Another display of brilliance from Hawkesbury endurance rider Jess Gardiner at the second round of the Championnat de France d’enduro resulted in first place victories on both days for the 24-year-old.
The track at Gacé, north-west France, was the polar opposite to the opening round of the championship, which was held in Le Luc in mid-April. Gacé was grass tracks, a lot of camber, flat out and nothing technical, which has never been Gardiner’s forte.
On top of that, overnight rain made conditions quite challenging for the Aussie on the opening day of competition. However, despite the conditions, Gardiner managed to finish inside the top three in all six of her heats during the day.
Gardiner topped the time sheet in the third and final heat, but admitted at the conclusion of the day that she did struggle, a lot.
In fact, Gardiner went into the final heat of the day in third place overall in the standings. Gardiner said she gave it everything she could in the final test and managed to beat her nearest rival, Samantha Tichet by 13.891 seconds.
“At the beginning of the day it was just so slippery and I couldn’t find my rhythm,” Gardiner said.
“Coming into the last test of the day I was a bit more confident as it was a bit drier towards the end of the day. I said to myself I must push.
“So, I gave it everything I had and in the end I managed to win the round, which I’m happy about as I was quite disappointed with my day.”
The former three times Australian off-road champion explained that she couldn’t find the feel with the bike as the track was so slick and no lines to pick, which made it quite hard.
“The course was quite hard for me, so I’m glad to get the win in the end.”
Unfortunately, mother-nature was again to make racing a real test for Gardiner on the second day of competition with overnight rain and rain in the early hours of the morning.
However, it stopped just before the get go. Gardiner was simply in a class of her own as she took an imperious victory taking out all six tests and winning with a total time of 36min17.024, 54.435 seconds ahead of Tichet.
“The second test was a bit of challenge as it started pouring with rain making the track extremely slippery.
“However, the Michelin tyres proved once again they are best when it comes to riding in the dry or the wet which showed today as the team and I managed to hang on for the win in that test and the other five as well.”
With another clean sweep and taking away twenty points each day, it now sees Gardiner extending her championship lead over Tichet from six to twelve points.
Round three of the Championnat de France d’enduro now 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.
The next event for Gardiner will be the Trèfle Lozérien AMV, which is the most prestige classic race in France on the first weekend of June, before she turns her attention to the second round of the Women’s FIM Enduro GP World Championship in Parádfürdó in Hungary on 23-25 June.
For the meantime, Gardiner will travel 100km south to the famous Le Mans circuit for next weekend’s fifth round of the MotoGP™ World Championship as a guest of Dorna Sports, the commercial rights holder for the motorcycling sport of MotoGP™.
Championnat de France d’enduro championship standings (top 5) – After 2 rounds: 1st Jess Gardiner 80 2nd Samantha Tichet 68 3rd Juliette Berrez 60 4th Valerie Roche 50 5th Justine Martel 46