News 20 Jul 2017

World champion Phillips to exit EnduroGP series

Tasmanian icon makes shock decision to depart Europe.

Source: Supplied.

Defending EnduroGP world champion Matthew Phillips has revealed he will depart the world championship at the conclusion of the 2017 season after informing his CH Racing-operated Sherco team that he won’t race-on in Europe next year.

At 24, four-time world champion Phillips will turn his back on the Enduro World Championship – disillusioned with the series direction – following five full seasons in Europe, but has yet to confirm what his future will hold.

“This was not an easy decision to take, but one I felt I must,” Phillips told leading European off-road website “It’s now my fifth year living in Italy, racing the Enduro World Championship and I’ve been rewarded with four world titles. It’s certainly been a dream run of results and I’m very satisfied to have worked respectively in two of the best teams in the business. I’ve also made many great life friends along the journey.

“The new class structure is killing the championship and hasn’t generated any extra public interest. There are less and less opportunities for private riders now — I know because many are my friends. When I first came to race in 2013 the world championship was amazing, [with] great venues, exciting racing and big numbers of riders and teams. Every year since it’s been getting somewhat smaller. Despite some amazing races over the last four years, I can still see a strain on the paddock.”

Phillips first went overseas full-time in 2013 and clinched the Enduro Junior championship on debut with CH Racing Husqvarna, before transferring to KTM Factory Racing in 2014 and winning the Enduro3 World Championship. In 2015 he was second in the E3 standings with KTM, before in 2016 he returned to CH Racing aboard Sherco machinery to become to first-ever EnduroGP champion and Enduro2 champion.

This season Phillips is currently fifth in the EnduroGP championship standings following the opening five rounds, the highlight coming with a double victory in Spain. Three rounds remain in the world championship, which Phillips will complete before his departure.