Beta Factory Racing’s Steve Holcombe captured the 2020 EnduroGP World Championship title in Portugal, November 14-15, in dramatic fashion after a hard-fought battle with rival and teammate Brad Freeman.
Photos by Future7Media
After clinching the Enduro 2 World Championship title on day one of the season’s final event, Holcombe had just one all-important box left to tick as far as his 2020 season was concerned—that of securing the EnduroGP crown. With a four-point lead over fellow Brit, Freeman, things were anything but settled. And with weather conditions turning sour, the championship outcome came right down to the wire.
While Freeman flourished, Holcombe struggled throughout the day Sunday in the wet conditions and his title hopes seemed to be slipping away. Everything was falling perfectly into place for the 2019 EnduroGP World Champion, Freeman, as Josep Garcia (KTM) got in between the two Brits and allowed Freeman some breathing space. Holcombe had a day littered with mistakes and things weren’t looking good for him—until the last special test of the season!
The championship riders were held for 30 minutes due to the national riders still completing the last test, and there were issues about the amount of fuel left in Freeman’s bike.
This question was soon answered and the Freeman lost one minute and 20 seconds on the final Champion Enduro test of the season to test winner Danny McCanney (Honda). Freeman had quite simply run out of fuel. This initially benefited Garcia, who was able to get his second day victory of the year, but more so Holcombe, who had lost all hope in the title and suddenly found himself crowned 2020 EnduroGP World Champion! It was a highly dramatic end to the championship, which seemed somewhat fitting after a tumultuous year due to Covid-19 and all the scheduling changes.
The title marks Beta Motorcycles’ first EnduroGP crown on four-stroke machinery, with Holcombe riding the RR Racing 4T 350.
“I’m lost for words right now,” Holcombe said. “It’s hard to explain how much winning this EnduroGP title on the 350F means to both Beta Motorcycles and myself. Today was a crazy day, in a way I guess it’s fitting for how strange 2020 has been. I was behind [and]…not able to find the speed I had on day one. But I just tried to keep fighting and hoping for a break. When the weather turned, things changed, and, well, here I am as world champion. I feel for Brad because he was doing everything right, but in an instant his luck was out. Unfortunately, that’s racing—I’ve been there before and know how that feels.”
Freeman opened the weekend with the day’s win on Saturday, topping Holcombe by just a few seconds, with Garcia third. Garcia came back and topped Sunday’s race, followed by Holcombe and Freeman.
Holcombe finished out the championship with 146 points to Freeman’s 140. TM’s Andrea Verona took third in the championship with 100 points.
It wasn’t all bad for Freeman, he came away with the E3-class Championship.