FIM Enduro World Championship 2015 – Jerez, Spain
Nambotin Leads The Way In Spain
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Christophe NAMBOTIN set the pace on day one of the Maxxis FIM Enduro World Championship in Spain Delivering the goods in extremely hot and dusty terrain in Jerez, KTM mounted NAMBOTIN topped the standings in the Enduro 1 class. There was a third win in a row for KTM’s Antoine MEO in Enduro 2 while Husqvarna’s Mathias BELLINO was the rider to beat in the Enduro 3 ranks. Kicking off the start of her Women’s Cup title, Spain’s Laia SANZ (KTM) delivered the home crowd the victory they all came to see.
The fight for top honours in the Enduro 2 class was extremely close between both Antoine MEO (F-KTM) and Pela RENET (F-Husqvarna). With unfinished business from Chile, RENET was determined to not let MEO get the better of him and held a tiny six tenths of a second lead with two tests to go. But a crash on the final cross test from the Husqvarna rider was all it took for MEO to sneak into the lead and claim his third win on the bounce. “The battle between Pela and myself was incredible. It was so close and was anybody’s race to win,” told MEO. “Unfortunately for Pela he made a mistake and crashed but we were riding on the very limit.” Behind the leading duo, Alex SALVINI (I-Honda) held station in third. Although matching the pace of the leaders, the Honda rider just wasn’t able to close their advantage and ended his day 14 seconds behind RENET in third. Keeping the pressure firmly on SALVINI, France’s Johnny AUBERT (Beta) hoped to capitalise on a mistake from the Italian rider. But with SALVINI holding his ground AUBERT had to settle for fourth. Delivering an impressive ride on home turf, Spain’s Jaume BETRIU (Husqvarna) cracked the top five with fifth.
Similar to E2, the Enduro 3 class featured a head-to-head battle for victory. Defending champion Matt PHILLIPS (AUS-KTM) was back on form and fighting for the win with Husqvarna’s Mathias BELLINO (F). Constantly swapping and changing position throughout the day, it was a costly mistake from PHILLIPS that finally offered BELLINO enough breathing room to secure the win. “The racing was so close all day,” remarked BELLINO. “Matt was hungry to win but so was I and I wasn’t going to give up without a fight. Each lap the positions were changing and then on the final lap I knew I had to give it my all. Luckily he made a slight mistake and the win was mine. I’m happy with today.” Ensuring three different manufactures featured on the podium, Italy’s Manuel MONNI ended his day third for TM. Behind Monni, Finland’s Matti SEISTOLA (Sherco) had a mixed day of racing and placed fourth while Aigar LEOK (EST) added to TM’s success on day one by finishing fifth.
In the Enduro 1 class there was absolutely no stopping Christophe NAMBOTIN (F-KTM). The Frenchman was simply unbeatable and managed to set the fastest time in all of the E1 special tests. Securing a near one-minute margin of victory, NAMBOTIN also unofficially ended his day as the fastest outright. “It’s been a perfect day – I can’t fault it,” confirmed NAMBOTIN. “I managed to win all 11 special tests – I don’t think I’ve done that before in E1 – it’s been great.” With NAMBOTIN running away with proceedings, TM’s Eero REMES (FIN) and Spain’s Cristobal GUERRERO (Yamaha) took the remainder of the podium positions. Securing his first top three result with Yamaha, GUERRERO proved that he’s firmly settled in with his new team. Pushing hard in the hot and dusty conditions, Sherco’s Lorenzo SANTOLINO delivered a strong ride at his home race for fourth. Yamaha’s Marc BOURGEOIS (F) completed the top five.
Returning to the top step of the podium, Husqvarna’s Jamie MCCANNEY (GB) claimed the Enduro Junior win. Continuing to impress in the 2015 series, Gas Gas mounted Diogo VENTURA (P) ended his day as runner-up.Making his first appearance in the 2015 season, EWC newcomer Steve HOLCOMBE (GB-Beta) turned a few heads with his standout performance to place third. Behind the top three, Luis Oliveira (P-Yamaha) edged out Italy’s Giacomo REDONDI (Beta) by three seconds for fifth. Spain’s Josep GARCIA (Husqvarna) took a commanding victory in the Youth Cup class. Mikael PERSSON (SWE-Yamaha) and David ABGRALL (F-Yamaha) completed the top three.
Making a winning start to her championship defence, newly mounted KTM rider Laia SANZ claimed victory in the Women’s Cup. Australia’s Jessica GARDINER (Sherco) placed as runner-up to Sanz while Jane DANIELS (GB-Husqvarna) completed the top three. Yamaha’s Jemma WILSON (Aus) and France’s Samantha TICHET (KTM) were fourth and fifth respectively.
Close Racing On Day Two Brings GP Of Spain To A Close
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Hot weather and exceptionally close racing brought the GP AMV Seguros of Spain to an exciting close on day two in Jerez. Across all classes the second day of racing at round two of the Maxxis FIM Enduro World Championship was incredibly competitive. In the Enduro 3 class, Mathias Bellino (Husqvarna) secured a one-second margin of victory, while his teammate Jamie McCanney kept himself two seconds ahead of his closest competitors to win in the Enduro Junior ranks. KTM’s Antoine Meo was again the winner in Enduro 2 while Christophe Nambotin (KTM) was unstoppable in Enduro 1. Taking a commanding victory, Laia Sanz (KTM) was the clear winner in the Women’s Cup.
