contact with another rider and go down, losing valuable time as he remounted outside the top-30.
Out front, Hampshire began to find his momentum as he moved Cooper to within striking distance for the race lead, using every inch of the track to find a way past. At the 15-minute mark, Hampshire would get a drive and out drag race Cooper to become the new race leader.
Just as Hampshire looked to have the race under control he would yet again find himself picking himself up off the ground as he surrendered the lead to Cooper in the late stages of the moto. Cooper emerged with his second moto win of the season by 12.9 seconds over Hampshire. Martin finished third in an impressive return from injury, followed by Hunter Lawrence in fourth. An inspiring ride by Jett Lawrence netted him sixth.
By virtue of 2-2 finishes Hampshire prevailed for his first win of the season and won the RedBud National for the second consecutive year. Cooper’s second moto win earned him second overall (4-1) as Jett Lawrence completed the podium in third (1-6), followed by his brother Hunter in fourth (3-4).
“This win just feels so good after everything I’ve gone through lately,” said Hampshire. “As you can hear, I’ve been super sick all week, so to be up here today is a bit emotional. I give it my all everytime I’m on the track, and it would have been great to get those moto wins today, but to win here at RedBud for the second year in a row is an amazing feeling. The speed has been really good lately and I’m looking forward to some of my favorite tracks coming up on the schedule.”
Jett Lawrence maintains his hold of the championship point lead by eight over Cooper who reduced the gap by three on the day. Hunter Lawrence remains third, 44-points out of the championship lead.
“The bike setting in the first moto wasn’t good. I had RJ [Hampshire] charging, and if he got me, I didn’t really have any ammo to fight back. Between motos, my team did a great job making some adjustments that made the bike work better for me, but I just didn’t give myself a very good chance for winning or even getting myself into a good position. I came from 37th to sixth, so I think that’s pretty good. I definitely made a lot of passes, maybe the most passes of the day. I think if you look at the result it sucks because I lost three points, but you have to look at the positives; it was a strong ride, and I felt like there’s not many other people in this class that could do that.”
“My weekend wasn’t bad; it wasn’t great, but we’ll take it. We went 3-4 moto scores for fourth overall. I missed out on the box by two points. That second moto I was in a ‘do or die’ position to catch J-Mart [Jeremy Martin] and make that pass. I was pushing to make up a lot of ground on him, coming from a pretty bad start, so I was ‘damned if I did, damned if I didn’t’; I had to risk it and push. I ended up laying it down and got back up, managing to finish in a position where I was chasing down fourth. All in all, I’m really happy with how the team worked together to make changes on the bike for the second moto, which benefited us a lot. It maybe wasn’t a moto-score result, but as far as my feeling on the bike, and everything else, we left better than what we started in the first moto, so I’m happy with that. RedBud was awesome. That was my first proper Fourth of July RedBud experience, so it was pretty cool. I also checked something else off my bucket list; I really wanted to scream ‘RedBuuuuud’ into the microphone. I hadn’t been able to do that until today, so that was cool.”
In 2021 Montova, Italy will play host to the year’s edition of the Monster Energy FIM Motocross of Nations (MXoN). Commencing on 26th September, Motorcycling Australia (MA) has called for all interested competitors to submit their applications to join Team Australia.
There are three classes available for riders to nominate for: MX1, MX2 and Open. Riders are advised that they can nominate for more than one class. Applications must be submitted by no later than COB Friday 16th July.
The Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Team have confirmed that reigning 450MX Champion Zach Osborne will miss the remainder of the 2021 AMA Pro Motocross Championship in order to fully recover from an ongoing back injury.
Osborne, who sustained the back injury mid-way through the 2021 AMA Supercross Championship, worked hard to get himself ready for the opening round of the outdoor season but he unfortunately re-injured himself at the second round in Colorado. Upon further review with the team, Osborne made the tough decision to sit out the rest of the season to fully recover for 2022.
“I’m bummed to say the least. This injury has been a big setback with no clear path to 100% but I feel I’m on a good path now and I just need to give my body the time to heal itself. Myself, along with the team, made the decision to pull the plug and be ready for 2022. It was a tough decision in an already-trying year but I believe I can be back to 2020 form with this time away to heal up. Thanks to my team and fans for the support through this!”
The Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Team will return to racing this Saturday, June 19 in Mt. Morris, Pennsylvania.
Sherco hotshot Jonte Reynders has completed an ideal build-up for the 2021 Hattah Desert Race by dominating the latest round of the Tasmanian enduro series at Bakers Beach, north-east of Launceston, on July 19.
The 24-year-old was a class above on his Pirelli Motul Sherco Racing Team 300 SE Factory two-stroke, easily winning the three-hour event ahead of great rivals Kyron Bacon and Seton Broomhall – even after an extra fuel stop!
“I’m rapt with the result on a circuit that was quite difficult, but I made it a little hard for myself – just when I had a decent lead I made a silly mistake of refuelling when I didn’t need to. So I topped up the 300 Factory three times instead of two, which obviously cost me a fair bit of time. But I was able to regroup and take a strong win to extend my lead in the series.”
Five rounds remain in the state title, but Reynders’ focus will now switch to the mainland for the Hattah Desert from July 2-4 where he will be one of the favourites in the open two-stroke class.
He’ll have some exalted guest company in the Pirelli Motul Sherco Racing Team: Ben Grabham – fresh from his two-stroke-winning heroics at the 2021 Finke Desert Race – on a 450 SEF Factory and Justin Carafa on a 500 SEF Factory.
Nathan Trigg, who lives just up the road from the Hattah epicentre at Ouyen, will also be looking to bounce back from his knee-twisting prologue crash at Finke, which put him out of the main game. Trigg rides a Mallee Motorcycles-backed 450 SEF Factory.
The circuit is 37km long, with the senior riders to complete eight laps.
Daniel Sanders and GasGas ready for Silk Way Rally 2021
The 11th edition of the Silk Way Rally will get underway in less than one month. Setting off from Omsk (Russia), the second town of the Urals, on 1 July, the race will feature 10 varied and technical stages. Crossing Siberia before traversing Mongolia from West to East, the event passes through the famous Gobi Desert before reaching Ulaanbaatar on 11 July.
A total of 5250 km, of which more than 2850 are against the clock, offering the perfect mix of technical difficulty, variety and scenic beauty. From the Altai Mountains to the capital of Mongolia via the Gobi Desert and the endless Mongolian steppes, the 2021 edition of the Silk Way Rally will be quite simply exceptional.
Two years after Sam Sunderland (KTM) in the bikes, who will be the new white tigers to go down in the Silk Way Rally history books at the end of this incredible journey in the land of Genghis Khan?
For its second edition with a bike category, the Silk Way Rally 2021 has once again attracted the major factory teams on what is one of the highlights of the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship. This second round will benefit from a 1.5 coefficient thanks to its status as a marathon event with over six days of racing.
The titleholder, the British rider Sam Sunderland, Dakar winner in 2017, will defend the colours of Red Bull Ktm Factory Racing alongside his Austrian teammate Matthias Walkner.
Their sister team Rockstar Husqvarna Factory Racing will enter the Argentinian Luciano Benavides and their latest recruit, the American Skyler Howes, one of the revelations of the last Dakar.
Another rider to make a splash in Saudi Arabia with his fourth place, the Australian Daniel Sanders will have the honour of flying the flag for GasGas Factory Racing.
Over at the Monster Yamaha Rallye Team, the Frenchman Adrien Van Beveren will be accompanied by another recent revelation, the Botswanan Ross Branch and ex-Supercross Champion, the American Andrew Short.
