Fantic Factory Racing‘s Axel Semb kicked off the EnduroGP World Championship season in the best possible way, clinching a victory and a podium in the Junior 2 and Junior classes in Portugal. Kevin Cristino also impressed in the Junior and Junior 1 classes. 

On Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th April the doors of the 2024 FIM EnduroGP World Championship season officially opened on Portuguese soil. Fafe, a little over 50 km from Porto, hosted the first round that started off on Friday 5th April with the traditional parade through the streets of the town, followed by the long-awaited Super Test in the evening.

Fantic Factory Racing’s new entry, Axel Semb, pulled off an incredible performance on the Fantic XEF 310 in Fafe. His final score was a well-deserved first place in the Junior and Junior 2 classen on the opening day. He was again right on the sharp end on day 2 but a 30-second penalty didn’t allow him to complete the perfect weekend. He still collected a second place in the Junior 2 and a third place in the Junior classes and, most importantly, leads the standings.

An excellent performance was shown also by reigning Youth class champion Kevin Cristino. He did a strong race on the Fantic XEF 250, taking first place in the Junior 1 class and second place in the Junior class on day 1. On day 2, Cristino made a mistake in the first special test but still recorded excellent times in the following special tests that earned him a fourth place in the Junior 1 class and a seventh place in the Junior class.

Reigning Junior class champion Jed Etchells did a solid race in the E2 class, collecting two fifth places and setting good times on all special tests. In the E3 class Albin Norrbin was not quite able to fully express his potential. Over the two days of racing, the Swede collected an eighth place on the opening day and an encouraging sixth place on Sunday. On Day 2, Norrbin set excellent class times in the Enduro Test and Extreme Test on the new fuel-injected Fantic XE 300 with Minarelli engine.

For Fantic Junior Racing Enduro, the weekend proved somewhat complicated. Pietro Scardina had already arrived in Portugal with a knee ligament issue while Valentino Corsi injured his knee on Friday in the training area. The two Fantic XE 125 riders scored two seventh places for Scardina and a thirteenth and a ninth for Corsi. A new chance is coming up soon though, with the EnduroGP paddock already moving to Valpagos, again in Portugal, where the second round of the 2024 season will be held next weekend (April 13th and 14th).

AXEL SEMB: “I am very satisfied with my start to the season. Despite the penalty I am leading in both classes and the important thing is that we have shown that we are capable of winning both race days and aiming for the title.”

JED ETCHELLS: “I am not fully satisfied with the weekend but considering it as a first race among the top riders I can be happy with the final score. The special tests, especially on Sunday, became challenging and technical.”

PIETRO SCARDINA: “I arrived in Portugal with a knee ligament issue but I pushed through and tried to collect as many points as possible. Unfortunately, starting the World Championship with an injury spoiled our plans.”