Blake Gutzeit continued his good early-season form by riding onto the E3 podium on the final day of the German Grand Prix in Dahlen at the weekend.
Fresh off an impressive win in Hamma, the Oslo Beach star got the lay of the land on Day One before finishing on a high with a third place on Day Two.
“I’m happy to be home safe and to make it onto the podium today with some wildly tough and rough special tests. To all the great enthusiastic German supporters – it was a pleasure to race in Dahlen,” said Gutzeit.
The German Grand Prix was a real success as 155 riders delighted 18,000 spectators throughout the weekend.
After an eventful first day, the Maxxis FIM EnduroGP World Championship stars were back on track for another day of competition in Dahlen.
The tests had been significantly ‘cut up’ after so many competitors riding on the first day, and therefore this second day offered up a lot of surprises.
Steve Holcombe (GBR-Beta) did not have the same disadvantage as Day One, where he had to open the tests. With the course well ‘bedded in’, the reigning EnduroGP Champion got into his rhythm immediately. He impressed from the start, winning 8 specials in a row on scratch.
Only Davide Guarneri, Brad Freeman and Danny McCanney managed to ‘steal’ test victories from the Beta Factory rider on the overall times. Despite the pressure and the fatigue of the tough terrain, Holcombe showed perfect control.
The season is just beginning but Holcombe already seems to be at the top of his game. Naturally, he is leading the EnduroGP class and E3 class at the end of this weekend in Germany.
Freeman (GBR-Beta) snatched second place on the EnduroGP podium. The Beta Boano rider launched his offensive on McCanney just after mid-day. He managed to limit the damage to Holcombe, ending the day 43 seconds behind the reigning EnduroGP Champion.
McCanney (GBR-TM) finished 3rd overall on this 2nd day and his debut weekend with TM Factory. The Brit could not fight back against Freeman, but he remained focused to secure an important 3rd spot.
Eero Remes (FIN-Yamaha) started the day aggressively as he was eager to put Saturday’s mechnical DNF behind him. His new Team Manager, Joakim Johansson was thrilled with the performance of his new signing. The Yamaha rider was solid all day, fighting continuously in the Top 5 overall. He finished 4th.
Alex Salvini (ITA-Honda) was also fighting with Remes and Larrieu for the Top 5 all day. The Italian ended this 2nd day feeling more positive after his bad luck and DNF on Day 1. He said he felt confident for the next round of the EnduroGP Championship in Portugal.
Loïc Larrieu (FRA-TM) started the second day quicker than the first, the TM rider found podium rhythm. And he was putting a lot of pressure on Remes in the overall classification. Gradually Larrieu slipped back behind Remes and Salvini. Still getting to grips with his new TM, Larrieu made a few errors and finished Sunday in 6th overall.
The day was punctuated by ups and downs for all the Honda riders. Davide Guarneri (ITA-Honda) finished as the best red rider in 7th place overall, winning one special. Christophe Charlier (FRA-Honda) was in excellent shape until a violent fall shook him up and relegated the Honda RedMoto rider to 13th position overall – a long way off his potential. Thomas Oldrati (ITA-Honda) was steady and focused, finishing 8th on he day.
Christophe Nambotin (FRA-Gas Gas) was the only big DNF on Day 2, after a strong performance on the opening day, the Gas Gas rider saw his race cut short by a gearbox failure. ‘Nambot’ was nevertheless satisfied with his form and felt ready to face the rest of the season.
In the E1 category, Freeman confirmed his 2018 confidence has not wavered, and it was another victory for him ahead of Guarneri and Oldrati.
The fight in E2 was intense between the three ‘favorites’ and it was Remes who eventually won ahead of Salvini and Larrieu, beating the Italian by just 0.16 seconds.
Holcombe took no prisoners in E3 and won the class ahead of McCanney and Anthony Geslin (FRA-Beta).
The next round of the Maxxis FIM EnduroGP World Championship will take place in Portugal in the city of Valpaços from May 3-5.