The Hero Motorsports team will be pinning their hopes on an eclectic trio of Portuguese rider Joaquim Rodriguez, the Argentinian Franco Caimi and the young German Sebastian Bühler.
The quad category is also back on this 11th Silk Way Rally and promises us a splendid duel between the ever young, five times world champion and ex-Dakar winner, the Pole Rafal Sonic and the Russian Alexander Maksimov, both riding Yamaha Raptor 700s.
Herlings on form at Arnhem International
Jeffrey Herlings took the two moto wins over the weekend at the Arnhem International in Holland to claim the overall from Brian Bogers and Max Nagle, with Cyril Genot finishing fourth overall, just over the podium.
The event served as training for Herlings, between GP events, who admits he’s still working on his starts, with an aim to do better than in Russia.
“I really enjoyed myself and it was a good training for the GP. Starts have to be better, but I can get a podium, and I will try and do better than I did in Russia.”
Herlings brought home 40-championship points in the MXGP opener last weekend, after finishing 4-2, and sits second overall in the standings, behind Tim Gajser, who won both races.
Dylan Ferrandis tops High Point ProMX
Images by Jeff Kardas
Following its first break of the 2021 season the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship returned to action with its East Coast debut from legendary High Point Raceway. The third round of the summer campaign marked the sport’s return to the famed Pennsylvania venue for the first time since 2019 with the GEICO Motorcycle High Point National, where the threat of rain loomed over the afternoon but never really materialised.
In the 450 Class a hard-fought, consistent afternoon was enough to put Dylan Ferrandis atop the podium for the second time this season. In the 250 Class, Jalek Swoll extended the parity in the division and broke through with his first professional victory as Jett Lawrence increased his lead in the 250 Championship.
Light precipitation was present when the gate dropped on the opening 450 Class moto, where Adam Cianciarulo prevailed with the MotoSport.com Holeshot ahead of Chase Sexton and Christian Craig, who soon gave up the position to Ken Roczen, the championship leader. As Cianciarulo sprinted out to an early lead the Honda teammates engaged in a battle for second place.
As the moto surpassed the 10-minute mark, the lead trio solidified their hold on those positions as Ferrandis gave chase from fourth. As the minutes continued to tick away the distance between the top three continued to shrink. Sexton soon closed in to within a couple bike lengths of Cianciarulo, but a mistake by Sexton not only caused the Honda rider to lose some ground, it forced Roczen into a mistake when he briefly went down and gave up third to Ferrandis.
With the threat defended, Cianciarulo gradually built a multi-second advantage over Sexton, who in turn built a comfortable margin over Ferrandis. As time ran out on the moto clock with just over three laps to go, Sexton tucked the front of his Honda and went down. As he looked to remount, both Ferrandis and Roczen were able to get by, which placed Sexton in fourth when he resumed.
Out front, Cianciarulo looked to close out his first moto win of the season with ease but was dealt with one last obstacle as a slower rider went down exiting the final corner. With nowhere to go, Cianciarulo ran over the downed motorcycle and fell over.
He kept his Kawasaki running, got up, and pushed his bike across the finish line to win in unconventional fashion. Ferrandis followed five seconds behind in second as Roczen rounded out the podium in third. Sexton recovered to finish fourth as Aaron Plessinger completed the top five.
450 Moto 2
The deciding 450 Class moto kicked off as Justin Barcia emerged with the MotoSport.com Holeshot out of a gaggle of bikes. He was quickly passed by Plessinger for the early lead, while Eli Tomac and Cianciarulo followed through.
Cianciarulo put the hammer down and made an aggressive push that carried him all the way around Plessinger and into the lead. He continued to ramp up the pace and established a multi-second advantage after just two laps. Behind him, Tomac’s first opportunity to run at the front of the field in 2021 saw him surge around Plessinger into second to put the Kawasaki riders at the top of the running order.
As the battle up front took shape the class’ title contenders made moves as well, as Ferrandis worked his way from fourth and Roczen from sixth. Both riders were urgent in their push and successfully moved into third and fourth, respectively. By the time they finished their early charge, the Kawasaki teammates were more than five seconds ahead. From there, Ferrandis and Roczen went head-to-head for third and traded the position before Ferrandis got the upper hand and asserted control of the spot.
Up front, Tomac closed onto Cianciarulo’s rear fender and a battle for the lead ensued. Tomac was able to get by, but Cianciarulo fought back and reclaimed the position. However, Tomac didn’t give up and kept the pressure on. The two came together, which pushed Cianciarulo out of a rut and allowed Tomac to move into the lead for the first time this season.
Once out front Tomac started to build an advantage over his teammate and was soon in control of the moto. As the moto surpassed the 20-minute mark Cianciarulo found himself under pressure from Ferrandis and Roczen in third and fourth. All three riders then duked it out for second and used every inch of the track in search of an advantage.
As the crowd cheered them on, both Ferrandis and Roczen bullied their way around Cianciarulo, who dropped from second to fourth. That thrilling sequence also changed the battle in the overall classification, as Ferrandis moved into control of the afternoon.
For Tomac it was a dominant ride indicative of his three-year championship run. He stormed to his first moto win of the season by 3.2 seconds over Ferrandis, who was able to fend off Roczen for the entirety of the moto.
Although he missed out on a moto win, Ferrandis’ consistency was enough to vault him to the second overall victory of the season and his career via 2-2 moto finishes. Cianciarulo’s drop off the podium in the final moto relegated him to the runner-up spot by a single point (1-4), while Tomac made his first appearance on the podium this summer in third (6-1), which bumped Roczen (3-3) off the podium via tie-breaker.
Dylan Ferrandis – P1
“What a race. I don’t know (what to say), I got a good start and was able to get by Ken (Roczen), which was good because he was so fast today. It was a war (after that). Ken kept pushing me and we were able to come to Adam (Cianciarulo). It was crazy how competitive it was with them. We were going so fast and the track was so difficult. It’s just amazing to get a win here today and get a hold of the red plate again.”
Adam Cianciarulo – P2
“It sure feels good to get that first moto win under my belt. I thought I had a decent sized gap in the second moto, but Eli was flying and caught me a bit off-guard. Fair play to him and the others, they rode amazing. I’m stoked with how awesome my bike has been feeling lately. I honestly believe with a little more endurance, I can be a regular winner this season. Thanks to everyone at Monster Energy Kawasaki for giving me a great bike to ride and always supporting me. We have another break coming up, but I’m ready to build off of this and get back to racing.”
Eli Tomac – P3
“This was a big one for us. I’ve been in a bit of slump these last two races, so to get a win and feel like myself on the bike again is huge. After I got off the gate in Moto 2 and saw I had a good jump, I knew it was going to be a good moto. I was able to catch Adam rather quickly and once I was in the clean air, I rode my own race and started pulling away. This was an exciting race, and I can’t wait to keep this momentum rolling into RedBud. Thanks again to the entire Monster Energy Kawasaki squad for all the hard work this weekend.”
Ken Roczen – P4
“Today started off really good. I felt comfortable on the track, but we had a slightly different bike setup so in the first moto it really beat me up. I wasn’t that comfortable out there so I really couldn’t do that much. I still rode okay, but it wasn’t the best and I ended up third. In the second moto I was pinched off and had a really bad start. We did some adjustments to the bike that helped me out and I charged forward hard in the first half of the race and ended up having a good battle with Dylan [Ferrandis]. I ended up with another third place for fourth overall, which is kind of weird, but in the end, I’m okay with it because we rode really well and charged hard. That’s all we can do.”
