Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Josep Garcia has returned to FIM EnduroGP World Championship action in style by claiming two Enduro2 podiums at the GP of Slovakia. Just over one month since undergoing surgery to repair a displaced fracture of his left thumb, the KTM 350 EXC-F racer placed third in E2 on both days of racing while also securing a third-place result in the overall EnduroGP category on Sunday.

For round five of the 2022 season, the FIM EnduroGP World Championship headed to Slovakia and opened with an exciting Friday night Super Test, which was then followed by two tough days of classic enduro, raced in the hills and woodland close to the host town of Gelnica. Rain in the region meant the tracks were extremely muddy and slippery, with riding conditions steadily worsening as the event progressed.

Although not back to being 100 percent fit, Josep Garcia immediately found his rhythm in Slovakia, placing fifth overall and second in Enduro2 on the event’s opening Super Test. Going into the first full day of racing, the slippery tests didn’t faze the Spaniard and despite a number of small crashes throughout the day, he secured an excellent third-place result in E2.

After more heavy rain overnight, Sunday dawned with riders facing very similar conditions to day one. Garcia completed the first four tests inside the top three overall and was looking well on course to fight for the podium once again. A mistake on the second cross test ended up costing the Red Bull KTM racer some valuable seconds, but Josep was able to regroup and complete the remaining three tests in good time.

At the close of racing, and despite a little fatigue caused by the lack of training in recent weeks, Garcia secured another top-three result in Enduro2, while also securing the third step of the podium in the overall EnduroGP category. Although he missed round four of the series due to injury, Josep lies third in the Enduro2 World Championship standings and fourth in EnduroGP with two rounds remaining.

Josep Garcia: “It’s been a difficult weekend, coming back from injury to such a tough event, but I’m really pleased with how I’ve been riding here in Slovakia. I didn’t come into the weekend with any expectations, and then I had a couple of crashes in the first few tests yesterday, which put me on the back foot a little, but I was able to stay focused and find my rhythm as the day went on. Towards the end I did lose a little strength and so had to ease back a little, but I was happy to finish on the podium. On Sunday, I knew I would wake up feeling tired, but as I got going my body loosened up and I was able to fight for the top places in EnduroGP. Like yesterday, I did start to suffer a little towards the end of the day, and I had quite a big crash in the second cross test, but I’m happy to finish third overall and third in the class. Now I have just less than a week to build my strength before Hungary next weekend.”

The 2022 FIM EnduroGP World Championship now heads straight to Hungary for round six, held August 5-7.

Results – 2022 FIM Enduro World Championship – Round 5, Slovakia

Day 1

Enduro 2
1. Wil Ruprecht (AUS), TM, 1:03:55.70
2. Steve Holcombe (GBR), Beta, 1:04:13.55 +17.85
3. Josep Garcia (ESP), KTM, 1:04:51.84 +56.14
4. Nathan Watson (GBR), Honda, 1:05:55.68 +1:59.98
5. Hugo Blanjoue (FRA), KTM, 1:06:50.00 +2:54.30

1. Wil Ruprecht (AUS), TM, 1:03:55.70
2. Andrea Verona (ITA), GASGAS, 1:04:07.24 +11.54
3. Steve Holcombe (GBR), Beta, 1:04:13.55 +17.85
4. Josep Garcia (ESP), KTM, 1:04:51.84 +56.14
5. Brad Freeman (GBR), Beta, 1:05:00.63 +1:04.93

Day 2

Enduro 2
1. Wil Ruprecht (AUS), TM, 1:04:45.73
2. Steve Holcombe (GBR), Beta, 1:04:46.18 +0.45
3. Josep Garcia (ESP), KTM, 1:05:22.87 +37.14
4. Nathan Watson (GBR), Honda, 1:06:01.55 +1:15.82
5. Albin Elowson (SWE), Husqvarna, 1:07:36.04 +2:50.31

1. Wil Ruprecht (AUS), TM, 1:04:45.73
2. Steve Holcombe (GBR), Beta, 1:04:46.18 +0.45
3. Josep Garcia (ESP), KTM, 1:05:22.87 +37.14
4. Thomas Oldrati (ITA), Honda, 1:05:38.57 +52.84
5. Andrea Verona (ITA), GASGAS, 1:05:40.97 +55.24

Championship Standings (After Round 5)

Enduro 2
1. Wil Ruprecht (AUS), TM, 174 points
2. Nathan Watson (GBR), Honda, 152 pts
3. Josep Garcia (ESP), KTM, 130 pts
4. Steve Holcombe (GBR), Beta, 109 pts
5. Hugo Blanjoue (FRA), KTM, 103 pts

1. Andrea Verona (ITA), GASGAS, 161 points
2. Wil Ruprecht (AUS), TM, 150 pts
3. Nathan Watson (GBR), Honda, 123 pts
4. Josep Garcia (ESP), KTM, 115 pts
5. Thomas Oldrati (ITA), Honda, 106 pts