-- KTM dominate World Enduro GP of
- Day 1 (Rnd 3) - GP POLISPORT of PORTUGAL – Vale de Cambra, Day 1
The summer heat of the past few days faded away this morning at the start of the first day of the POLISPORT GP of Portugal, the relief of the 105 riders involved in this 2nd Grand Prix of the season. This 72 km long circuit around the VALE de CAMBRA, particularly feared by most, was a little less difficult than previously thought. “This course is a little easier than in Spain and less difficult that the Grand Prix that we have been previously used to in Portugal…” confided Mika AHOLA (FIN - HM HONDA) at the end of the first lap…. “The Cross text Special is lovely and fast. On the other hand, the Enduro Test is rather slow and necessarily suited to my bike, where as the extreme natural Special is very technical”
In fact, the Finnish World Champion couldn’t have put it better since the battle was incredible throughout the whole day in Enduro 3, where the trio made up of Christophe NAMBOTIN (FRA - GAS GAS), David KNIGHT (GB - KTM), Mika AHOLA led a top speed race from the very first timed sections…
The incredible David KNIGHT….
Having been distances from the very first kilometres, GUILLAUME (FRA - HVA), KEHR (GER - KTM), MENA (ESP - HUSABERG), LJUNGGREN (SWE - HUSABERG) weren’t able at all to get near to the trio ahead of them…. and it is the incredible David KNIGHT (GB - KTM) who takes the lead after a lightening last lap! “ It is excellent to win here, despite the pain in my hip!” It is an enormous surprise when we know that the Brit has a serious injury on his hip and was talking about having an operation as soon as possible!!!!! Intoxication? Bluff? Henceforth, everything seems possible with David KNIGHT ! Mika AHOLA grabs the second place off the tough Christophe NAMBOTIN in the very last extreme special.
Pierre Alexandre RENET
Stratospheric throughout the whole day on his KTM 350 en Enduro 2, Johny AUBERT (FRA) proves that he is still a potential candidate, despite the 50 point lag behind Antoine MEO (FRA - HVA)….. “Pela RENET helped me along for the whole day and this victory is more of a relief for the whole team, after our problems in Spain. The day was much harder than the result would indicate. The terrain is very rough with many pebbles and dust, which adds to the difficulty of the event…”
With this, his first success of the year, Johny AUBERT reduces by already 9 points his lag on the Antoine MEO, since Pierre Alexandre RENET (FRA - HUSABERG) score a remarkable second place, whilst Cristobal GUERRERO (ESP - KTM), Johny AUBERT’s teammate, reaches Antoine MEO, also taking advantage of an error made by the E1 World Champion, who stalls his engine of his 310 HVA in the last Extreme Special. Antoine MEO, just like Ivan CERVANTES (ESP - GAS GAS), pays the price for a laborious start to the race and a particular aversion to the Special Extreme.
Johny AUBERT amazing….
Forgotten therefore the electrical failures of the Spanish GP for the KTM team…. But Eero REMES (FIN - KTM) will not be able to match the triumphant march of his compatriot Juha SALMINEN (FIN - HVA), ahead from beginning to end in the Enduro 1. Rodrig THAIN (FRA - HM HONDA) completes the podium and confirms his perfect relationship with his little HM HONDA 250.. The breakage of a small connecting rod in the suspension of his SHERCO, impedes Fabien PLANET (FRA) from confirming his place on the Spanish GP podium, whereas Matti SEISTOLA (FIN - HVA) 4th, loses some precious points in the championship. A nice start from the Belgian, Cedric MELOTTE on his little GAS GAS 250cc 4-stroke gaining a decent 6th place.
The Finnish are most definitely in good form at this the beginning of the championship and the most promising of all is Anti HELLSTEN (KTM) dominated without doubt the day in the ENDURO JUNIORS in front of a cohort of French riders (DUMONTIER, JOLY, FORTUNATO…) and the very fast Mario ROMAN (ESP - KTM). And then, how can we not mention the stunning duel in the 125cc 2 stroke (FIM YOUTH CUP) saw the Italian Jonathan MANZI (KTM) against the local Luis OLIVEIRA (POR - YAMAHA), wild in front of his public!! and the rider of the YAMAHA CRN FUNDADOR team , leads, much to the delight of the numerous local spectators….