Aaron Plessinger – P6
“This weekend had some ups and downs. I was really happy with my riding in the first moto. I got a really bad start but had a really good flow going and came back to fifth place. I went into the second moto really confident and got an awesome start, but I couldn’t really find that flow that I had in the first moto, and I dropped back to eighth. The track was really tough. There were some spots that were dry and some spots that were soft. So it was definitely weird, but we have a weekend off and will get back to work and get ready for RedBud!”
Justin Barcia – P7
“It was a little bit of a tough day. I just didn’t jive with the track that much and I never felt super comfortable. I think we’ll go back to California and work on a few things and try to be a lot better for RedBud in two weeks. All we can do is keep level-headed and be better for the next race.”
Marvin Musquin – P8
“In the first moto, the start was decent but the riding was not good enough and the feeling was not good enough so we decided to go back to some old settings on the shock and it shows, it was definitely better in the second moto. I didn’t get a good start but I was able to fight back, attack and race hard to come back to seventh place, so that was a lot better. Overall, I’m obviously not happy because we’ve been working hard and it didn’t pay off for this weekend, so we need to keep going.”
Cooper Webb – P10
“It was a bit of a struggle today. I felt like I put up a good fight in the first moto and ended up seventh. In the second moto, I got tangled on the start and I ended up crashing three times coming through the pack, so that was pretty unfortunate. Now we’ve got a weekend off and all we can do is try to improve.”
Christian Craig – P11
“I didn’t have the best day at High Point. I seemed to struggle to find good lines and had a couple of crashes, but I was able to get through with some points. We’re going to go back to work and look forward to a better RedBud.”
With the win Ferrandis also reclaimed control of the red plate as 450 Class point leader for the second time this season. He currently has a slim three-point advantage over Roczen, while Plessinger, who finished sixth on the afternoon (5-8) maintained his hold on third, 30 points out of the lead.
GASGAS have announced that Daniel Sanders will chase rally glory in 2021, starting with the upcoming Rally Kazakhstan, as an official GASGAS Factory backed entrant.
Undoubtedly one of the hottest prospects in rally racing, Sanders will compete in the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship before taking on the big one, the Dakar Rally next January.
More than capable of putting himself and our RC 450F rally bike at the top of the timing sheets, the young Aussie is hugely excited to be racing for GASGAS Factory Racing in 2021.
Daniel Sanders – GASGAS Factory Racing
“Being the face of GASGAS in rally is really cool. I’ve not been in rally that long so to be picked up and put on a factory team this early in my career is awesome. I’m so looking forward to racing this year as part of this team. It’s been such a long time since the Dakar and with the world championship coming up really soon, I just can’t wait to be competing again. I’m excited for the future, the opportunity that I have, and it’s going to be a great year of racing. Let’s go!”
As a former ISDE winner, Sanders clearly has the skills needed to compete at the highest level on two wheels, something he made perfectly clear at the 2021 Dakar. Rocketing to a seriously impressive fourth overall and finishing as best rookie, make no mistake, Daniel has arrived on the rally scene, and we can’t wait to see what he can do in 2021 and beyond.
Pit Beirer – GASGAS Motorsport Director
“It’s a huge moment for GASGAS to welcome Daniel to the team. I believe we’ve signed the best young talent in rally at the moment, and it really shows a clear statement that the brand is ready to challenge the established stars and grow its presence even further in rally. It’s really exciting for GASGAS to have a rider that’s so full of energy and after such a bright start to his rally career, the upcoming season is shaping up to be really good for him and for GASGAS Motorcycles.”
With Sanders recently completing his final preparations ahead of the 2021 FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship, the 26-year-old is now just days away from making his GASGAS debut, at Rally Kazakhstan. Following the six-round series, which concludes in November, it’s then onto the big one – the Dakar Rally – in January 2022.
Jordi Viladoms – GASGAS Rally Team Manager
“It’s great to have such a talented, young rider racing for GASGAS this season. Daniel is very new to rally and very inexperienced compared to his rivals, but he has picked it up really quickly. He is a very quick learner as we saw at the Dakar earlier this year. Placing fourth in your first Dakar does not come from luck, it comes from hard work, preparation, and ability to overcome all the challenges that only the Dakar can provide. Daniel is fast, motivated and very capable so we expect to see him battling for success in this year’s FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship and then it’s onto the Dakar next year.”
Tim Coleman has conquered the 11th running of the Wildwood Rock Extreme Enduro in a new knockout format, specifically designed to meet Covid19 rules and restrictions.
The 2020 format was a new creation and riders had to work hard with a ruthless sprint format this year. With no rest between objects, arm pump was the main factor for rider error, particularly after a tough year with the lack of opportunity for many to train. The event was almost called off, however the limited number of allowed riders was very close to full, with racers keen to get back out there.
Each class had two heats on a longer course (1.5km) involving the well known prologue area and an added natural terrain section that provided further challenges. Riders could not afford to drop any time in either heats with times being combined and the fastest four moving into the final.
The final format was the man-made area or prologue course as it’s known bye many, with two laps providing some great chopping and changing in all classes to decide outright winners in each class.
Riding for the Motul Pirelli Sherco Off-Road Team Tim Coleman was here to impress, taking out the Gold Class win with a total time of 5m44s with clean wins in both heats leading up to the final. Callum Ceglinski put in a solid second, with the desert king Ben Grabham in third, making it a Sherco 1-2-3 finish.
“Wildwood was my first Hard Enduro and I’d never taken home the win, so it’s something I’ve really wanted to tick off my racing bucket-list. The field may have been slightly depleted, but there was still great competition there and I had to really have a crack to bring home the win. The new 2021 Sherco 300 SE Factory feels great honestly. It’s just so good for this type of racing, and having the full support of the Sherco Factory Team made a big difference on the day. I’m already excited for next year’s event.”
Silver class was won by Billy McCulloch (7m14s), ahead of Ian Derwent and Max Koczak. Bronze class was won by Ash Green, (10m02s), ahead of Michael Chapman and Nathan Xerri.
Being the first post-COVID Extreme Enduro to be held in Australia was a tough challenge and was only approved with easing of the rules one week before the event, as motorcycle riding was not deemed as a professional sport prior.
Under the changed guidelines Wildwood could operate with a total of 500 people in groups of 50, but keeping to the Covid19 Event checklist it was decided to not host any spectators for the event and instead live stream the event to the people at home.
Wildwood would normally operate over three hours with each rider doing a individual timed section of the course. In the 2020 edition it was a total different feel with riders parked apart and grouped in 20s to not over crowd the course with people. With further changes seen, each rider was able to bring one support person on the day to help them if needed. Temperature checks done on every person attending the event added yet another new twist to Wildwood.
With no injuries to any riders and most bikes going home with few battle scares the event was seen as a great success from all angles, particularly considering it was so close to being called off, after changing the date to the 29th of November.
The 2021 event date has been set for November 7, 2020, as part of the National Grassroots Hard Enduro Championship. Click the result images below for zoomed in view.
2020 Wildwood Rock Extreme Gold Class Results
2020 Wildwood Rock Extreme Silver Class Results
2020 Wildwood Rock Extreme Bronze Class Results
Price & Sanders ramp up Dakar prep
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Toby Price, Matthias Walkner and Sam Sunderland are beginning the final stages of their pre-Dakar Rally testing, as they ramp up preparations ahead of the iconic event’s start on January 2. Joined by KTM Factory Racing’s Daniel Sanders, who enters the upcoming Dakar as part of KTM’s junior rally program, the four KTM 450 Rally mounted riders are hard at work in Dubai as they count down the days to the gruelling 12-stage race.
