For the year 2018, the Enduro World Championship will come again to the three-class formation from way back in 2016. The contestants will be competing in the Enduro 1, Enduro 2 or Enduro 3 program once more. That shift will see the EnduroGP world title turn out to be the general champion of the three programs. Also, there will be an updates for the rankings in the junior category that is for encouraging riders back into the series.
The 2018 EnduroGP season is only a week away from starting and will be held in Finland. An interview was made to the man behind the championship event, Alain Blanchard.
For 2018 the Enduro World Championship returns to three classes plus an overall champion. Why have you made this change?
“In 2017 when we decided to have two classes it was a decision reached between everyone from the manufacturers to organisers with the objective of seeing how it worked. We always said that if it didn’t work we would come back to the old format of 2016 without any issue.” told Alain Blanchard.
What did you learn from the 2017 class structure?
“For us it was not a surprise to see less riders competing in 2017, it was only maybe eight or 10 less than normal, but it was a problem that needed addressing. We’re a sport where we need more riders to help fund the individual event organisers through entry fees. Unlike a purpose-built facility it’s not really possible to charge spectators to come and watch. So with fewer riders that was going to discourage organisers from wanting to run events in the future. We feel a return to the three classes is a solution to this problem. Riders and manufacturers liked the 2016 format, it worked. What we need to do now is to mix quality and quantity and find the right balance. I hope it works and we find stability for the next few years.”
Along with the reintroduction of three Senior classes, there a number of changes to the Junior categories too. What is the aim there?
“The goal is to bring back riders, that’s why we have two classes in Juniors — the youth and future of our sport. There will still only be one overall champion in Juniors but now there is an additional title to win within that category. Also the 125cc category moves up to 21 years of age. The Youth Cup 125cc class is a less in-depth calendar of racing with not every round of the EnduroGP calendar counting. We feel it helps their budget and makes it more easier to commit to the full series. Parents are mostly paying the way here and the riders have studies at home to do so we have tried to consider these aspects in the changes.”
Was it intentional to keep the championship in Europe for 2018?
“That was a goal. At the moment everyone wants to stay in Europe. It suits the majority of rider’s budgets. While it is good to race abroad not everyone can do so and that diminishes the quality of the entry. We’ll focus here with traditional and classic enduro, which forms the majority of the championship. Those events embody the spirit of enduro.”
Are you happy with the quality and mix of races the world championship will have in 2018?
“If you look at the 2017 changes the addition of the GP of Finland was successful and the UK race was a nice event too. It’s why we want to improve. For 2018 we’ve added a hard enduro styled race but maintain our focus to keep good traditional enduro. We want to work hard to have good events and build good relations in the traditional European enduro markets like Germany, Italy, Spain, France and England.”
The 2018 Enduro Class Capacity Rules
Enduro 1 (E1) is kept for machines up to 250cc, all-encompassing two and four-stroke. Enduro 2 (E2) is starting 250cc to 450cc four stroke, among Enduro 3 (E3) higher than 250cc two-stroke and 450cc four-stroke. The EnduroGP rankings will be based on the collective overall standings of E1, E2 and E3.
For the juniors category, the overall ranking will remain and in addition the said category will be separated into two sub-categories to help give confidence to more riders. The Junior 1 (J1) is up to maximum of 250cc two-stroke and four, while the Junior 2 (J2) greater than 250cc two-stroke and four. The Youth Cup 125cc class raised its age boundary to 21 years old. There will be eight days of racing over the season into the championship.