Franco and Steichen take Victory in Portugal
Franco Sport drivers Mário Franco and Eric Steichen took commanding Open and Stock category wins at round four of the Yamaha YXZ1000R Portugal Cup at the Baja TT de Reguengos on 24-26 May.
Held alongside the Portuguese Off-Road Championship, the fourth round of the exclusive YXZ1000R series was run as part of the 31st edition of the Baja TT Capital dos Vinhos de Portugal on challenging tracks in the Reguengos de Monsaraz region.
The Open class for modified YXZ1000Rs featured seven teams at the start of the round, and saw Mário Franco with co-driver Nuno Matias Guilherme repeat the victory they achieved a month ago at the Baja TT da Ferraria. Nuno and Paula Gameiro of the Vaz Racing Team finished the race in second position with the pairing of José and Pedro Manescas of Franco Sport completing the podium in third.
A delay in the initial phase of the race forced Franco Sport pair André Rodrigues and Ricardo Porto Nunes to push hard to make up lost time. They were able to finish second in the final stage and fourth place overall, maintaining the lead in the Yamaha YXZ1000R Portugal Cup. Filipe Rodrigues completed the final classification in fifth, with retirements from António Ferreira and the Fernando Pinheiro and Bernardo Miguel duo.
In the Stock class the highlight was the return of 2018 YXZ1000R champion Vasco Melo, who engaged in a thrilling duel with Steichen, winner of the previous three stages. Melo led at the end of the first stage with a fifteen second advantage. On the last day of the round however Frenchman Steichen was stronger, and he won for the fourth time nearly three minutes ahead of Melo who was followed by the junior duo João Franco and Pedro in an impressive third place.
The Yamaha YXZ 1000R Portugal Cup will now take a summer break and returns to action on the 21/22 September at the Baja TT Idanha-a-Nova.