With the 2021 Dakar Rally now just one month away, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing have their sights firmly set on battling for the number one position at the world’s toughest cross-country rally. In what has been a hugely disrupted year, which saw the team make only one competitive outing following the 2020 Dakar, Toby Price, Matthias Walkner and Sam Sunderland are all fully fit and keen to get racing at the 43rd edition of the event.
Looking for his third Dakar title, Toby Price will go into the race armed with the experience gained from the 2020 event and aiming to secure another strong result. Like all riders this year, Toby was forced to spend more time off the bike than he would have liked. However, after travelling to Europe towards the end of the summer, the Australian has committed to an intense schedule of training and preparation on the run up to Dakar and will remain in the Middle East testing on his KTM 450 Rally, in preparation for the challenge awaiting him.
“Obviously, it’s been a really tough year for everyone. With all the restrictions, we’ve not been able to race like we normally would. We’ve only managed to fit in one rally since the Dakar in January, which was great, but I think everyone is looking forward to getting back to some serious racing now. For me, I pretty much had to leave home for the last three months and won’t be heading back to Australia until after Dakar. My base is now in Dubai and I’ll spend Christmas there on the run up to the event. It’s great that we can get out into the dunes for testing but it’s still a big sacrifice to make, missing out on the regular family time over the holidays. For the last couple of months, the team have been testing hard, things have been going well and there’s certainly nothing better to build your fitness than time on the bike. We’ve been able to try out a lot of new things and I’m really happy with how the bike feels. At the end of the day, I know the KTM 450 RALLY is going to get me to the finish, the rest is up to me!”
2018 Dakar winner Matthias Walkner prides himself on his navigational skills and with the 2021 event promising a more technically demanding route, this should fall into the Austrian’s favor. Happy with recent improvements made to his KTM 450 Rally, Matthias feels he is on form both physically and mentally and is looking forward to another solid race in the desert.
Also back at full fitness, Sam Sunderland is known for his speed in the dunes and with the 2021 Dakar Rally expected to contain more deep sand than seen in this year’s event, Sam is confident of making the most of his skills.
Facing his first ever Dakar, KTM Factory Racing’s Daniel Sanders comes into the demanding race with only one cross-country rally under his belt. Joining the team in September, Sanders has endured an intense period of testing and training to get him up to speed with the skills required for success in the sport. Racing the Andalucia Rally just weeks after throwing his leg over a KTM 450 Rally for the first time, the 26-year-old put in an excellent performance including a win on the final stage. The Dakar is far more demanding however, but the young Australian racer knows the magnitude of the challenge ahead.
“The year has been a crazy one for me for more reasons than one. When I got the call to come ride for the team it was really cool. I flew over to Europe with Toby and I think I’ve spent about five months here testing and learning the skills needed for rally racing. We raced the Andalucia Rally back in October, which was a real eye opener, but other than a couple of mistakes, I was really pleased with my pace and my navigation. Winning the final stage was great but I’m realistic about the Dakar – I know it’s another level completely. Testing has been going really well – every day I spend on the bike I feel more comfortable. I couldn’t wish for better people around me either, all three of the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing guys have won a Dakar – Toby has won two – and Jordi (Viladoms) has been amazing getting me up to speed in such a short amount of time. I know I have a lot to learn, but that will come with racing a few more events. Right now, I’m fully focused on the big one in January.”
2021 Dakar Schedule
Start > Finish
Saturday, January 2, 2021
Jeddah > Jeddah
Sunday, January 3, 2021
Jeddah > Bisha
Monday, January 4, 2021
Bisha > Wadi Al Dawasir
Tuesday, January 5, 2021
Wadi Al Dawasir > Wadi Al Dawasir
Wednesday, January 6, 2021
Wadi Al Dawasir > Riyadh
Thursday, January 7, 2021
Riyadh > Buraydah
Friday, January 8, 2021
Buraydah > Ha’il
Saturday, January 9, 2021
Ha’il (Rest Day)
Sunday, January 10, 2021
Ha’il > Sakaka
Monday, January 11, 2021
Sakaka > Neom
Tuesday, January 12, 2021
Neom > Neom
Wednesday, January 13, 2021
Neom > Al-Ula
Thursday, January 14, 2021
Al-Ula > Yanbu
Friday, January 15, 2021
Yanbu > Jeddah
Nathan Crawford returns to Australia to Serco Yamaha for 2021
After a season in Europe racing MXGP, Nathan Crawford has returned to Australia and will take up a seat on the Serco Yamaha team for the 2021 season. The 23 year-old, Brisbane resident, is back on Australian soil and already back in the saddle of a Yamaha YZ250F as his preparations begin for the 2021 Australian motocross and supercross championships.
He has returned after a 12 month stint in Europe where he had to grow up fast in his year contesting the MX2 (250cc) championship. Ultimately, injury and a desire to come home were the reasons for his return to Australia but he is still grateful for the international experience and racing at the highest levels.
“Racing the world championships for a manufacturer supported team has always been a dream of mine and I’m glad I got to experience racing the best riders in the world firsthand. It was an amazing experience, and despite COVID, a year I will never forget. Travelling from country to country and racing on tracks that I had only ever seen on video or YouTube was awesome and I’m so glad I got to do it. I would love to have stayed longer, but a few things didn’t work out and I began looking at my options racing back here in Australia. Joining back up with the Serco Yamaha team is cool as we have a good working relationship from my time there in 2018 and 2019. The same mechanics are still there and not a lot has changed so it was nice to walk back into familiar surroundings and feel welcomed. It was much the same way stepping back onto the YZ250F. The bike feels so good and as a production bike, it is the best in the class. It’s great to be back. I feel motivated and determined to get my career back on track and I have unfinished business in the MX2 class, so I’m really looking forward to getting things started in 2021.”
The second rider on the Serco Yamaha Team will be announced in the coming days. Racing for the newly restructured ProMX championship gets under way on April 11 and will run eight rounds to a double header conclusion at Coolum in August. The Australian Supercross Championship is pencilled in to start in September with five rounds to make up the series.
Purvis & Larwood return with WBR Bulk Nutrients Yamaha for 2021
Two rising stars of ANZAC motocross racing, Maximus Purvis and Alex Larwood will return to the WBR Bulk Nutrients Yamaha Team for 2021, but with a slight twist. Both will make their debut in new classes for ’21 with Purvis making the leap to the MX1 (450cc) class while Larwood will step into the MX2 (250cc) class.
Purvis, the current New Zealand MX2 champ, is keen to return to Australia for the new season and 2021 marks his third year with the WBR Yamaha team. During the break in racing this year, Purvis was able spend time on the Yamaha YZ450F back in his NZ base and found the bike exactly to his liking.
When the discussion of 2021 came up, Max expressed a wish to race the YZ450F and the WBR Yamaha team were able to make that happen and support him in the same manner as previous years.
“2021 needs to be a huge year for me and one that establishes me in Australian motocross. The move to the 450 class is one that excites me as I have been riding one in New Zealand for the last eight months and I feel really comfortable on the bike and suits the way I ride. I love the horsepower it generates and think that I’m now at the right size and age to step up and make a go of it. Being back with WBR Yamaha is also great. We have a great working relationship that has grown over the past few years and they are a good group of guys to go racing with. The dealership is also close to where I base myself while in Australia, so they are always available if I need anything. My first goal is to defend my New Zealand MX2 championship with JCR Yamaha and then head over to Australia in March to get set up and ready for the Pro MX championship starting in April.”
