Courtesy of Red Bull Motorsports
The 2019 World Enduro Super Series continues building speed as it heads to France for the second round of the championship, the Tréfle Lozérien AMV.
Switching gears from Hard Enduro to Classic Enduro, the idyllic French countryside surrounding Mende in southern France will become this weekend’s playground for the world’s best Enduro riders. Staged across three days, the 700 entries in this year’s race will face a gruelling 719 kilometres of riding, including 15 timed special tests.
Adding to the test of speed, endurance and technical riding, each day will provide riders with a new course and fresh set of special tests, all challenging their ability to adapt quickly to changing conditions and new terrain.
Now entering its 33rd edition, the Trèfle Lozérien AMV has grown to become France’s most prestigious Enduro, with the event annually selling out in a matter of minutes. This year was no different, and with its inclusion in the WESS championship for the second consecutive year, the entry features a long list of world class riders and world champions from all factions of the sport.
Despite numerous tries, no non-French rider has ever won the event. In 2018, Frenchman Loic Larrieu etched his name into the record books as a first-time winner of the race and will be among the favourites for success again in 2019. Giving Yamaha their 20th event win last year, Larrieu has moved to TM Racing and will aim to give the Italian manufacturer their first taste of success. Sherco Factory Racing’s Theo Espinasse (FRA) was one of last year’s revelations.
The youngster was very impressive on the grass-track special tests, showing experience beyond his years. With a year’s knowledge under his belt, he’s poised to become one of Trèfle Lozérien’s youngest victors if the cards fall his way. Missing from the 2018 line-up, four-time Enduro World Champion Christophe Nambotin (FRA) returns to the French Classic.
One of Enduro’s masters in the fine art of special test racing, Gas Gas mounted Nambotin has won the event only once, back in 2012, but sights 2019 as his best chance to make it two. Other French specialists to watch include another pair of former world champions – Antoine Meo (Honda) and Johnny Aubert (Gas Gas). Also absent in 2018 due to injury, Sherco’s Jeremy Tarroux (FRA) – the 2017 winner – returns. Incredibly fast between the timing beams, Tarroux will no doubt be aiming to become a two-time winner of the race. Leading a large portion of the event in 2018, four-time winner Emmanuel Albepart (Yamaha – FRA) showed himself a serious contender and will be a threat for a podium result once again.
Of the WESS regulars Josep Garcia (KTM – ESP) and Nathan Watson (KTM – GB) – two of the series’ Classic Enduro specialists – will be eager to make history in Mende, hoping to topple the French. Garcia almost won last year, falling short on the final special test to finish third overall. A year wiser, he’s learned the secrets of his French rivals and will arrive better prepared. Seventh in 2018, Watson too has his sights set on pushing for a podium result. He favours the fast, open-nature of the high-speed tests and is more than capable of adapting to the changeable conditions.
Jonny Walker (KTM – GB) – 10th in 2018 – Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM – GER), Taddy Blazusiak (KTM – POL), Billy Bolt (Husqvarna – GB), Alfredo Gomez (Husqvarna – ESP), Jamie McCanney (Yamaha – GB) – second in 2017 – plus Giacomo Redondi (Husqvarna – ITA) and Alex Snow (Gas Gas – GB) will be among the many riders chasing a position inside the top 10 come Sunday afternoon.
Trèfle Lozérien AMV Fast Facts
719: Distance in kilometres competitors will ride during the three-day race
33: 2019 will mark the 33rd edition of the French Classic Enduro
20: Yamaha are the most successful manufacturer with 20 victories
15: Number of unique special tests in the Trèfle Lozérien AMV
9: Stephane Peterhansel holds the most race wins
6: Consecutive times David Frétigné won between 1999 and 2004
4: Time in minutes in which this year’s entries were snapped up
0: Number of non-French winners of the Trèfle Lozérien AMV