Continuing his strong start to the ’11 EWC season Frenchman Pela Renet claims two impressive podium results in the competitive Enduro 2 class while Swede Joakim Ljunggren ups his pace to grab a five/four result in Enduro 3With hot weather, dusty, rocky terrain and two days of punishing racing the second round of the ’11 Enduro World Championship turned out to be every bit as demanding as the season opening GP of Spain. But there was one notable difference that for many made the event the toughest yet this season – a hugely challenging, all natural, extreme test. Playing a key roll i n deciding the final finishing order in all classes the extreme test at the GP of Portugal took no prisoners, with even the smallest of mistakes proving costly.
One rider who learned all too well just how important it was not to make mistakes on the extreme test was super fast Frenchman Pela Renet. Making a superb start to his ’11 EWC campaign in Spain, Renet again delivered the goods in Portugal claiming a two/three scorecard and making life extremely difficult for eventual day one E2 class winner Johnny Aubert. Just 20 seconds behind the former E2 world champion going into the final test of the day, Renet came unstuck on the final extreme test but nevertheless managed to hold onto a well deserved runner-up result.
‘I’m really happy with the way I performed on the first day,’ explained Pela. ‘I only made two mistakes and finished on the podium in second. Before the last extreme test I was just 20 seconds behind Aubert, which I was really pleased with, and despite my mistake I still got the runner-up position. It was a tough day but my bike was great and to finish second was fantastic.’
Fast and consistent again on day two Renet battled for the runner-up position, but frustratingly also made a mistake on the final extreme test. Falling in the exact same place as on day one Renet saw a second runner-up result slip from his grasp as he was overtaken by countryman Antoine Meo. Although managing to hold onto third Renet was understandably disappointed at having not managed to repeat his impressive day one result. ‘I had a great fight with Meo and Guerrero on day two but again in the final extreme test I made a stupid crash, in exactly the same place as day one. Before the final test I was six seconds ahead of Meo so to finish behind him is a little disappointing, but third is not so bad. It’s been a great start to the season. I am fighting with the riders at the top of the E2 class and I hope I can continue doing that for the rest of the year.’
With the rough and rutted enduro test and technical extreme test frustrating many riders, for Swede Joakim Ljunggren it was exactly what he had hoped the Portuguese event would bring. Making things difficult for himself following a fall on the Friday night Super Test, Joakim got stuck into things on day one and after a largely cautious opening lap was soon working his way up the results sheets. ‘It’s been a good weekend for me, despite the bad start when I crashed during the Super Test on Friday night. I think that was still on my mind at the start of the first day because I was a little tense on the enduro and motocross tests and didn’t ride as well as I should. But the extreme test was really good for me and I was able to take back some of the time I lost. Then when the enduro test started getting rougher I got faster there too. I was seventh before the last extreme test and finished the day fifth, which I was really happy with.’
Intent on improving his day one result while continuing to enjoy the tough conditions, Joakim pushed hard throughout the second day and helped by impressive performances on the extreme test placed just one position off the podium in a creditable fourth.
Husaberg’s second official Enduro 3 class rider Oriol Mena once again battled through the pain barrier as he secured two point scoring rides despite riding with multiple fractures in the little finger on his left hand. Finishing with seventh and fifth place results Oriol, like Joakim, was pleased with the way his weekend turned out.
‘It’s been a good race, not too difficult but certainly not easy,’ explained the Spaniard. ‘The extreme test played a big part in deciding the results at this race and on day one I made a big mistake on the final lap. My finger was much better than in Spain, so I was able to push harder throughout both days. Day two was better and I’m happy with my results.’
One Husaberg Factory Team rider who didn’t enjoy such a good weekend was Enduro Junior class rider Mathias Bellino. Well aware that sooner or later his lack of extreme test experience would get the better of him, in Portugal he struggled to match his impressive results from the season opener. ‘It wasn’t the greatest of weekend for me, which after such a strong start to the championship is a little disappointing. I just couldn’t get into the enduro test on day one and I found the extreme test really hard. The motocross test was fine, but the extreme was a real shock.
‘On day two I was leading after two tests but then in the extreme test I lost 20 seconds and dropped to around 15th. I had two more crashes in the enduro test, did some damage to my bike, and had a lot of work to do. It was a difficult day. I did manage to win the motocross test on the second and third laps but I was only able to finish seventh. I knew that I would need some time to get used to extreme tests but I just didn’t take good lines this weekend.’