Continuing into his second year with WBR Yamaha, South Australia’s 17-year old-Alex Larwood will move into the MX2 class and is set to rattle the cages of the big names in the class. Larwood was slated to race the MXD (under 19) division in 2020 but with the cancellation of racing and also a change to the class structure in 2021, he will make the transition into the MX2 class.
Reports early in the 2020 season had Larwood down as superfast, but a broken leg halted that progress. He is now healed up and returning to full training in preparation for the new year and will no doubt be a force to be reckoned with when national racing gets under way in April.
“It’s great to be back with WBR Yamaha again and racing the MX2 class on the YZ250F. I had put in a lot of work at the start of 2020 and was feeling great on the bike but my leg injury kept me sidelined for a while and that has only made the motivation stronger. I’m looking forward to racing the MX2 class and going against the best guys in Australia. It will be a big step but I have been training with a lot of riders already in that class and feel comfortable riding with them. The leg is nearly 100% and I have a full program ready to go in the off season to ensure I hit round one in great shape. I can’t wait to get started.”
WBR Yamaha is a motorcycle dealer in the Victorian border town of Echuca. Ran by the Whitten family, the racing arm of the business has become a great promotional tool for WBR Yamaha and one that owner, Travis Whitten, is passionate about.
“Our whole family is into racing and as the business has grown, so has both our and Yamaha’s investment in racing with us. In 2021, we will be fielding two riders in the major classes and I’m confident in both the talent and determination of Maximus and Alex to succeed. The knowledge that we learn from racing can be feed directly back to our customers and we can provide them with real world information that can make the most of their purchase. 2021 is a step-up up for our race team and one that we are looking forward to and the season can’t get here soon enough so we can be back at the track and doing what we love with two riders determined to achieve their goals.”
MJC Yamaha Official EMX125 announce 2021 line-up
Yamaha Motor Europe and the MJC Yamaha Official EMX125 team have announced a three-rider line-up for the 2021 EMX125 Championship. The team has retained Dutch talent Ivano Van Erp and welcomed two new riders, Latvian Karlis Reisulis and Italian Ferruccio Zanchi.
As the 2017 Junior Motocross 65cc World Champion, Van Erp is already a recognised name in European motocross. The 15-year-old Dutchman joined the MJC Yamaha Official EMX125 team in 2020 and completed a positive first term inside the EMX125 class aboard a GYTR kitted YZ125 with three top-10 race finishes during the latter stages of the championship.
Reisulis made his EMX125 debut in 2020 at round five of the nine-round series, in Mantova, Italy. The 15-year-old finished seventh in both races for seventh overall and quickly established himself as one of the best performing rookies. Having scored a total of four top-10 race finishes during the five rounds he attended this year, Reisulis has proven he has potential for the future.
Completing the 2021 line-up, Zanchi will become Yamaha’s youngest Official motocross rider as he makes the step up from the 85cc class to the 125cc category. The 14-year-old will join van Erp and Reisulis on the EMX125 Championship gate, where all three riders will race GYTR kitted YZ125s throughout the 2021 season.
Loic Le Foll – MJC Yamaha Official EMX125 Team Owner
“I am very happy to announce our team for 2021. We have already spent a year with Ivano, and he is an exciting rider for the future. This year was a learning year. He showed good speed at the end of the year, which is positive as he looks to move up the standings next year. As for our two new kids, I am very happy to recruit Karlis and Feruccio because they had already caught our eye last year at the Junior Motocross World Championship in Arco Di Trento, inside the 85cc class. These boys are very young, very talented and very hardworking. 2021 will be the first year on a 125cc for Ferruccio and the second season on a 125cc for Karlis, who will aim for a big result. We are going to organize a lot of training sessions together because I am sure our three riders will upgrade each other.”
Thorsten Lentink – Yamaha Motor Europe MX Racing Coordinator
“At Yamaha Motor Europe, our aim for the 2021 season is to strengthen the MJC Yamaha Official EMX125 team, and the presence of the GYTR kitted YZ125 inside the EMX125 Championship. The EMX125 class makes up the bottom step of the Yamaha Racing pyramid alongside the YZ bLU cRU FIM Europe Cup and is one of the first steps to becoming a full-time professional racer. I am confident that we can make some good progress inside the series with our 2021 MJC Yamaha Official EMX125 rider selection. It is exciting to keep Ivano van Erp for another year. This year he entered the EMX125 championship as a rookie and has already shown some positive progress. Karlis Reisulis rode a few EMX125 races this year and had great speed for a rider that was new to the class. He immediately felt confident after his test on the Yamaha YZ125, and we think that both Ivano and Karlis will be upfront fighting for good championship points in 2021. As for Ferruccio, he is only 14 years old and has been on our radar since the 2019 Junior Motocross World Championship. At such a young age, he will have the time to adapt to the YZ125. Consistency will be his main priority in 2021.”
Brad Freeman renews with Beta until 2023
Beta has announced the renewal of rider Brad Freeman, who will continue his collaboration with the Beta Factory Team for three further years, until 2023.
The English champion owns a long series of consecutive successes in recent years, including five titles in the Enduro GP world championship, where he has shown great consistency of results, always competing for the title.
Brad and the Beta Factory Team will represent the colors of the Italian manufacturer on his Beta 300 RR 2T Factory in the Enduro GP World Championship, E3 category, where he defends the 2020 world title, as well as in the Italian Enduro Championship.
2021 Honda UK ‘Crendon Fastrack’ motocross team announced
Honda UK have announced they are back in British Motocross Championship action with a brand new title sponsor and will be known as Crendon Fastrack Honda. The squad, backed by one of the UK’s leading Timber Engineering companies Crendon, will be formed of British champion Tommy Searle and Jake Nicholls returning in the MX1 class, with Jay Hague joining the team for an MX2 championship assault. The team will contest the UK’s two highest-level series, the British championship and MX Nationals.
Derbyshire-based Searle stays with the squad for a second year, following his successful 2020 season when he won the only professional championship to run in the UK, the MX Nationals. For Nicholls, who narrowly missed clinching the British title by a handful of points in 2018 after an injury, it will be his fourth year with the squad. This time both men will be armed with the all-new 2021 Honda CRF450R and are two of the most experienced riders in the class.
Former British youth champion Hague, who lives in Durham, heads up the MX2 category on the Honda CRF250R. The 22-year-old has tested the Crendon Fastrack Honda and says he’s excited to join the most respected and highest-profile team in the UK.
The Crendon Fastrack Honda squad is run by triple world 500 champion Dave Thorpe.
“Our goal is to be the dominant team in British championship racing and we have everything in place to achieve that. After personally testing the brand new Honda CRF450R, I know we have the best machinery. And our team of mechanics and technical partners will ensure they are the ultimate bikes on the track. With Tommy Searle and Jake Nicholls, we have not only the fastest but also two of the most experienced and professional riders in the MX1 class. And with Jay Hague in the MX2 class, it’s a real opportunity for him to really shine. It’s great to have the full backing of Crendon. And of course we still have backing from many of our long-time partners who make it possible for the team to operate at such a high level. I’m certain the Crendon Fastrack Honda team will be the team to beat in the UK.”
Albert Cabestany join GasGas TrialGP Team as manager
Experienced former Spanish and indoor World Champion is switching from competition to team management to lead GasGas’ 2021 factory trial team. Stepping away from full-time competition, defending Trial-E World Champion will now take charge of our factory trial team and guide them through both the X-Trial and TrialGP World Championships.
