Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Josep Garcia has secured podium places in the Enduro2 class on both days of racing at the GP of Portugal, round one of the 2021 FIM Enduro World Championship. Completing day one in second, Garcia dropped to third in class on Sunday following a couple of small mistakes. His results place him third overall in the Enduro2 standings at the close of round one.

Following a short Super Test on Friday evening, the first round of the 2021 EnduroGP World Championship got underway at a warm and dry Marco de Canaveses venue. As promised by the organizers, the special tests proved to be a real challenge to all competitors with a mixture of tough terrain and a grueling schedule. With rain falling overnight and into Sunday, conditions became even more demanding on day two, with riders struggling for grip on the Portuguese dirt.

Looking to make a strong return to EnduroGP competition, Josep Garcia proved that despite not racing in the FIM Enduro World Championship for three years, he has lost none of the speed that took him to the 2017 Enduro2 class title. The GP of Portugal could have started better for the Spaniard however, as a crash on the Friday night Super Test resulted in the KTM 350 EXC-F rider claiming 10th in E2 and 20th overall.

Regrouping for Saturday, Garcia again suffered a couple of crashes during the day that cost him some valuable time. Keeping his head down and his motivation high, Josep was able to stay within touch of the leaders to ultimately complete day one as runner-up in Enduro2 and third in the EnduroGP (overall) category.

Despite the weather making things tougher on Sunday, Garcia continued to be in the fight for a podium result in Enduro2. A couple of errors cost him some time early on, but at the end of the second lap, the young Spaniard was placed third overall in his class, less than 10 seconds down on the leader. On the third and final lap, Josep pushed hard to secure his position but a mistake in the final enduro test would end up costing him around 30 seconds, and his chance of victory. Placing third in Enduro2, Garcia narrowly missed out on the EnduroGP podium in fourth, just under one minute down on the winner.

Happy with his double E2 class podium, yet frustrated with the mistakes made during the GP, Garcia lies third overall in the Enduro2 class and fourth in EnduroGP.

Josep Garcia: “In the end, day one went okay for me, but it started off really badly – I had a big crash in the cross test but luckily I didn’t hurt myself too much and the bike was ok. I got stuck in the extreme test soon after that and so lost too many seconds to the others. I pushed really hard for the rest of the day and was able to get back some time, but I know I had the pace to do better.

“The conditions on day two were a lot tougher with every test becoming a lot more slippery. I tried my best again and although I made a few mistakes, I was able to be up near the top of the test times. Things were going really well until the last lap – I was a few seconds behind and knew I had to push. Unfortunately, I had a big crash in the enduro test, which lost me more time and after that I decided to just bring the bike home safely. My results are not too bad, but I’m frustrated at myself for making so many mistakes over the weekend. Next week is another race, so thankfully I’m still healthy, and will try my best to improve.”

The 2021 FIM Enduro World Championship continues next weekend with round two from Edolo in Italy, from June 25-27

Results – 2021 FIM Enduro World Championship – Round 1, Portugal

Day 1

Enduro 2
1. Steve Holcombe (GBR), Beta, 1:09:25:61
2. Josep Garcia (ESP), KTM, 1:09:42:31
3. Wil Ruprecht (AUS), TM, 1:09:42:31
4. Hamish MacDonald (NZL), Sherco, 1:10:48.53
5. Thomas Oldrati (ITA), Honda, 1:11:15.44
Other KTM
8. Hugo Blanjoue (FRA), KTM, 1:12:03.39

1. Brad Freeman (GBR), Beta, 1:08:49.71
2. Steve Holcombe (GBR), Beta, 1:09:25:61
3. Josep Garcia (ESP), KTM, 1:09:42:31
4. Wil Ruprecht (AUS), TM, 1:10:05.61
5. Andrea Verona (ITA), GASGAS, 1:10:12.54
Other KTM
6. Jaume Betriu (ESP), KTM, 1:10:21.80

Day 2

Enduro 2
1. Wil Ruprecht (AUS), TM, 1:08:18.42
2. Steve Holcombe (GBR), Beta, 1:08:44.49
3. Josep Garcia (ESP), KTM, 1:09:14.66
4. Hamish MacDonald (NZL), Sherco, 1:10:10.08
5. Eero Remes (FIN), TM, 1:11:20.12

1. Wil Ruprecht (AUS), TM, 1:08:18.42
2. Brad Freeman (GBR), Beta, 1:08:26.90
3. Steve Holcombe (GBR), Beta, 1:08:44.49
4. Josep Garcia (ESP), KTM, 1:09:14.66
5. Jaume Betriu (ESP), KTM, 1:09:33.77

Championship Standings (After Round 1)

Enduro 2
1. Steve Holcombe (GBR), Beta, 37 points
2. Wil Ruprecht (AUS), TM, 35 pts
3. Josep Garcia (ESP), KTM, 32 pts
4. Hamish MacDonald (NZL), Sherco, 26 pts
5. Eero Remes (FIN), TM, 21 pts

1. Brad Freeman (GBR), Beta, 37 points
2. Wil Ruprecht (AUS), TM, 33 pts
3. Steve Holcombe (GBR), Beta, 32 pts
4. Josep Garcia (ESP), KTM, 28 pts
5. Jaume Betriu (ESP), KTM, 21 pts