–  2013 World Enduro Championship – E2 Class Preview – The Four Musketeers…

Many changes this year in the medium sized engine category (250cc 2T and 450cc 4T). With the departure of Juha SALMINEN (FIN – HVA) and Cristobal GUERRERO (ESP – KTM) to Enduro 1 and the arrival of David KNIGHT (GB – Honda), Oriol MENA (E – Husaberg) plus some new young guns. Once again, the Enduro 2 class should be quite unpredictable…

The Favourites…

With many choices, one of these four riders seems the most likely to claim the title of World Champion…

- Pierre-Alexandre RENET (F – Husaberg): The reigning World Champion puts his title on the line in the category he likes and where he will run the number 1 plate. Once again, the Frenchman will have to deal with a pack of challengers in order to win his second title of Enduro World Champion. The official Husaberg rider will be the most logical choice and of course; the man to beat.

- Ivan CERVANTES (ESP – KTM): After two years in Gas Gas, “El Torito” is back with the KTM Factory Racing team. On the 350 EXC-F with which he already feels very comfortable, the Spaniard will be thirsty for revenge after two disappointing years. He has his eyes on a fifth world title… 2013, the return of CERVANTES?

- David KNIGHT (GB – KTM): After a disappointing 2012 in E3, which was dominated by Christophe NAMBOTIN (F – KTM), KNIGHTER will play an important move for the rest of his career! The Quadruple World Champion has opted for some radical changes… Team change (he has his own setup managed by Paul EDMONDSON), a change of bike (he will run on a 450 Honda CR-F) and a change of class for the Isle of Man Giant. At almost 35 years old, will all these changes be enough?

- Johnny AUBERT (F – KTM): 2012 was another difficult season for the double world champion who finished fifth after many problems in South America and Finland. His performance during the ISDE and ‘the double’ in Brignoles, France during the 2012 Final event seems to have restored the fighting spirit and motivation of the KTM rider. As he announced at the beginning of the year, 2013 should be his last season… AUBERT, who chooses to ride on the KTM 450, has the talent and the speed to achieve the results. Can Johnny AU ‘retire with the crown?’

The Outsiders…

These riders could create a surprise, challenging the favourites and maybe winning on some days…

- Alex SALVINI (I – HM Honda): A change of colours for Italian rider who went from CH Racing Team to Jolly Racing. This season, SALVINI seems on paper, to be the only rider able to mingle with the “Fantastic 4″ in this class…. but will his change of team and bike be beneficial?

- Antoine BASSET (F – Yamaha): Sixth in the E2 class this year, the resident of EEAT has shown great consistency over the past two years. He seems to have the talent to hit the Top 5 but the final challenge still seems high…

- Oriol MENA (E – Husaberg): Pela RENET’s teammate in the Husaberg Factory Team, the 2009 Junior World Champion has shown three years of improvement in Enduro 3 (7th in 2010, 5th in 2011 and 2012) but arrives in a category he doesn’t know… Top 5 seems acheivable for the Catalan as long as he doesn’t make too many mistakes…

- Lorenzo SANTOLINO (E – HVA): 2010 Junior World Champion, SANTOLINO (Photo) has some difficulties to confirming his talent. He replaces SALVINI in the E2 class in the Husqvarna CH Racing team. Some additional pressure that may well limit the Spaniard…

- Oscar BALLETTI (I – KTM): After a first podium in Chile last year on the Beta and an excellent South American tour, the Italian was injured for the rest of the season. Now part of the KTM Supporter team, BALLETTI could do much better this season, riding an orange motorcycle and he seems capable of making great progress.

- Jordan ROSE (GB – TM): After excellent results in all three Grand Prix in which he participated last year, ROSE returns to the EWC still with the Electraction TM team. The English rider seems to be able to pose serious problems to all the Top 5 candidates so will he claim some podiums on European soil? He will be absent from the South American tour.

The Ones Not To Forget…

In the medium sized engine category, there are many new faces that we should find near the Top 10…

- Kevin BENAVIDES (ARG – KTM), Victor GUERRERO (ESP – KTM), Alexandre QUEYREYRE (F – Yam) and Calle SJOO (S – HM Honda) all arrive from the Junior category. They should learn many things this season and will store as much experience as possible in 7 GP’s even though the Argentinian seems more likely to score big points….

- Franco CAIMI (ARG – KTM), Romain DUMONTIER (F – Yam), Julien GAUTHIER (F – Sherco) and Jean-François GOBLET (B – Gas Gas)… will not participate in the entire season but may well also climb into the top 10 of the category during each of their appearances.

- Jose Luis MARTINEZ (E – Gas Gas) who, like Anthony BOISSIERE in E1, will be in his first season in Enduro after many years in MX and he should be the biggest rival in the title race for Rookie of the Year! Gas Gas certainly believes in him.

- Jakob MORHED (S – Honda): The friendly Swedish rider in the Johansson MPE team arrives in E2 … A place in the Top 15 should be possible…

- Xavier DE SOULTRAIT (F – Yam): Will not participate in the South American tour so Top 15 in this category seems to be a very ambitious goal.

2012 was full of excitement and suspense in the Enduro 2 class and 2013 is sure to be of the same ilk. With riders such as Pierre Alexandre RENET, Ivan CERVANTES, Johnny AUBERT and David KNIGHT, the title race should be exciting for the riders and for the thousands of spectators expected at each Grand Prix.

The E2 World Champion since 2004

2012 : RENET (Husaberg – France)
2011: MEO (HVA – France)
2010: AHOLA (Honda – Finland)
2009: AUBERT (KTM – France)
2008: AUBERT (Yamaha – France)
2007: AHOLA (Honda – Finland)
2006: ARO (KTM – Finland)
2005: ARO (KTM – Finland)
2004: SALMINEN (KTM – Finland)