A rider with more than 20 years of international trial experience, Cabestany is not only hugely capable on a bike, he’s also incredibly knowledgeable off one. A consistent challenger for world championship honors, with no fewer than 85 outdoor and 90 indoor podium results to his credit, including 27 victories, it’s fair to say he’s been there, done it, and got a whole bunch of t-shirts!
Turning a page in his highly-successful career, Albert, who started his professional career riding for GasGas before returning to win two Trial-E World Championship titles in 2019 and 2020, will now start an exciting new chapter, leading from the front as he manages the GasGas Factory Racing Trial Team.
Focused on developing the team’s testing, training and competition program, the Spaniard will provide invaluable knowledge, experience and guidance, ensuring the team is perfectly prepared to take on the 2021 FIM X-Trial and TrialGP series.
Albert Cabestany – GASGAS Factory Racing Trial Team Manager
“After so many years competing in trial, this is the perfect next step for me. To be the GASGAS Factory Racing Trial Team Manager is such a unique and exciting opportunity, I’m really looking forward to working with our riders and doing all I can to continue the team’s success. For sure I’m going to give it my all and enjoy the experience. It’s an important team within the trial paddock, with high expectations, so I’m really excited about the future.”
Robert Jonas – VP Motorsports Offroad
“Trial remains hugely important to GASGAS, both from a production bike point of view and also from a motorsport perspective. This is why we are pleased to have appointed Albert Cabestany as our new trial team manager. Albert is hugely experienced when it comes to all things trial, and while he is best known as a successful competitor, he also has considerable testing and development experience. We believe he will inject the right mix of energy and focus into the team and push it forward in 2021, allowing our riders to perform at their very best.”
2021 Racing schedule
2021 AMA SX calendar
Lucas Oil Stadium
Lucas Oil Stadium
Lucas Oil Stadium
State Farm Stadium
State Farm Stadium
State Farm Stadium
Daytona Int. Speedway
Daytona Beach, FL
Salt Lake City
Salt Lake City, UT
2021 Provisional MXGP Calendar
MXGP of Oman, Muscat
Fri 2 Apr – Sat 3 Apr
MXGP of Italy, TBA
Sat 24 Apr – Sun 25 Apr
MXGP of Portugal, Agueda
Sat 8 May – Sun 9 May
MXGP of The Netherlands, Oss
Sat 22 May – Sun 23 May
MXGP of Germany, Teutschenthal
Sat 29 May – Sun 30 May
MXGP of Russia, Orlyonok
Sat 12 Jun – Sun 13 Jun
MXGP of Latvia, Kegums
Sat 19 Jun – Sun 20 Jun
MXGP of Jakarta (INA), Jakarta
Sat 3 Jul – Sun 4 Jul
MXGP of Indonesia, Semarang
Sat 10 Jul – Sun 11 Jul
MXGP of Czech Replublic, Loket
Sat 24 Jul – Sun 25 Jul
MXGP of Belgium, Lommel
Sat 31 Jul – Sun 1 Aug
MXGP of Sweden, Uddevalla
Sat 7 Aug – Sun 8 Aug
MXGP of Finland, Iitti-KimiRing
Sat 21 Aug – Sun 22 Aug
MXGP of Igora Drive (RUS), Igora Drive
Sat 28 Aug – Sun 29 Aug
MXGP of Turkey, Afyonkarahisar
Sat 11 Sep – Sun 12 Sep
MXGP of China, TBA
Sat 18 Sep – Sun 19 Sep
MXGP of France, St Jean d’Angely
Sat 9 Oct – Sun 10 Oct
MXGP of Spain, intu Xanadu-Arroyomolinos
Sat 16 Oct – Sun 17 Oct
Sat 30 Oct – Sun 31 Oct
MXGP of Patagonia Argentina, Neuquen
Sat 13 Nov – Sun 14 Nov
2021 Yamaha AORC presented by MXStore calendar
Rounds 1 & 2
Rounds 3 & 4
Rounds 5 & 6
Rounds 7 & 8
Rounds 9 & 10
Kingston SE, SA
Rounds 11 & 12
2021 Australian Pro MX calendar
Gilman, South Australia
2021 Speedway GP Calendar
2021 FIM Speedway Grand Prix
2021 PZM Warsaw FIM Speedway Grand Prix of Poland
2021 German FIM Speedway Grand Prix
2021 Czech Republic FIM Speedway Grand Prix
2021 FIM Speedway Grand Prix
2021 Adrian Flux British FIM Speedway Grand Prix
2021 Betard Wroclaw FIM Speedway Grand Prix OF POLAND
2021 Swedish FIM Speedway Grand Prix
2021 Russian FIM Speedway Grand Prix
Anatoly Stepanov Stadium
2021 Danish FIM Speedway Grand Prix Sponsored by ECCO
Vojens Speedway Center
2021 Torun FIM Speedway Grand Prix of Poland
Marian Rose MotoArena
2021 Australian Senior Speedway Solo calendar
Gillman Speedway, SA
3 January, 2021
Olympic Park, VIC
5 January, 2021
Diamond Park, Albury Wodonga, VIC
7 January, 2021
Loxford Park, NSW
9 January, 2021
Mick Doohan Raceway, QLD
13 January, 2021
2021 Australian Speedway events
2021 Australian Under 21’s Speedway Championship
Gillman Speedway, SA
16 January, 2021
2021 Australian Junior Speedway Sidecar Championship
Pinjar Park, WA
3-4 April, 2021
2021 Australian Senior Speedway Sidecar Championship
Pinjar Park, WA
3-4 April, 2021
2021 Speedway FIM Oceania Speedway Championship
Gillman Speedway, SA
30 January, 2021
2021 Speedway FIM Oceania Speedway Sidecar Championship
Gillman Speedway, SA
17 April, 2021
2021 Provisional Australian Supercross dates
25 September – Further information TBA
9 October – Further information TBA
16 October – Further information TBA
23 October – Further information TBA
30 October – Further information TBA
6 November – Further information TBA
20 November – Further information TBA
27 November – Further information TBA
2021 Australian Four Day Enduro (A4DE) May 19-22 – Harvey, WA
2021 Enduro Australian Three Day Vintage Enduro (A3VE) 7-9 May – Blackwood, VIC
2021 Finke Desert Race 11-14 June – Northern Territory
2021 Hattah Desert Race 3-4 July – Hattah, Victoria
2021 Motocross Australian Classic Motocross Championship 9-11 July – Nowra, NSW
2021 Motocross Australian Post Classic Motocross 16-18 July – Nowra, NSW
2021 International Six Day Enduro (ISDE) 30 August – 4 September – Italy
Closing out the Andalucia Rally, stage four covered a total of 233 kilometers, 210 of which were timed special held on the now familiar dirt tracks of the region. With much of the stage sharing the same route as used on previous days, navigation was less of an issue and riders were able to push harder on the fast, open terrain.
The final day of the 2020 Andalucia Rally has seen Kevin Benavides (Monster Energy Honda Team) win the overall, over seven minutes in front of runner up Adrien Van Beveren (Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team), while Lorenzo Santoli (Sherco TVS Rally Factory) claimed the final podium position.
The final stage however was dominated by Australian Daniel Sanders, who finished seven-seconds in front of fellow Aussie Toby Price, with Jamie McCanney third for the stage.
In what was only his first competitive rally event for the KTM Factory Racing team, Daniel Sanders has shown he is more than capable of delivering accurate navigation and the speed required to mix it with the top rally racers. Just weeks after commencing his road book training, the likeable Aussie has claimed an international rally stage win – an impressive achievement for any rider. In successfully completing the Andalucia Rally – securing 11th place overall – Sanders qualifies for the Dakar Rally in January. His training will now continue over the months leading up to the iconic event.