On day two there was no change at the head of the Enduro 2 class. Claiming his fourth win of the season, KTM’s Antoine Meo continues to establish himself as the rider to beat. “It’s been another fantastic weekend for me,” told Meo. “I didn’t have a great feeling with the terrain. I won some tests and lost a few too but overall I was able to keep my times quite consistent and I think that was the most important thing. Hopefully I can keep this form going next weekend in Portugal.” Delivering his best result of the 2015 series to date, Alex Salvini (Honda) chased Meo home for second. With a strong set of times on the final lap, the Italian managed to keep a hard charging Pela Renet (Husqvarna) four seconds behind him. With Renet forced to settle for third, it was Beta’s Johnny Aubert who completed the top four – 15 seconds adrift of Renet. Showing great promise on day two, France’s Loic Larrieu placed fifth on his Sherco ensuring five different manufactures occupied the top five positions.
Pela Renet: “Of course I am always looking to try and win, but I can’t be too unhappy with a second and third place result. It’s good championship points. I feel like I am getting stronger, but I’m still not able to push to my maximum. Day one started really well and I was leading, like I was in Chile. Antoine was pushing hard and I made some small mistakes, which I don’t normally do. When I need to be strong I am not yet able to give 100 per cent. It was close on day two but again I wasn’t able to push like I wanted during the second half of the day. It’s like that at the moment so my focus is securing strong championship points.”
As Enduro 3 continues to prove itself as one of the most competitive classes of the championship, Husqvarna’s Mathias Bellino is showing himself as the main rider to beat. Fighting his way from fourth into the lead, Bellino managed to hold off a late charge from Sherco’s Matti Seistola to take a small but very important one-second margin of victory. “That was one very close race for the victory, but it was great,” remarked Bellino. “On the last lap I had the lead but the gap was nothing and any mistake could have pushed me back to fifth. Winning both days is an incredible feeling.” With the top six riders separated by just 17 seconds, Matti Seistola was next to Bellino. Coming an agonising one-second shy of winning, the Finn was nevertheless pleased with his day. Turning up the speed for day two, Spain’s Jonathan Barragan delivered Gas Gas a home GP podium result in third. Only one second behind Barragan, Italy’s Manuel Monni (TM) missed out on a top three result and was fourth. Australia’s Matt Phillips (KTM) rounded out the top five with Thomas Oldrati (Husqvarna) two seconds back in sixth.
Mathias Bellino: “It’s been a crazy GP for me and the other riders fighting for the win in the Enduro 3 class. From the start of day one it was clear that there were several riders that had the speed to win. I was battling with Matt Phillips most of the day and things were tight. I got the win, so that was great for me. Day two was good, but a crash in the third test put me back to fourth. I knew I had some work to do then, and things went well. I had a big fight with Matti Seistola then for the rest of the day. I pushed as much as I could. There were many riders waiting for us to make mistakes. It’s great to win a day like this. It’s been a great race for me.”
Once again there was no stopping KTM’s Christophe Nambotin in Enduro 1. At home in the hot, dry and dusty conditions, the Frenchman delivered a carbon copy result of his previous day’s ride. Winning all special tests, Nambotin was also unofficially the fastest outright rider. “It’s been a brilliant weekend, really good,” smiled Nambotin. “Winning both days is exactly what I hoped for and also getting the outright too is a nice. I was disappointed with the way I rode in Chile on day two and I really wanted to make up for it. It’s great to win.” While Nambotin cleared off to win, Eero Remes (TM) was again second to the KTM rider. Delivering another podium result on home soil, Yamaha’s Cristobal Guerrero has put himself firmly back in the championship fight following a difficult opening round in Chile. Improving two positions over day one, Husqvarna’s Daniel McCanney (GB) held off a last lap battle with Kawasaki’s Simone Albergoni (I) to take fourth.
Danny McCanney: “It’s been an ok race for me, but after my podium results in Chile I would have liked things to have gone a little better. It took me too long to really get to grips with the enduro test. On one lap I dropped into a deep rut that knocked my bike into neutral. Before I knew it I was back at the bottom of the hill. I was playing catch up from that point onwards. I crashed in the enduro test at the start of day two, which was exactly what I didn’t need. I was down in seventh so to work back to fourth is great.”
In the Enduro Juniors it was another win for Husqvarna’s Jamie McCanney (GB). But this time around he came under fire from a very impressive Steve Holcombe (GB). The Beta mounted rider surprised a lot of people with his speed throughout the weekend and is a new threat for race honours. Behind the leading British riders, Italy’s Giacomo Redondi (Beta) found his way onto the podium with third. Claiming a top four result, Luis Oliveira is on form ahead of his home race in Portugal next weekend. One second behind Oliveira, Italy’s Alessandro Battig (Honda) completed the top five.
Jamie McCanney: “I honestly can’t believe that I’ve won both days. I felt terrible before the race so I just decided to take things steadily and ride smooth. To say things turned out well is a massive understatement. I certainly wasn’t expecting it. I made a few silly mistakes during both days but generally going a little more steadily paid off as it was easy to push too hard, especially on the enduro test. I knew there were a few riders that would be strong on day two. I took a similar approach to day one and things went well.”
The GP of Spain was one to remember for home favourite Josep Garcia (Husqvarna) with the young Spaniard clocking up his second victory of the weekend in the Youth Cup class. The Yamaha duo of Mikael Persson (SWE) and Luca Garello (F) joined him on the podium in second and third.
In the Women’s Cup it was another win for Spain’s Laia Sanz, This time the KTM rider extended her advantage to almost two minutes. Australia’s Jessica Gardiner (Sherco) followed Sanz home for the runner-up with Jane Daniels (GB-Husqvarna) seven seconds behind in third. Jemma Wilson (AUS-Yamaha) and France’s Blandine Dufrene (KTM) completed the top five.
The Maxxis FIM Enduro World Championship continues with round three, the GP Polisport of Portugal, in Gouveia on May 16/17.