The YXZ1000R Cup competitors arrived in Jaén, Andalusia, keen to kick off the season and ready for the challenge ahead, which, taking place alongside the Spanish Off-Road Rally Championship (CERTT), consisted of 338 km of special stages, with the hard, dusty ground and extreme heat proving an excellent test for the drivers and their Yamaha SSVs.
The rally kicked off on Saturday morning with a 5 km prologue in Bujarkay, and immediately the Cup drivers showed their skill and the capabilities of the YXZ1000R, with three teams finishing in the top five overall. Leading the way in the Cup were Agustín González and Rubén Ruiz, finishing just 2.5 seconds ahead of Caamaño, whose co-driver on this occasion was Carmelo Moliné instead of his brother Juan José, with Mesa and Cano in third.
Next up for the teams was the 104 km Jaén-Fuerte del Rey special, where they were faced with a challenging mixture of fast-flowing terrain combined with the dust kicked up by the competitors in front, forcing the drivers to take risks and making navigation essential. Completing two runs on the route on Saturday, Caamaño set the pace and took the stage victory in the morning before Víctor González struck back in the afternoon to win the second special over the same terrain and take the overall lead over his rival by just 17 seconds, with Mesa in third, six minutes and 42 seconds behind.
While it seemed like a two-way battle for the victory between Caamaño and Víctor González, Sunday's 124 km Mancha Rael-Baeza stage would prove one of attrition for the YXZ1000R Cup drivers. Starting at dawn, the issues caused by the dust were compounded by a low sun, making the first few kilometres extremely tough for the Cup teams, with a number of crews experiencing problems, including Víctor González, who saw his chances of victory evaporate after spending almost two hours to complete the special.
Nothing could stop the Andalusian duo of Caamaño and Moliné, though, as they took their second stage win of the weekend ahead of Mesa and Cano to secure the opening Spanish YXZ1000R Cup victory of the season. Mesa and Cano were second overall at their home race, nine minutes and 59 seconds behind, as they secured their first podium in the cup, with Víctor González and Barangé claiming third, despite the issues they experienced on the final stage.
The 2022 YXZ1000R European Cup SuperFinale winner Miquel Prat and his new co-driver Mario González made sure it was a weekend to remember for Yamaha as they steered their YXZ1000R to the overall victory in the CERTT SSV class. The duo dominated proceedings to secure the win by 16 minutes and 22 seconds, with the reliability and competitiveness of the YXZ1000Rs highlighted as Caamaño and Moliné were third overall in the SSV class, ahead of Mesa and Cano in fourth, and González and Barangé in sixth, with five Yamaha’s in the top seven.
The second round of the Spanish Yamaha YXZ1000R Cup will take place at the Baja TT Dehesa de Extremadura on the 15th-16th of April.
Yamaha YXZ1000R Cup Spain Results:
1. Edesio Caamaño / Carmelo Moliné 4h 47’45”
2. Fernando Mesa / Iván Cano +9’59”
3. Víctor González / Carles Barangé +14’36
Yamaha YXZ1000R Cup Spain 2023 Standings:
1. Edesio Caamaño 50 pts
2. Fernando Mesa 42 pts
3. Víctor González 36 pts
CERTT SSV Results: *
1. Miquel Prat / Mario González 4h 29’11”
2. Guillermo Gómez/Jesús Ángel Hernández +16’22”
3. Edesio Caamaño/Carmelo Moliné +18’33”
4. Fernando Mesa/Iván Cano +28’33”
5. Miguel Valero/Raquel Cecilia +29’17”
6. Víctor González/Carles Barangé +33’09
7. Juan López/Patricio Pérez +2h29’22”
CERT SSV Standings:
1. Miquel Prat 50 pts
2. Guillermo Gómez 42 pts
3. Edesio Caamaño 36 pts
4. Fernando Mesa 32 pts
5. Miguel Valero 29 pts
6. Víctor González 27 pts
7. Juan López 25 pts
*Where bold Indicates a Yamaha YXZ1000R