Daniel Sanders – Stage 4 Winner
“I really enjoyed today, being more familiar with the navigation, I was able to focus more and start to push. I made a few little mistakes, but all through the day there was nothing in it, so I kept my head down and found a nice flow. Honestly, I thought I would place around the top-five mark, so to come away with the stage win feels great. I wasn’t aiming for the win, and definitely didn’t want to try anything stupid, but to go fastest with most of the top guys here is really encouraging. The whole team has worked really hard to fast-track my rally skills, but it looks like it’s paying off and I can’t thank them enough.”
Claiming a provisional fourth overall at the close of racing is perhaps not the result that Toby Price wanted going into the Spanish event. Nevertheless, always one to ride intelligently, the two-time Dakar Champion was pleased with his race pace and navigation. Now, having used the Andalucia Rally to regain his focus and test various new components on his KTM 450 RALLY, Toby looks ahead to Dakar and is confident of a strong result.
Toby Price – P4 Overall
“Today wasn’t too tricky, we followed a lot of the tracks we’d been over earlier in the rally and so navigation wasn’t too much of an issue. I feel good in myself and on the bike and so I was able to push a little harder today. Finishing fourth and missing out on the podium is always a little disappointing, but we’re fit and healthy with no issues and that is always the main goal. We’ve learned a lot and have been able to test a few things so I’m really looking forward to Dakar now.”
Jamie McCanney also recorded a positive end to the Andalucia Rally, claiming third place on the final stage. At the head of the field for much of the day, McCanney frustratingly caught two riders and, without forcing the issue and risking a mistake due to the dust created in front of him, opted to bring home his WR450F Rally home safely. A great conclusion to the rally saw Jamie advance to seventh in the overall standings.
“I’m happy enough with the overall result. Today’s stage was good for me. I think I was leading for a lot of it, but then because I set off 20th – I’m not sure why as I didn’t finish 20th yesterday – I caught up to some riders towards the end and then sat in their dust for 30 or 40 kilometres. It was unfortunate but the safe option. Leaving here healthy and happy with my riding and my Yamaha puts us in good shape ahead of Dakar.”
2020 Andalucia Rally Champion – Kevin Benavides
Kevin Benavides, who held the field in check in the final stage, conceding just 2’48” to the day’s winner, confirmed his position at head of the competition leaderboard. The Monster Energy Honda Team rider ends the race, leaving the nearest overall second-place rider trailing almost eight minutes behind.
Kevin Benavides – P1 Overall
“Today I went out intending to ride a stage with good pace, focusing on not making any mistakes. My elbow bothered me a bit, but as the day went on, it didn’t hurt so much. I think I rode a good final stage to close this race week. I’m very happy with this win: I needed it too. It’s a victory that rewards all the effort we have made. Now, we are going to continue with all the preparations to reach the 2021 Dakar in even better conditions. Thank you very much to the entire team for an exceptional job done every single day and for keeping the bike running perfectly throughout the race.”
Hard work paid off for Adrien Van Beveren at the Andalucia Rally as he enjoyed a mistake-free week of racing to claim second overall. Consistent results on every stage signalled that the Frenchman has returned from injury and is back to his usual, competitive form. With his 2020 Dakar Rally crash and subsequent surgeries well behind him, Van Beveren’s runner-up finish puts him in a positive position for the 2021 rally season.
Adrien Van Beveren – P2 Overall
“It’s been a really good rally for me. All week I have been consistent with no crashes, no navigation or speed zone issues, so it’s great to see that my training has paid off. I’m happy with the direction that I’m going in and will keep working hard towards the Dakar Rally. I’m so happy to be back to my old self and on the podium. A great result for myself and the team.”
In third place, taking his first podium racing against the cream of rally-raid riders, was the Spaniard Lorenzo Santolino (Sherco TVS Factory).
Lorenzo Santolino – P3 Overall
“Yes super happy to finish third here. Maybe the fact that I am Spanish and we were racing on Spanish soil was good for me but it is nevertheless important for my confidence going into the Dakar. The team has been working hard to develop the bike and it went really well here, so many thanks to them.”
The 2021 Dakar Rally to be held in Saudi Arabia from January 3 to 15 will be the next event for many competitors.
After many months of enforced inactivity, competitors finally got the chance to turn a wheel in anger over a nine-kilometre super special to decide the start order for tomorrow’s first stage, with Australia’s Toby Price and Daniel Sanders taking Red Bull KTM Factory Racing to a strong start for Stage 1.
As informed observers of the super special won’t have failed to notice, not only are all the factory teams – Monster Energy Honda, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing, GasGas Factory Racing, Sherco TVS Rally, Hero Motorsports Rally, Monster Yamaha Rally – present, many of them have been busy recruiting new talent.
Run right next to the rally’s hacienda bivouac, the prologue super special victory went to Toby Price (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), with rookie teammate Daniel Sanders (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), while Yamaha’s new recruit Ross Branch (Monster Energy Yamaha Rally) was third.
Matthias Walkner was fourth, marking another KTM Rally Factory Team rider in the top five, with Andrew Short fifth and Luciano Benavides sixth, as top Husqvarna Factory Racing rider. Jamie McCanney, Franco Caimi and Adrien Van Beveren were seventh, eighth and ninth respectively, with Sebastian Buehler the final rider in the top 10 for Hero Motorsports Team Rally.
Australian Daniel ‘Chucky’ Sanders, astonished the off-road world by heading over to Europe last year and winning the ISDE aboard a 500 and since then has been on a number of team manager’s shopping lists.
“I’ve been training with the team for the last three weeks and already its been a massive learning curve. The terrain around here looks awesome and I’m really excited to race my first rally. Obviously I’ve got a lot to learn but if I can pick things up as quickly as Toby (Price) I’ll be well happy. I’m really stoked to have finished equal first with him on the super special. Just hope I don’t have to open tomorrow!”
Adding, “What a cool way to start Rally #2 prologue. Finished on the same second as fellow mulleteer Toby Price – The lowest number gets to start first, a 3 min gap behind him for the start tomorrow. I am planning to try and not get lost and to focus on my navigation skill. At the end of the day I’m here just to learn and to finish to qualify for Dakar.”
The bike team with the biggest change of personnel is undoubtedly the Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team with the winner of the last Rallye du Maroc, Andrew Short moving over to the French based team. He has been joined by another recent promising arrival on the rally scene, Ross Branch. If factory contracts are nothing new to ‘Shorty’ they are an unexpected pleasure for his Botswanan teammate.
“I’m really excited to be on the race and super happy to be with the team. It is a dream come true for me. On Dakar 2020 I was thinking it was probably my last rally. It was getting really complicated for me as a privateer to keep raising the money, but now that stress has been taken off me and I can just concentrate on the racing. Finishing third on the super special is a good way of starting my ‘professional’ career.”
It isn’t just the factory teams who’ve been busy recruiting, with top privateer outfit HT Rally also upping their game by bringing aboard none other than experienced rally rider Xavier de Soultrait and three times enduro world champion David Knight.
For the Monster Energy Honda Team, Ricky Brabec set off from first place, without references ahead, to tackle the opening kilometres of the Andalucia Rally prologue, eventually going on to post eleventh place, just twelve seconds adrift of the day’s fastest time. Very narrow gaps separated the frontrunners with several riders finishing within the same second. Joan Barreda finished just one second behind his American team-mate.
