France’s Michel Trannin – Honda is the first-ever Quad class winner of the new FIM Sand Races World Cup following a dramatic second afternoon of action in Portugal at the Monte Gordo Sand Experience that has concluded the series.
Following on from his victory in yesterday’s one-hour race, France’s Keveen Rochereau – Honda once again came out on top with another heroic performance on the scenic sands of the beautiful Algarve region, but having missed a round earlier in the year he was not in contention for the title and Trannin did exactly what he needed to do to write his way into the sport’s history books.
“It’s pure joy,” said Trannin. “I’m now thirty-seven and the opportunity I’ve had here [to win a FIM World Cup] won’t come again in my opinion. I feel so happy today. It was tough. I’m back from injury. I’ve been sidelined for ninety days. I didn’t train, I didn’t ride at all. However, I was confident I could do it and I’m very happy with the result.
“We saw yesterday that Pablo [Violet] was very fast. When I saw he was not in the mix today I knew I just had to finish ahead of him and repeated to myself not to crash or break the bike. On the final lap I was still doing the maths in my head to know if I was the overall winner and I really rode so slow!”
Trannin led heading into the third and final round after backing up his maximum points haul at the series opening Enduropale du Touquet Pas-de-Calais in France with third at the Enduro del Verano in Argentina, with his main opposition coming from his fellow countryman Pablo Violet – Yamaha.
With the results from both one-hour races combined to decide the weekend’s overall finishing positions, Violet’s second-placed finish yesterday gave him an advantage over Trannin who was fourth, but his challenge was effectively ended on the opening lap today.
Belgium’s Oliver Vandendijck – Honda raced into an early lead, just under four seconds ahead of Trannin as Violet found himself back in twenty-second and over forty-five seconds off the pace.
By lap three Vandendijck had extended his advantage to over ten seconds from Rochereau with Trannin looking comfortable in third. Playing a game of catch-up, Violet had strung together a series of passes that carried him up to eleventh, but at around one minute and twenty seconds behind the leader he had a mountain to climb.
As the race passed the halfway mark Rochereau closed dramatically on Vandendijck and following two fiercely-fought laps of bar-to-bar racing he finally hit the front on lap fifteen and then quickly checked out to put the seal on a hugely successful weekend.
As Rochereau raced to victory the focus was on the title fight and although Violet put in a super-human effort to advance to fourth, he was never close enough to trouble Trannin whose third place was enough for him to claim the inaugural FIM Sand Races World Cup.
With the destination of the coveted title now decided, riders can take a well-earned break before the 2024 contest gets under way at the beginning of February with the next edition of the Enduropale du Touquet Pas-de-Calais.