The opening round of the FIM Enduro World Championship proved to be a fantastic event, with the hot and dusty conditions playing a significant role in ensuring the first event of the 2013 series was a tough one, just as it did 12 months ago the Chilean race delivered more than a few surprise results.
In the ultra-competitive Enduro 2 class USWE riders excelled. Defending class champion Pela Renet (Husaberg) got his championship defence off to a great start with a win on day one, going on to place fourth on day two. Taking USWE to the top of the podium on the second day of competition, and in doing so claiming his first ever EWC win and taking the lead in the E2 World Championship standings, was Italian Alex Salvini (Honda). Finishing on the podium on both days in second and third was Johnny Aubert (KTM), joined on day two by team-mate Ivan Cervantes. David Knight’s debut ride aboard his newly formed Knighter Honda team saw the former world champion place fifth on both days.
Christophe Nambotin (KTM) endured a tough opening day but bounced back to take the Enduro 3 class win on day two. With a runner-up result on day one Nambo’ now heads to round two of the series equal on points with Sweden’s Joakim Ljunggren. Estonian Aigar Leok (TM) placed third on day one, but had a ‘nightmare day’ on day two and paced 11th. France’s Rodrig Thain (Gas Gas) bounced back from the disappointment of narrowly missing out on a podium result on day one by placing third on day two.
On his debut for the TM Racing Team Eero Remes overcame a frustrating opening day to place third in the Enduro 1 class on day two. Remes sits fifth in the E1 championship standings.
In the Enduro Junior and Enduro Youth Cup classes McCanney brothers Danny and Jamie respectively both finished on the podium. Danny placed as runner-up on day one while Jamie claimed second on both days.
All USWE supported riders now head to San Juan, Argentina for round two of the Enduro World Championship on March 23/24.
Alex Salvini (Honda – Enduro 2): “I’m so happy with my result. After two seasons of trying I’ve finally won my first enduro race. On day one everything was good. I didn’t make a lot of mistakes and was happy to finish fourth. But on day two everything was perfect. I felt very smooth and comfortable all day. We worked so hard during the winter to be ready for the new season and to win so soon is incredible.”
Christophe Nambotin (KTM – Enduro 3): “It’s been good to win but this weekend I’m not happy with how I rode. All weekend I struggled to find a comfortable feeling with the bike and with the track. But thankfully I managed to get some consistent results and gain good points. Finishing second and first is a strong start to the season. And I feel with some more riding I can continue to improve my speed.”
Pela Renet (Husaberg – Enduro 2): “Winning day one was a really good start to the championship. I immediately settled into a fast pace and was able to push very hard. I had a good battle with Aubert for most of the day. Day two started off badly. I crashed early on and lost a lot of time. I didn’t feel comfortable on the track and was making a lot of mistakes. On the second lap I began to settle into the race and improved my times but it wasn’t enough. In the end, I finished fourth overall but only one-second behind third.”
David Knight (Honda – Enduro 2): “Day one was good. After a bad time in the Friday SuperTest I quickly settled into the race. My times were good on both the enduro test and the extreme test, but I struggled a little on the cross test. The harder I pushed the more mistakes I made. But I was happy to finish fifth. Day two started out great by winning the first special test and I improved my times on the cross test. Unfortunately, I crashed when a dog ran out in front off me on the second extreme test. I tried to change my line and got messed up and crashed down a hill. In the end I finished fifth. But it’s been a positive start to the season.”
Johnny Aubert (KTM – Enduro 2): “I’m happy with this weekend – second on day one and third day two. On day one I was fastest on the cross test but lost out to Renet on the enduro test, in the end I missed the win by four seconds. I crashed in the first corner of the enduro test on day two and lost maybe 25 seconds and I had to fight my way back onto the podium.”
Danny McCanney (Gas Gas – Enduro Junior): “Day one started really good, which is unusual for me as it normally takes me a bit of time to get going. I was leading on the first lap. I made so many stupid mistakes and crashed when I hit a tree on the enduro test. But I regrouped and came back to second. Day two just never really got going. I crashed again on the enduro test, then crashed on one of the checks and bent my handlebars. My times weren’t what they should have been and I ended the day in fifth.”
2013 EWC Championship Standings, after round one
1. Antoine Meo (KTM) 40pts; 2. Juha Salminen (Husqvarna) 28pts; 3. Matti Seistola (Husqvarna) 28pts
1. Alex Salvini (Honda) 35pts; 2. Pela Renet (Husaberg) 33pts; 3. Johnny Aubert (KTM) 32pts
1. Christophe Nambotin (KTM) 37pts; 2. Joakim Ljunggren (Husaberg) 37pts; 3. Rodrig Thain (Gas Gas) 28pts
1. Giacomo Redondi (KTM) 40pts; 2. Daniel McCanney (Gas Gas) 28pts; 3. Matthew Phillips (Husqvarna) 26pts
Enduro Youth Cup
1. Benjamin Herrera (TM) 40 pts; 2. Jamie McCanney (Husaberg) 34pts; 3. Albin Elowson (Husaberg) 24pts