For Josep Garcia, round seven of the World Enduro Super Series – BR2 Enduro Solsona in Spain – will very much be a home race. Living just 20 minutes from the event, the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider has grown up in the Lleida region, honing his world-class Enduro skills on the Catalonian dirt. Now, with BR2 Enduro Solsona marking the penultimate round of the WESS 2019 series, Garcia will look to deliver a memorable win on home soil. Already a winner, thanks to his Trefle Lozerien AMV victory earlier this year, securing the top step of the podium this weekend is sure to boost his position in the championship standings heading to the GetzenRodeo next month…
Josep, BR2 Enduro Solsona will see you race at home in Spain, are you excited to get started?
Josep Garcia: “I’ve been looking forward to BR2 Enduro Solsona all year. It’s more than just a Spanish race for me because it’s my home race. It’s happening 20 minutes from where I live. I know the area well. It’s where I’ve grown up and so all my family and friends will come to watch. I want to deliver a good result and fight for the win.”
As a local to BR2 Enduro Solsona, what can people expect for this weekend’s race?
“The BR2 Enduro Solsona will be a nice place to race – I think people will enjoy it a lot. It’s got everything needed to make a great event. The weather is also not typically Spanish. It’s very possible that it can rain and if that happens it will be really slippery and technical to ride – a big challenge for sure. Also, the region is very passionate about Enduro, so I know a lot of spectators will come out to cheer on the riders. It’s going to be a big race.”
As a former Enduro World Champion, what top tips can you offer to newcomers to Classic Enduro?
“I always believe that the Enduro test will decide the race. It’s long, technical and difficult to get right. Try to put your best into that test – ride with a smooth, fast flow and don’t crash! A lot of people struggle to manage the liaison sections too. They go too fast and waste energy for the tests or go too slow and lose time. I try to ride the liaison sections on lap one at about 75 per cent. Then you know how the times are set and if you need to improve or slow down during the following laps.”
You injured your hand prior to Hawkstone Park Cross-Country, what happened?
“Unfortunately, I injured my finger two weeks before Hawkstone Park Cross-Country and that didn’t make things easy for me. I was training and twisted my finger in a rock garden without crashing. It broke a ligament and required surgery to fix it. Normally the doctors say it requires one-month recovery, so I was glad to make it to the race. During Sunday’s race it was sore, but I managed it as best I could. Now, with some more recovery I want to be strong in Solsona.”
How are you finding the switch to the 250 four-stroke for Classic Enduro?
“I’m enjoying being back on my KTM 250 EXC-F. It’s my favourite bike and I feel most comfortable on it. While I like the two-stroke for Hard Enduro, I think I ride at my best on the four-stroke. I feel most at home on it – in the corners, carrying speed and just having fun. It suits me best for Classic Enduro.”
With strong results in this year’s Hard Enduro races, do you feel more confident in that terrain?
“Definitely, having experience from 2018 certainly helps. I learned a lot last year and feel like I’ve made big improvements in my riding and how I think as a racer. In the past I was very nervous about the difficult extreme sections, but now when you have raced somewhere like Erzbergrodeo Red Bull Hare Scramble or Red Bull Romaniacs, they don’t scare you so much! Of course I’ve still got a lot of work to do to close that gap to the very top riders, but we’re making steps all the time. I’ve shown this year that the work is beginning to pay off.”
Finally, with the championship on the home straight, are you beginning to think about the final standings?
“With the end of the season closing in I had hoped for a better result at the Hawkstone Park Cross-Country. But with my bad start and hand injury, fifth was the best I could do on the day. This weekend is my best chance to fight for the victory. That’s what’s on my mind – win at home. If I can do that, then we’ll see how much it changes things before the final round at GetzenRodeo.”