As someone who is no fan of extreme weather – dry, overcast and with the temperature somewhere between 10 and 20 will do me just fine – I really feel for the EnduroGP elite who are mostly likely freezin’ their extremities off right now as they prepare for the championship opener that happens in just under a month’s time.
It won’t be the first time we’ve seen a snow race on the EWC calendar but this year’s Finnish GP has an added twist that adds to the difficulty and the danger.
Unlike your average EnduroGP event that runs multiple laps with three special tests on each, the Finnish event is said to be a single 150km loop with 15 special tests – none of which will be viewable prior to the event’s start.
It’s reckoned that this monster loop will take about 12 hours to complete which is a long old day in the saddle by any reckoning.
Adding to the misery is the fact that they’ll be riding in two foot of snow and it’s gonna be dark at both ends of the day and bloody cold as well.
Will it be a memorable start to the season? Certainly. Will it be memorable for the right reasons? Maybe not…
From a rider’s point of view to even be competitive at round one is gonna take a serious amount of preparation as you can’t just come in and fluke a result in such extreme conditions.
As well as hours and hours spent acclimatising to the temperature and that type of going there’s the added expense of buying appropriate equipment to cope with the conditions.
For a factory rider those additional expenses might well be covered but for a privateer all the cost comes straight out of their own pocket which makes going to Finland a no-go for many.
And I think that’s kind of what EnduroGP promoter Alain Blanchard actually wants as he seems absolutely hell bent on streamlining the series.
And he may have succeeded.
As things stand – and we’re just a few days away for the cut-off for entries – there are just seven riders entered for the EnduroGP class, 12 in Enduro2, 10 in the Junior class and seven in the Youth division.
That’s 36 riders across all classes.
Admittedly it seems that some of the factory teams are yet to submit their paperwork but even that’s only gonna add another few.
If the opening round of the championship goes off with more than 60 riders battling it out I’ll be very surprised.
Similarly, the Motocross World Championship kicked off in Qatar at the weekend with only 24 (21 come race day) riders in the premier MXGP class and 32 (29 in the points payers) in MX2 – the cost of travelling to round one being too much for some teams/privateers to sustain.
While the problems with MXGP are admittedly different than EnduroGP’s the fact that they are problems caused by the promoter ‘trying to make the series better’ are exactly the same.
That said, I do believe that Sport7’s plans for the future of the Trial World Championship are exactly what that series needs to prosper.
The thinking behind the changes seems sound and the team behind the championship are adept at promoting, producing and then pulling off events.
The only bad thing I’ve got to say about it all is the fact that we have to wait until the middle of May for the opening round to happen.
I mean, some of the 2018 model motocrossers will be on sale by then…