The track at Gacé was a polar opposite to the opening round of the championship, which was held in Le Luc in mid-April. Gacé was simply just grass tracks, a lot of camber, flat out and nothing technical at all, which has never been Gardiner’s forte at all. On top of that, overnight rain made conditions quite challenging for Gardiner on the opening day of competition.
However, despite challenging conditions, Gardiner did manage to finish inside the top three in all six of her heats during the day. Gardiner managed to top the time sheets 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 explained that 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,” explained Gardiner. “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 technical for me, so I’m glad to get the win in the end. I’m looking forward for tomorrow and hopefully keep up my winning spree here in the French Enduro Championship. Hopefully the rain stays away tonight. If it does, I believe the track will only be slick for the first couple of tests in the morning.”
Unfortunately, mother-nature again was to make racing a real test for Gardiner on the second day of competition with overnight rain, 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.
“Today was a bit better,” expressed Gardiner at the conclusion of the second day. “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.
“Overall it’s been a great day. It’s a great way to reward the Rider Camp Yamaha team with these race wins this weekend. Everyone in the team are working extremely hard and providing me a fantastic Yamaha WR250F to go and race with, which just makes my job so much easier. So, a big thankyou to them and everyone else who continues to support me along the way.”
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 Trčfle 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
Credits: Mastorgne Images: Jess Gardiner
Words from Yamaha Motor Australia