Matt Phillips loses ground in World Enduro Title chase
The Maxxis FIM Enduro World Championship visited Belgium last weekend with closely fought racing across all classes.
Despite a late downpour of rain, Antoine Meo (KTM), Mathias BELLINO (Husqvarna) and Eero REMES (TM) all made it two wins in a row in their respective classes in St Hubert.
With heavy rain catching the majority of riders on the fourth and final lap of the day, the GP of Belgium gave competitors a complete test of fitness and mental strength this weekend.
In what is bad news for fans of reigning E3 World Champion Matt Phillips (KTM), series leader Matthias Bellino (Husqvarna) made it two wins on the bounce to take a double victory at St Hubert.
Matt Phillips had done the double at the previous round in Italy, closing within 16-points of Bellino, but the Frenchman has now stretched that gap back out to 24-points with only a single round remaining. And with the series finale not until the first weekend in October, on Bellino’s home soil, it will be a long wait before we find out who will take the coveted #1 plate for 2015.
Strong throughout the day, Bellino secured a 14-second margin of victory.
Mathias Bellino – “It’s been a really perfect weekend for me – honestly I can’t fault it. After having a slight injury to my wrist during the GP of Italy I wanted to come here and sort of redeem myself. I’ve said all year that if I’m able to win then I need to fight for it and from Friday’s super test I did exactly that. Securing the fastest time there put me in a confident mood for the entire weekend and I was able to build on that momentum and win both days. It was a tough race, especially the enduro test. It was difficult and you had to approach it differently. I pushed hard where I knew I could and then rode smart where I couldn’t and in the end it paid off. With a 24-point lead entering the final round in France, all I can say is that I’m excited for my home race!”
Improving one position over his previous day’s result, KTM’s Matt Phillips (AUS) ended his day as runner-up to Bellino.
Finishing just four seconds behind Phillips, Sherco’s Matti Seistola (FIN) is proving to be now almost fully recovered from his broken finger. Luis Correia (P) brought his Beta home in fourth while KTM’s Jeremy Joly (F) completed the top five.
Enduro 3 – Day Two – 1. Mathias Bellino (Husqvarna) 1:05:59.90; 2. Matthew Phillips (KTM) 1:06:13.95; 3. Matti Seistola (Sherco) 1:06:18.68
Enduro 3 – Day One – 1. Mathias Bellino (Husqvarna) 1:11:49.30; 2. Matti Seistola (Sherco) 1:12:06.83; 3. Matthew Phillips (KTM) 1:12:11.15
Topping the podium for the second day in a row, TM Racing’s Eero Remes (FIN) was the winner of Enduro 1.
Trailing close rival Christophe Namobtin (F-KTM) for the majority of the day, Remes was handed the victory when Nambotin crashed on the final test of the day.
“The win feels a little bit lucky but a win is a win,” confirmed Remes. “Christophe was riding great all day and I knew he was going to be hard to beat. But the rain on the final test shook things up and the victory came my way.”
With Nambotin slipping back to second, Sherco’s Lorenzo Santolino (S) narrowly beat Husqvarna’s Danny McCanney (GB) by less than one second to take the final step of the podium. With McCanney fourth, Yamaha’s Marc Bourgeois (F) rounded out the top five.
Danny McCanney: – “I hurt my knee quite badly at the previous race in Italy – one week ago I wasn’t sure if I could race – so to place third and fourth is incredible for me. Day one was brilliant. I had a very close battle with Christophe Nambotin for most of the day and in the end he just beat me for second. I was fighting for the podium on day two with Lorenzo Santolino. It’s slightly frustrating to miss out on third by less than one second but overall I’m more than happy with my weekend.”
Enduro 1 – Day One – 1. Eero Remes (TM) 1:11:25.18; 2. Christophe Nambotin (KTM) 1:12:27.44; 3. Daniel McCanney (Husqvarna) 1:12:38.57
Enduro 1 – Day Two – 1. Eero Remes (TM) 56:20.35; 2. Christophe Nambotin (KTM) 56:34.18; 3. Lorenzo Santolino (Sherco) 57:11.61
Inching ever closer to the Enduro 2 World Championship title, KTM’s Antoine Meo (F) secured his second victory of the weekend in St Hubert on Sunday.
Faced with a challenge from Honda’s Alex Salvini (I), Meo kept his cool when conditions deteriorated due to the rain to win.
“Alex was riding really well and he was pushing me for the win,” commented Meo. “Honestly I felt a little off my game when Pela crashed yesterday because that completely changed my outlook on the championship fight. Overall it’s great to come away with two more wins and now the title is looking more in reach for France.”
