After showing incredible speed throughout the 2021 season on his way to claiming both the Enduro2 world title and the overall win at the International Six Days Enduro, Josep Garcia will take on a new challenge early in 2022 as he contests the first three rounds of the prestigious GNCC series.
It has been a lifelong dream of the talented Spaniard to race the tough cross-country series and pit his talents against some of the best offroad riders in North America. And with the EnduroGP World Championship starting later this year in May, the opportunity has finally come for the 25-year-old to make that dream a reality.
With their mass starts and three-hour duration, GNCC races are very different to the special test format of the EnduroGP World Championship. However, Garcia has shown in the past, including his two years contesting the WESS World Championship, that he’s more than capable of adapting his riding to unfamiliar conditions and challenges.
The 2021 E2 champion is set to compete at the Big Buck in South Carolina, the Wild Boar in Florida, and the General in Georgia – three very different races that will offer a variety of terrain and conditions ranging from tight woods, to open fields, and sand tracks. Maintaining a strong, but solid pace over the often-degrading course for the full three hours is key to a top result.
Making the best use of his time away from Europe, Josep will also take the opportunity to train with the North American KTM Factory Racing team riders before returning back to Europe in time to shift his attention to classic enduro and the opening round of the FIM EnduroGP World Championship, held in Spain from May 6-8.
Josep Garcia: “After many years, I have finally got the chance to go to the United States and race in the GNCC. The plan is to compete in the first three rounds before returning to Europe for the Spanish and World enduro championships. It’s been a long-standing goal of mine to do some GNCC races and this year, thanks to KTM Factory Racing and KTM USA, I will fulfil my dream. At the Six Days last year, a lot of the American riders encouraged me to race the series, and now I’m really looking forward to doing some three-hour cross-countries. Winter training for me has gone very well. We have made some improvements to the bike in Italy with the team, and I definitely feel good and ready for a new challenge. There’s no pressure, so the plan is to go over there, try my best, and enjoy it.”
Fabio Farioli – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Enduro Team Manager: “Josep has been keen to travel to the U.S. and race in GNCC for a few years now, but obviously with the pandemic situation that wasn’t possible. Now he has the chance to race the first few rounds of the series and will also use the time there to train in different conditions and with the American riders. It will be interesting to see how he gets on as GNCC racing is very different to the EnduroGP World Championship, but I believe he can be very competitive. By doing the first three rounds only, it means Josep will have nearly two months to train for the first round of EnduroGP, which starts in Spain.”
Antti Kallonen – Director of Offroad Racing, KTM Group North America: “We’re really happy to have Josep come over and train together with our factory riders at the exclusive Ranch Russell training facility. Our riders are busy preparing for their season here and it will be good to help Garcia prepare for his season over in Europe. Also the timing is lining up nicely for him to race the first three rounds of the GNCC and showcase his speed and his ability to race cross-country in the premier U.S. series. I’m looking forward to spending a few weeks with Josep and helping him, as well as him helping us, prepare for the season.”