Ludivine PUY (FRA - GAS GAS) leads once again with the women’s category, but Laia SANZ (ESP - HONDA) continues to creep closer to the world Champion and her first victory won’t long in the waiting. The German, Heike PETRICK (GER - KTM) finishes the day well and just gets the podium place ahead of the French Blandine DUFRENE (GAS GAS).
Tomorrow morning, from 9 am , the second part of this POLISPORT Portuguese Grand Prix takes place, followed by a highly knowledgeable and enthusiastic public….
- Day 2 (Rnd 4) - AUBERT and REMES throw open the Championship…
The traditional inaugural round of the Championships “Spain / Portugal” came to a close today in the Vale De Cambra, much to the relief of the riders who have been harangued by 4 days of intense competition. The dust, the heat, the deep ruts and the rugged terrain made this second day of the POLISPORT GP of Portugal a very difficult one indeed. The falls were numerous and spectacular, especially in the extreme special where more than 5000 spectators were able to appreciate the technical know-how of the best enduro riders in the world.
The German Marcus KEHR (KTM) was one of the first to abandon from as early as the Enduro Test. Diagnosis: fractured metacarpus. And in this same special, another great of the Enduro 3 category, the Frenchman Sébastien GUILLAUME (HVA) will make a mistake and will come out of it with a dislocated shoulder. A hard knock for the vice champion of the world, already having been injured this winter on the same shoulder and who therefore sees all hope of grabbing the world title disappear…… In this Enduro 3 category, the “KNIGHT / NAMBOTIN / AHOLA” trio follows its incredible battle throughout the whole day in furious spates. Despite some intestinal concerns, Mika AHOLA (FIN - HM HONDA) showed his class during the 9 timed sections and as always, finished with an exceptional lap which enabled him to beat David KNIGHT (GB - KTM) and Christophe NAMBOTIN (FRA - GAS GAS).
AHOLA resists KNIGHT and NAMBOTIN
Joakim LJUNGGREN (SWE - HUSABERG) seems to be making progress on his HUSABERG 2 stroke and finishes 4th in front of his teammates TARKKALA (FIN) and MENA (ESP). “I felt much better than yesterday and I didn’t make any mistakes in the extreme special. But NAMBOTIN is really very strong and should be able to creep up in the next few races. As a team, we are going to have to continue to work hard, in particular on the engine of my bike before the Italian Grand Prix. ……” With a total of 97 points, Mika AHOLA is definitely the man to beat in E3.
Like yesterday, Johnny AUBERT (FRA - KTM) shines in this event, showing his class on his KTM 350 and blowing away the Enduro 2 category…. “I leave this Portuguese Grand Prix feeling reassured. But the day really wasn’t easy and RENET put a lot of pressure on me at the beginning of the race. I reclaimed 12 points from Antoine MEO with this double success and as the season is still long, I am still hopeful despite the letdown in Spain.” Pierre Alexandre RENET (FRA - HUSABERG) kept up until the half-way mark. It is at this point that Antoine MEO (FRA - HVA), current category leader, put in some serious speed and stole the 2nd place on the podium from the HUSABERG representative. Cristobal GUERRERO (ESP - KTM) finishes with a convincing 4th place.
First victory for REMES
If the Enduro 2 category appears to be a French only race, the Enduro 1 seems to be reserved for the Finnish riders. Eero REMES (KTM), with his jockey build, managed a very good race and wins outright his first Grand Prix of the season and above all reminds his fellow countryman, Juha SALMINEN (HVA) that he will be an important rival for the world title. But, Juha SALMINEN remains the big favourite for this category.. “This has been a good weekend for me and finishing 2nd today suits me to the ground since I really rode a lot less well than yesterday, particularly in the extreme special. I couldn’t expect a better result but I leave with good points, which is the most important thing. “ Matti SEISTOLA (FIN - HVA) thought he would be finishing third allowing Finland to achieve an impressive triple on the podium, but a faulty electric cable at the end of the race, prevented him from achieving a podium position and therefore this fell instead to Rodrig THAIN (FRA - HM HONDA) ahead of Thomas OLDRATI (ITA - KTM) 4th, of whom we expected a little more…..