Behind the leading duo, Sherco’s Loic Larrieu (F) delivered another strong ride to end his day in third. In the battle for fourth, Husqvarna’s Jaume Betriu (S) just edged out David Knight (GB-KTM) by one second.
Enduro 2 – Day Two – 1. Antoine Meo (KTM) 1:05:49.30; 2. Alex Salvini (Honda) 1:06:06.15; 3. Loic Larrieu (Sherco) 1:06:22.75
Enduro 2 – Day One – 1. Antoine Meo (KTM) 1:11:18.25; 2. Alex Salvini (Honda) 1:11:57.33; 3. Loic Larrieu (Sherco) 1:12:23.06
Enduro 2 – Championship Standings – 1. Antoine Meo (KTM) 228pts; 2. Alex Salvini (Honda) 191pts; 3. Pela Renet (Husqvarna) 175pts
In the Enduro Junior class, Husqvarna’s Jamie McCanney (GB) returned to the top step of the podium. Capitalising on a mistake by race leader Steve Holcombe (GB-Beta) on the final enduro test, McCanney took the win to further strengthen his title hopes.
Jamie McCanney: “It’s been fantastic to place second and first this weekend. At this stage in the season I’m trying to look at the bigger picture. I’ve got a strong lead in the championship but it could be easy to mess it up by taking unnecessary chances. I attacked hard early on day one but so too did Steve and when I saw his time on the enduro test I wasn’t quite willing to push the limits so I settled for second. He was riding great on day two and I was happy enough to sit in second. Unfortunately for him he made a mistake but I’ll take the win and extra championship points. Now my focus is on the final round in France.”
Having claimed his debut Junior podium on day one, Beta’s Davide Soreca (I) proved it was no fluke by improving one position to second. Adding to the Beta celebrations, Italy’s Giacomo Redondi completed the top three.Alessandro Battif (I-Honda) and Kirian Mirabet (S-KTM) were fourth and fifth respectively.
Enduro Junior – Day One – 1. Steve Holcombe (Beta) 1:12:16.94; 2. Jamie McCanney (Husqvarna) 1:12:44.11; 3. Davide Soreca (Beta) 1:13:42.7
The Enduro Youth Cup saw Yamaha’s Mikael Persson(SWE) secure a comfortable win. Recording another podium result, KTM’s Jack Edmondson (GB) was the runner-up with Quentin Delhaye De Maulde (F-TM) third. Luca Garello (F-Yamaha) and Lorenzo Macoritto (I-KTM) rounded out the top five.
Youth Cup – Day One – 1. Josep Garcia (Husqvarna) 1:03:06.67; 2. Jack Edmondson (KTM) 1:04:13.74; 3. Mikael Persson (Yamaha) 1:04:55.54
Youth Cup – Day Two – 1. Mikael Persson (Yamaha) 1:10:25.52; 2. Jack Edmondson (KTM) 1:11:24.79; 3. Quentin Delhaye de Maulde (TM) 1:12:24.1
Youth Cup – Championship Standings – 1. Mikael Persson (Yamaha) 186pts; 2. Josep Garcia (Husqvarna) 162pts; 3. Jack Edmondson (KTM) 129pts
Day two of the GP of Belgium marked another clear victory for the Women’s Cup championship leader Laia Sanz (S-KTM).”It’s been a brilliant weekend for me,” told Sanz. “Getting two more wins was fantastic and now the title is almost within reach at the final round in France.”
Winning three special tests, Husqvarna’s Jane Daniels (GB) closed the gap to Sanz on day two and placed as the runner-up.
Australia’s Jemma Wison (Yamaha) joined both Sanz and Daniels on the podium in third.
Enduro Women – Day One – 1. Laia Sanz (KTM) 49:21.35; 2. Jane Daniels (Husqvarna) 50:21.40; 3. Jemma Wilson (Yamaha) 58:33.26
Enduro Women Day Two – 1. Laia Sanz (KTM) 57:34.76; 2. Jane Daniels (Husqvarna) 58:22.56; 3. Jemma Wilson (Yamaha) 1:02:11.36
Enduro Women – Championship Standings – 1. Laia Sanz (KTM) 120pts; 2. Jane Daniels (Husqvarna) 96pts; 3. Jemma Wilson (Yamaha) 69pts
MCNEWS.COM.AU is a specialist on-line resource that provides motorcycle news for motorcyclists. MCNews covers all areas of interest for the motorcycling public including news, reviews and comprehensive racing coverage.