Team Husqvarna Monster Energy speedbrain enjoyed a successful debut to the 2011 German Cross Country Championship (GCC) at Walldorf in Thuringia, with Portuguese rider Paulo Gonçalves securing the runner-up spot and his first Pro class podium in his first ever GCC race.
With around 5,000 spectators coming to see the race action at Walldorf, the major problem the organizers were facing was the amount of dust, as it hadn’t rained in the Thuringia region for at least seven weeks. Even after watering the track to keep the dust down, it was a real battle for competitors to see where they were going and for spectators to actually see the competitors.
There were about 900 starters to the 2011 series opener, with 18 Pro class riders, including guest starter David Frétigné, who made a spectacular recovery from last place to finish fifth. The French rally legend wasn’t able to kick-start his bike immediately and was one of the last riders to head off on the first lap. Fortunately though, the team was running a big 11.5-liter (3 gallon) fuel tank, which allowed two hours of riding without having to come in for a pit-stop.
Team Husqvarna Monster Energy speedbrain’s Paulo Gonçalves made a great start and led on the first lap, but still had to ride cautiously on the track that comprised enduro sections through the woods, motocross and open field sections. In the second half of the race, the Portuguese rider, who has had notable success in rally riding recently, was overtaken in the Enduro section by eventual race winner Hans Vogels from Holland, who also set the fastest lap of the race of 9 minutes 20, only two seconds faster than Gonçalves.
“In the first few laps, even though I was not riding at 100 percent, I still felt cramps and was suffering with arm-pump for a while,” said Gonçalves after the race. “But then things improved and I was able to run at a good pace. It’s great to get this podium in the first round for Team Husqvarna Monster Energy speedbrain.”
Team Husqvarna Monster Energy speedbrain team-mate David Frétigné recovered from his bad start, although he had lost valuable time. First he had to find his way through the thick dust of the riders in front of him, but thanks to his strong stamina and the performance of his Husqvarna TE310, he got the third fastest lap time (9:23) and managed to fight his way up to fifth place — just 15 seconds off the podium — by the end of the two-hour race.
German Cross Country Championship, round 1, Walldorf, class XCPro results
1. Hans Vogels (NED), Husaberg
2. Paulo Gonçalves (POR), Husqvarna Monster Energy speedbrain
3. Aigar Leok (EST), TM
4. Denis Schröter (GER), Husqvarna
5. David Frétigné (FRA), Husqvarna Monster Energy speedbrain