Enduro World Championship 2011
Grand Prix of Portugal – Day one
1. Johnny Aubert (KTM) 55.46:01; 2. Pela Renet (Husaberg) 56.19:72; 3. Cristobal Guerrero (KTM) 56.41:61; 4. Antoine Meo (Husqvarna) 56.42:04; 5. Ivan Cervantes (Gas Gas) 57.27:62; 6. Simone Albergoni (Husqvarna) 57.48:48; 7. Sebastien Bozzo (Kawasaki) 58.17:83; 8. Hans Vogels (Husaberg) 58.37:21; 9. Jeff Goblet (Yamaha) 58.48:49; 10. Antoine Basset (Yamaha) 58.55:23… 12. Aaron Bernardez (Husaberg) 59.19:75
1. David Knight (KTM) 56.31:93; 2. Mika Ahola (Honda) 56.36:12; 3. Christophe Nambotin (Gas Gas) 56.40:40; 4. Seb Guillaume (Husqvarna) 57.47:51; 5. Joakim Ljunggren (Husaberg) 58.00:70; 6. Marcus Kehr (KTM) 58.02:56; 7. Oriol Mena (Husaberg) 58.23:24; 8. Jordi Figueras (Gas Gas) 58.38:94; 9. Mark Tarkkala (Husaberg) 58.50:11; 10. Juan Perez (KTM) 58.57:83… 13. Jakob Morhed (Husaberg) 1.00:25.79
1. Antti Helsten (KTM) 57.45:99; 2. Mari Roman (KTM) 58.20:91; 3. Benoit Fortunato (Yamaha) 58.23:23; 4. Jeremy Joly (Honda) 58.23:63; 5. Romain Dumontier (Yamaha) 58.24:02; 6. Victor Guerrero (Yamaha) 59.01:22; 7. Henrick Lindholm (Honda) 59.21:46; 8. Johan Carlsson (Beta) 59.35:10; 9. Luis Oliveira (Yamaha) 59.38:99; 10. Edoardo D’ambrosio (Honda) 59.40:34… 14. Alfredo Gomez (Husaberg) 1.00:21.81; 17. Mathias Bellino (Husaberg) 1.00:32.88
Enduro World Championship 2011
Grand Prix of Portugal – Day two
1. Johnny Aubert (KTM) 54.39:62; 2. Antoine Meo (Husqvarna) 54.47:84; 3. Pela Renet (Husaberg) 54.50:46; 4. Cristobal Guerrero (KTM) 54.52:29; 5. Ivan Cervantes (Gas Gas) 55.29:51; 6. Simone Albergoni (Husqvarna) 56.19:11; 7. Antoine Basset (Yamaha) 56.27.98; 8. Oscar Balletti (Beta) 56.43:75; 9. Sebastien Bozzo (Kawasaki) 57.02:96; 10. Jeff Goblet (Yamaha) 57.06:94… 11. Hans Vogels (Husaberg) 57.15:32
1. Mika Ahola (Honda) 54.24:38; 2. David Knight (KTM) 54.41:49; 3. Christophe Nambotin (Gas Gas) 54.47:18; 4. Joakim Ljunggren (Husaberg) 55.57:68; 5. Oriol Mena (Husaberg) 56.23:26; 6. Marko Tarkkala (Husaberg) 56.56:75; 7. Alex Salvini (Husqvarna) 56.57:34; 8. Alessandro Botturi (Gas Gas) 57.04:08; 9. Jordi Figueras (Gas Gas) 57.37:05; 10. Fabio Mossini (Beta) 57.57:87… 13. Jakob Morhed (Husaberg) 1.00:06.49
1. Antti Helsten (KTM) 56.11:98; 2. Jeremy Joly (Honda) 56.47:32; 3. Victor Guerrero (Yamaha) 56.57:45; 4. Romain Dumontier (Yamaha) 56.58:30; 5. Jonathan Manzi (KTM) 57.12:61; 6. Calle Sjoo (Honda) 57.20:59; 7. Mathias Bellino (Husaberg) 57.26:64; 8. Johan Carlsson (Beta) 57.32:44; 9. Mario Roman (KTM) 57.35:72; 10. Edoardo D’ambrosio (Honda) 57.41:35… 16. Kalle Svensson (Husaberg) 58.58:87; 18. Kevin Benavides (Husaberg) 59.14:60
Flying High: Pela Renet on his way to a superb double podium result in the E2 class
Second best: Renet was a deserved runner-up at the end of the opening day
Rocky delight: Joakim Ljunggren was one of only a few riders who enjoyed the extreme test
Charging hard: The Portuguese enduro test became rough and rutted
Tough times: Mathias Bellino found the extreme test tough but once again excelled on the motocross test
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