The second round of the FIM Enduro European Championship headed to Paikuse in south-western Estonia on 8-9 July, which saw Australian’s Jess Gardiner taking a win and a second place, but more importantly extending her overall lead in the championship from six to thirteen points.
In contrast to the opening round of the series, which took place in Gouveia in Portugal in May, the track in Estonia consisted of loam sandy dirt, but sinking kind of dirt, which Gardiner has never seen before in her racing career.
“You literally see the ruts and think to yourself – it’s not deep, it looks ok,” explained Gardiner, who was piloting a Yamaha WR250F which was leant to her by the French Army.
“However as soon as you ride on it, if you put any gas on it you sink like one and half meters down, which stops you completely which was quite challenging.”
Day one of competition saw the 24-year-old claiming victory with a total time of 51min44.34.
Overall the day went quite well for Gardiner, even though she did have three crashes in three different tests during the day.
“It was a bit of an up-and-down day,” admitted Gardiner.
“Not only did have a few crashes out there, but I also got stuck in the mud once which resulted me having to get off and push the bike out. Otherwise the day went pretty well, as I did enjoy myself out there.”
Gardiner found the trail itself was quite easy, which did have quite a few bumps along the way. However, it was quite rough in the sand and the sand did get quite choppy.
“The first cross test I found it had a bazaar texture, as it was made up of a clay base sand which is really moist and slippery, then the other cross test was literary like riding on the beach, which is incredible and a lot of fun to race on.
In saying that the race itself was quite a physically demanding race on the body, having to race in the sand, as each lap the track was getting really rough. However I’m happy to come out on top again. We’ll go again tomorrow, but my plan is to try and keep it upright on two wheels.”
Keeping it up on two wheels the following day wasn’t to be for Gardiner, as once again it proved to be another physically demanding race for her due to her body being very sore from the previous day after being thrown around in the whoops in the sand.
“Today was quite tough as the tracks were destroyed,” said Gardiner at the conclusion of the day.
Gardiner explained that she made a lot mistakes in the tests. It all came down to the last test of the day where she had a thirty second lead over second place rider.
However, Gardiner was to have a high speed crash through the whoops which threw her around a bit and as a result bent her Yamaha WR250F up a fair bit.
“The crash took me a while to get going from, which did cost me a bit of time.
In the deep sand it took me a while to get my speed back up and it cost me four or five seconds. It was a tough day, but good racing at the same time,” said Gardiner, who ended the day in second place with a total time of 53min03.11.
“Well done to Nina [Klink] for taking the win today. She rode really well and proved to be the better rider on the day, so hats off to her. Main thing is, I’m happy to keep the overall lead in the championship and will turn my focus on that now.”
“I have to give a big thanks to the French Army team who lent me a Yamaha WR250F for this race,” expressed Gardiner, who pretty much making round two of the championship alone, just with the support from the French Army team and the FFM (Fédération Française de Motocyclisme).
The penultimate round of the FIM Enduro European Championship will take place in Burg, Germany on 5-6 September.
Next event for Gardiner will be round three of the Championnat de France d’enduro which heads to Bar-sur-Seine, a French commune in the Aube department in the Grand Est region of north-central France, which will take place on the last weekend of July.
Women’s FIM Enduro European Championship – after round 2 (top five):
1st Jess Gardiner 77
2nd Hanna Berzelius 64
3rd Marita Nyqvist 56
4th Nina Klink 50
5th Jennifer Siekkinen 43