GARDINER ON THE VERGE OF WINNING EUROPEAN ENDURO CHAMPIONSHIP
The penultimate round of this year’s FIM European Euduro Championship headed to Burg in Germany, which saw Australia’s Jess Gardiner extend her championship lead and is now staring down the barrel of wrapping up her first European Enduro Championship.
After finishing with a 1-2 result at the second round in Paikuse, Estonia in July, Gardiner managed to claim the overall victory on both days, which now sees the 24-year-old winning five races from six starts aboard her Yamaha WR250F.
Just like in Paikuse, the course in Burg was quite ‘plain’, without mountains and uphill sections. Nevertheless, the course was mostly sandy and in the woods very bumpy with a lot of tree roots to navigate throughout the two days.
In what was a “super tough” opening day according to Gardiner on the Saturday, as the trials and tests were really rough but still not enough to stop her bolting to victory by beating Finland’s Marita Nyqvist.
While rain did play havoc for most of the day for Gardiner and throw in a crash in the final test, she still managed to win every stage throughout the whole day to stamp her authority on the championship. On top of that, Gardiner, who was racing as a full privateer, copped a one minute penalty at the last time control for coming in before the final work period.
“I felt like I rode really well today, especially in the sandy area,” said Gardiner. “The sand was so dark and with that with a bit of rain it started to become a bit too slick,” explained Gardiner.
“The trial time were really tightly timed, as every one of my competitors lost time today. I basically rode the trials as a special test and tried to get a quick breath before going into the tests directly. I never had more then 1-2 minutes’ rest at most controls,” added Gardiner.
In contrast to the previous day, the weather took a turn for the better with the sun shining all day. Gardiner was again at the peak of her powers by storming to victory, this time beating Dutch rider Nina Klink.
While Gardiner took another step towards taking out this year’s championship, by winning the first five tests and finishing second in the last test which she described as a “solid win”, she did explain that it was difficult to get motivated.
“Today, as the trial time and tests were destroyed, the tracks were not as much fun to race on as they were yesterday,” said Gardiner at the conclusion of the day. “That’s racing but, so it is what it is.
“Overall, it’s a nice feeling to get another two wins and get a little bit closer to the championship.”
Even though Gardiner’s maiden FIM European Euduro Championship is within her grasp, she isn’t about to tempt fate. Gardiner heads into the final round with a 23-point advantage over Hanna Berzelius, with a maximum of forty points up for grabs.
“It’s nice to head into the final round with a nice points buffer. In saying that, anything can still happen as its motorcycle racing. I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing and when it’s over, it’s over. It would be really nice to win the championship to be able to reward all my sponsors for all the hard work they have done to be able to get me over to Europe this year.”
The grand finale of the FIM European Euduro Championship will be held in Gelnica, Slovakia on 13-15 October.
Gardiner now turns her focus to the 91st running of the International Six Days Enduro (ISDE), the oldest ‘off road’ motorcycle event on the FIM Calendar which will be held from 28 August to 2 September in Brive-la-Gaillarde, France.
This will be the eleventh year that the Women’s Trophy class has been a part of the ISDE. For the past four years, the Australian team, which is made up of Gardiner, Jemma Wilson and Tayla Jones, have taken out Women’s Trophy, while Gardiner has taken out the individual outright honours in her class in 2013 and 2014.
“I’m really looking forward to teaming up with Jemma and Tayla again at the ISDE and hopefully making it five wins in a row, which would be pretty cool to do. It won’t be easy as the competition seems to get better and better every year, but my teammates and I will be doing everything we can to make sure the trophy heads back down under for another year,” concluded Gardiner.
Women’s FIM Enduro European Championship – after round three
1st Jess Gardiner – 117 (Yamaha WR250F)
2nd Hanna Berzelius – 94
3rd Marita Nyqvist – 86
4th Nina Klink – 80
5th Martina Reimander – 60
Credits: Robert Pairan and Yamaha Motor Australia