It’s an explosive start to the opening day of the Maxxis Enduro World Championship Scandinavian tour as day one at the GP Husaberg of Sweden in Karlsborg gets underway.
With the EWC returning to Sweden for the first time since 2008 it’s the French trio of Antoine MEO (KTM), Christophe NAMBOTIN (KTM) and Mathias BELLINO (Husaberg) that win Enduro 1, Enduro 2 and Enduro Junior. However, Finland’s Juha SALMINEN (Husqvarna) becomes the spoiler of the French party as he grabs victory in Enduro 2.
Italy’s Giacomo REDONDI (KTM) is crowned the first world champion of the 2012 season. By claiming his tenth consecutive victory in the Enduro Youth Cup, REDONDI secures his first ever world title on day one in Sweden.
After struggling through the Friday evening Super Test, KTM’s Christophe NAMBOTIN (F) immediately picked up his pace during the morning tests to gain an early lead in Enduro 3. Setting the fastest times in both the Cross Test and the long and technical forestry based Enduro Test NAMBOTIN continued to build his advantage throughout the day to secure victory.“It was a very tough day for me,” confirmed NAMBOTIN at the end of day one. “I had to work hard to recover from my crash during the Super Test. Thankfully, I was able to set some fast times in the Enduro Test, which helped me to win.”Clearly enjoying the loose, sandy terrain of Sweden, Estonia’s Aigar LEOK (TM) recorded his best result of the season since the GP of Chile to finish as runner up to NAMBOTIN. Battling hard with home favourite, Husaberg’s Joakim LJUNGGREN (S), the TM rider eventually placed almost 13 seconds clear of his rival. For LJUNGGREN, hopes of victory at his home race were soon dashed with numerous mistakes in the second Cross Test. Setting some fast times during the final lap, the Husaberg rider was able to end his day on the podium with third place.Italy’s Manuel MONNI (KTM) was the surprise performance of Enduro 3 as he delivered his best result of the season to place fourth. With MONNI fourth, Finland’s Marko TARKKALA (Beta) completed the top five.
Putting the effects of a summer flu to the back of his mind, France’s Antoine MEO (KTM) grabbed a hard fought victory in Enduro 1. Physically unable to ride to his maximum ability, MEO made a cautious start to the morning and gradually upped his pace as the day progressed to claim his ninth win of the season.“I want to thank all the efforts of my team in helping me get through today,” remarked MEO. “I felt very weak and couldn’t ride to my maximum ability but my team worked hard to ensure this good result for me.”Sherco’s Fabien PLANET (F) was another rider to truly enjoy the typical Scandinavian conditions as he powered his way to a personal best result of second place. Fending off a strong challenge from Italy’s Thomas OLDRATI (KTM), PLANET set the fastest time in the final two Extreme Tests to finish 19 seconds behind MEO.Equalling his result from day two at the GP of Italy, OLDRATI proved he is capable in all types of terrain to grab third.Missing out on a podium result by an agonising six seconds, Finland’s Matti SEISTOLA (Husqvarna) ended his day in fourth. Crashing numerous times in the Extreme Test, Eero REMES (FIN – KTM) saw his chance of a podium result slip away and finished fifth.
Finland’s Juha SALMINEN (Husqvarna) laid on a master class of racing in sand to easily top the Enduro 2 standings. Recording the fastest time in five of the day’s ten special tests, SALMINEN claimed victory by almost 40 seconds.I had no major problems today and my times were really strong in the Enduro Test,” said a pleased SALMINEN. “The track was very wet and muddy in the liaison sections between the tests, which made for a physical race. I expect tomorrow will be a tougher day but hopefully I can repeat this result.”Unable to match the fast pace set by SALMINEN on lap one, France’s Pela RENET (Husaberg) was forced to settle for second. Although picking his speed up during the final stages of the day, RENET couldn’t close the gap to the Husqvarna rider and finished day one as runner up in Enduro 2. Behind him, Spain’s Cristobal GUERRERO (KTM) battled back from a bad start in the morning to claim the final step of the podium with third.Charging hard throughout the day, KTM’s Johnny AUBERT (F) looked assured of a podium result until a costly one-minute time penalty dropped back behind his teammate GUERRERO to finish fourth. Rounding out the top five, Italy’s Alex SALVINI (Husqvarna) was fifth.
Husaberg’s Mathias BELLINO (F) once again stamped his authority on Enduro Junior as he claimed a commanding 57-second margin of victory. Setting the fastest of the evening during the Friday Super Test, the French rider continued to build on his race lead during the day to secure his eighth win of the season.
Behind him the battle for the remainder of the podium positions was fought out between Italy’s Jonathan MANZI (KTM), Sweden’s Johan EDLUND (Husaberg) and Britain’s Danny MCCANNEY (Gas Gas). With MANZI finishing second, EDLUND earned his first podium result of the year with third pushing MCCANNEY back into fourth. Italy’s Edoardo D’AMBROSIO (KTM) completed the top five.
Italy’s Giacomo REDONDI (KTM) claimed the win in Enduro Youth Cup to confirm himself as world champion. Italy’s Matteo BRESOLIN (Husaberg) finished second with Sweden’s Oliver NELSON (KTM) completing the top three.