Argentine Kevin Benavides rode at a pace similar to his Monster Energy Honda Team squad-mates and took fourteenth position, one second off Barreda. José Ignacio Cornejo conceded some 35 seconds to the leader of the general standings, finishing in 21st position.
2020 Andalucia Rally – Super Special Stage Results
Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team
Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team
EVAN BRANCH, Ross
Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team
Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team
Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing
Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team
Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team
VAN BEVEREN, Adrien
Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team
Hero Motorsports Team Rally
Monster Energy Honda Team
Monster Energy Honda Team
Sherco TVS Rally Factory
Monster Energy Honda Team
DE SOULTRAIT, Xavier
HT Husqvarna Rally Team
Air bag testing underway at 2020 Andalucia Rally
Away from the musical chairs, the big talking point in the bike class is the introduction of air bags. Adapted from those used in MotoGP, they won’t actually be compulsory on this event but will be on the next Dakar. To let the competitors try them out, no less than five different models are available for competitors to test. Ever since airbags first appeared in road racing, engineers have been looking at ways of adapting them to rally-raid, but the particularities of off-road riding hasn’t made the process straight forward. The man in charge of bring it all together is ASO’s vastly experienced technical expert Thierry Viadot:
“Here in Andalusia all the competitors have the possibility to test airbags that have been approved by the FIM for the next Dakar. These have been adapted for off-road use by incorporating passive security to protect the rider’s chest and back, which will inevitably increase body temperature. That however isn’t the principle hurdle to overcome. For me the major problem is defining the parameters for when the airbag deploys, as a function of the degree of shock and speed. The only way to accumulate the necessary data is to start using them now and in a few months the algorithms will have made considerable progress. Until that data has been collected and processed it is possible that airbags may deploy when not desired. But we just have to accept that if we want to progress.”
Next Up: Stage 1
The bikes go directly into the Stage 1 with David Castera explaining, “We will show the competitors pretty much all the types of terrain they will encounter on this rally. There will be some technical going at the start, a bit of sand over 30-40 kms, some more open tracks, alternating with more narrowing piste. Then in the last property crossed, on the final 40 kilometres, it’ll be more technical again, with some vegetation.”
Wednesday, sees the first full stage of the Andalucia Rally which will feature a total of 240 kilometres of timed special (two specials made up of 130 and 110 kilometres respectively) and a liaison of about 70 kilometres connecting the start and finish in Villamartín.
After much anticipation, this year’s FIM ISDE got underway in Portimao. Overnight rain dampened conditions for competitors during the opening lap of two, but from the off racing was hot and heavy as the five hundred plus competitors from twenty six nations jostled for position.
Determined to put RecoveR8 Team Australia out front, Daniel Sanders – Husqvarna was quick off the mark, setting the fastest time on the opening special test. But with United States’ Ryan Sipes and Spain’s Josep Garcia in close contention and the top-ten separated by just fifteen seconds, it was all to play for.
“I wanted to start strong, there’s a lot of big names here this year and I wanted to put myself up there right away. Honestly, I didn’t expect to lead by so much, but it means I’m in a good place and I will look to build on that while helping to grow our FIM World Trophy lead.”
Continuing to position himself at the sharp end of the results, Sanders led his Australia teammates to victory on day one in Portugal. However, with United States ending the day only nineteen seconds behind, their lead is relatively slender at this early stage in the race.
“First day done. Bit offf pace that I know I can do, just gonna get the bike settled and should be able to grow from here. We are leading the world trophy and so are the Junior guys, waiting to hear about the girls, but I think pretty strong finish all-round.. Having some fun so that’s the main thing.”
Mirroring the finishing order of the 2018 FIM ISDE, Italy slot into third, albeit already over two minutes behind the leading nations. Despite losing a rider early on, Great Britain battled hard on the opening day of racing.
Hampered by starting at the rear of the category and the untimely exit of Freeman, they still placed fourth. With an improved starting position for day two, they will look to build on that.
So too will Finland. Also hampered by a late start, the Finnish team ended their day fifteen seconds behind Great Britain in fifth, while Spain – boosted by Garcia’s performance – complete the top six. Host nation Portugal lie tenth after the opening day of competition.
World Trophy Day 1 Overall
Junior World Trophy
In the FIM Junior World Trophy category, RecoveR8 Team Australia enjoyed an impressively strong start to their FIM ISDE campaign. With two of their riders Fraser Higlett and Lyndon Snodgrass placing inside the top-ten overall, they hold a healthy one-minute and fourteen second lead over United States.
Also performing strongly, United States will look to bridge that gap to their rivals on day two. France — spurred on by Theo Espinasse claiming the outright quickest time on special test three — slot into third. A slow start to their week sees defending champions Italy sit four seconds behind France in fourth. Great Britain end day one in fifth, while Spain complete the top six.
Junior World Trophy Day 1 Overall
Women’s World Trophy
The opening day of racing in Portimao excitedly saw a major shakeup in the FIM Women’s World Trophy competition with Germany holding a slender advantage over United States, while defending champions RecoveR8 Team Australia were a surprise third.
Quick to make their presence felt in this year’s race, Germany have shown they will be a force to be reckoned with. Strong rides from Anne Borcher and Maria Franke puts them five seconds ahead of closest rivals United States.
One minute behind the leading duo in third, Australia will aim to regain some lost time on day two. Making their FIM ISDE debut, Great Britain have got off to a solid start in fourth, with Spain fifth. Sweden round out the top six on day one.
Women’s World Trophy Day 1 Overall
In the Enduro 1 category it is Josep Garcia who tops the standings on day one. Winning the final four special tests, Garcia holds a thirty-eight second lead over Ryan Sipes, who in turn holds an eighteen second advantage over Finland’s Eero Remes – Yamaha in third.
French Junior Espinasse impresses with fourth. The Sherco mounted rider is two seconds behind Remes and less than one second up on Australia’s Luke Styke in fifth.
Enduro 1 Day 1 – Top 10
United States’ Taylor Robert is out to an early lead in the Enduro 2 class. However, with thirty-seven seconds separating the top six, the category is closely contested.
Ending day one just six seconds behind his teammate, Kailub Russell will look to close that gap tomorrow.
Consistently placing inside the top six, Higlett signs off on the opening day of competition in third, while Italy’s Davide Guarneri is fourth.
United States’ Junior rider Ben Kelley – KTM is fifth with Recover8 Team Australia’s Josh Green three-seconds adrift in sixth.
“Solid day but a few too many mistakes from me hindered my result. Team Aus is leading both Jnr and Trophy teams, all the team was on it, keen for tomorrow.”
Enduro 2 Day 1 – Top 10
Claiming the overall lead on day one, Sanders powers his way to a commanding lead in the Enduro 3 category.
With a clean sweep of all seven special tests, the Husqvarna rider is one-minute and forty-seven seconds clear of Italy’s Rudy Moroni in second.
Moroni however has less breathing room with a determined Steward Baylor of the United States twelve seconds behind.
On a charge, Great Britain’s Alex Snow and Danny McCanney are less than three-seconds adrift of Baylor in fourth and fifth respectively.
Germany’s Angus Heidecke completes the top six in Enduro 3.
Enduro 3 Day 1 – Top 10
The battle for top honours in the Enduro Women’s category sees Brandy Richards place fifteen second clear of Maria Franke in second.
Australia’s Tayla Jones is three seconds in front of Great Britain’s Jane Daniels, while Australia’s Jessica Gardiner and Anne Borchers complete the top six.
Enduro Women’s Day 1 – Top 10
The FIM ISDE continues on day two with a repeat of day one’s three-hundred kilometre Menhir Route.