Not leading since the beginning of the season, the world Juniors Vice Champion, Jeremy JOLY (FRA-HM HONDA) also woke up in the JUNIORS category and delivered an impressive duel with the Finnish Anti HELLSTEN (KTM). But Mika AHOLA’s protégé is currently untouchable and achieves a 4th consecutive victory with over 30 seconds lead…Satisfaction also for the YAMAHA O.PONS with an achievement by Victor GUERRERO (ESP) in 3rd place. Romain DUMONTIER (FRA - YAM) finishes a good 4th place, a position that had long been held by the unfortunate Benoit FORTUNATO (FRA - YAM) falling victim to a dislocated shoulder at the end of the race.
On the road to SICILY….
Yesterday a national hero, a little weak physically today, the very young Portuguese Luis OLIVEIRA (YAM) (18 years old) couldn’t repeat his victory of the day before in the FIM YOUTH CUP 125cc and it is the Italian Jonathan MANZI (KTM) who grabs his 3rd victory of the season. No change in the women’s category where Ludivine PUY (FRA - GAS GAS) once again is ahead of Laia SANZ (ESP - HONDA), Blandine DUFRENE (FRA - GAS GAS) and Geraldine FOURNEL (FRA - KTM).
After two very exciting and dramatic Grand Prix, the MAXXIS FIM ENDURO WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP caravan will be able to breathe, take stock and analyse a very disputed start to the season. The next Grand Prix in Italy is announcing itself already to be very important in the race to the title. Until next time in FRANCAVILLA di SICILIA on the 14th and 15th of May for an explosive meet, at the foot of Mount ETNA!!
- Husqvarna Report
- Honda Report
- KTM Report
KTM Enduro factory rider Eero Remes of Finland wrapped up a good weekend on Sunday winning Round Four of the E1 World Championship to go one better than his second placed podium on Saturday. Rounds 3 and 4 were held in Val de Cambra in Portugal.
Team boss Fabio Farioli said Remes had been a very strong performer all weekend. "Today Remes made no mistakes and he was very fast in the extreme test," he said, adding that this had been one of the most difficult in this weekend's competition.
Thomas Oldrati, the team's Italian rider also claimed a fifth and fourth finish for valuable championship points. Remes is close behind leader Juha Salminen in the overall standings, trailing the powerful Finn by 15 points.
The younger KTM riders were also strong for the Portuguese rounds with Antti Hellsten of Finland claiming victory on both days in the EJ class to complete a perfect score of 100 points for the four rounds so far held. KTM supported rider Jonathan Manzi of Italy finished fifth on Sunday but also won the Youth Cup category.
Johnny Aubert returns to winning glory in Portugal in E2 class
KTM Enduro Factory rider Johnny Aubert came out this weekend and silenced any doubters with two overwhelming wins in Round 3 and 4 of the E2 World Championship in Vale de Cambra in Portugal, proving that he is a real professional and able to put the team's bad start to the season behind him and get on with the job of winning races.
Aubert was consistently on top of the tests on both days and after Saturday's victory said. "It was a very difficult day but it turned out perfect for me and for the team. The extreme tests were very hard but I didn't make any mistakes. It was very important to get a good result today because of the problems we had last week."
Brimming with confidence, Aubert went out and did it all again on Sunday on a track that was, according to team boss Fabio Farioli, very difficult. "There were a lot of bumps today and there was a lot of soft terrain," he said.
Aubert's teammate Cristobal Guerrero of Spain, who, like the Frenchman rides the KTM 350 EXC-F had a strong weekend with a podium third on Saturday and a fourth place on Sunday.
The injured Knighter still the KTM E3 hero in Portugal
David Knight, who injured his hip in Round 1 of the E3 World Championship in Spain last weekend made an amazing comeback this weekend to ride through the pain to score a 1-2 for the two competition rounds in Val De Cambra in Portugal.
Riding with the help of pain killers, David showed he is much more than just a superb rider to take the top step on the podium on Saturday, after which he said. "I was first in all the tests but the Enduro was very difficult. There were deep lines and lots of dust so it was hard to see. I think this was one of the hardest races I have ever had, especially in the last lap when I started to stiffen up. I took some pain killers before the race but really had to dig deep to concentrate. Now I just have to get through tomorrow and I can rest up and decide what to do about the injury."
And get through Sunday he did. Knighter came home in second place after another courageous ride where a lot of the race he had to stand up on the pedals, certainly no easy task given his injury. His weekend rides garnered him 47 championship points, but above all sent a signal to his opponents that he is still in the business of winning E3 races. He now has a chance to rest up until the next round of the competition set for Italy in a month's time. Taddy Blazusiak, who injured his thumb last week in Spain did not race this weekend.