Husaberg Factory Team and Husaberg Factory Support Team riders battle their way through two dry and demanding days of competition to shine at Enduro World Championship opener in Ponts, SpainShowing that they are more than ready to take up the challenge of the ’11 Enduro World Championship Husaberg Factory Team riders Pela Renet, Joakim Ljunggren, Oriol Mena and Mathias Bellino, and Husaberg Factory Supported Riders Marko Tarkkala and Hans Vogels, all delivered memorable and positive results at the first EWC race of the new season. With the GP of Spain delivering a true test of man and machine, o ne that saw a higher than normal rate of attrition, all riders ended the event with impressive results.
With numerous highlights for the team the performance of EWC rookie Mathias Bellino certainly stood out as the former motocross racer climbed up onto the Enduro Junior class podium at the first time of asking with a solid runner-up result on day one. Well and truly in at the deep end the jovial Bellino set some sensationally fast special test times to finish the day just 11 seconds behind the class winner. Proving an exceptionally fast learner Bellino wasn’t only fast on the motocross test, but on both the enduro and extreme tests too.
“I am very, very happy with my results from this my first Enduro World Championship race,” beamed Mathias at the end of the second day. “I have been working hard during the winter but until the first race you never know how fast you are. I am pleased because my speed was good, really good. To match the speed of the top riders in the junior class is exactly what I hoped for.
“The first day went well but I crashed in the enduro test on day two. I crashed twice because I damaged my front brake and finished with only my rear brake. I was somewhere between 10th and 15th after that and I managed to come back to fourth, which I am happy about. I broke three vertebras in ’07 so my back and neck was very sore, I’ve never ridden a bike for so long before in my life. But apart from feeling tired I am happy. This has been a fantastic start to the championship for me and the Husaberg team.”
Success in the senior classes came thanks to impressive rides from all factory team riders, Pela Renet in particular. Joining the Husaberg squad for ’11 following his sensational debut enduro season last year, Pela featured at the sharp end of the super competitive Enduro 2 class though out the two days. Frustratingly for Renet too many small mistakes prevented him from finishing on the podium on day one, but on day two the tall Frenchman claimed a creditable third behind Antoine Meo and Ivan Cervantes. Missing the podium by just 15 seconds on day one Renet was more than pleased to have earned a top three result on day two.
“It’s been a tough race but I’m happy with my results, and especially the fact that me speed is good,” offered Pela. “But I made too many mistakes, had too many crashes, which I’m a little disappointed with. When I stay on two wheels my speed is good but the mistakes stopped me from getting better results and possibly a win. It’s always good to get the first race of the season out of the way, now I am looking forward to the next races where I hope I can remove the mistakes and keep my speed.”
Dutch enduro star Hans Vogels was headed for a top five position in the Enduro 2 class on day one but a heavy fall on the enduro test forced him to retire. On day two Hans restarted the competition and performed every bit as well as he had been on day one claiming a well-deserved fifth place result.
In the Enduro 3 class Husaberg Factory Team riders Joakim Ljunggren and Oriol Mena both delivered strong performances, but it was factory supported rider Marko Tarkkala who claimed the highest result with a superb third place finish on day two. The first time back on the podium in two years, the Finn was understandably happy with both his result and the performances of his 300 two-stroke.
“Eighth on the first day wasn’t so good but it was just because I couldn’t find my rhythm. I tried many things but I just wasn’t able to ride like I wanted to. But the second day went really well. It’s taking me a little time to adjust to racing a to-stroke again after so many years on a four-stroke, but I really feel like I’m getting there now and hopefully I’ll be able to continue to fight for top three results now.”
One rider who found the GP of Spain extra tough was Oriol Mena. Breaking the little finger on his right hand in three places during a Spanish cross-country race three weeks before the GP of Spain, Mena dug deep to not only finish both days but finish in fourth and sixth positions. In obvious and understandable discomfort Oriol fought his way through both days to claim valuable championship points in front of his home crowd.
“The first day was great for me, fighting for third position with my hand injury was more than I was expecting. At one point in the middle of the day I was fighting with Ahola for second, so I was very pleased about that. Finally I finished fourth, which was a really good result. I knew things would be difficult for me with my hand injury but I also knew that my speed and general fitness was good. So I have no complaints about the first day, it went well. The second day was tough for me. I wasn’t able to ride as fast as I needed on the enduro test, mainly because of the bumps and my hand. I finished sixth, which isn’t as good as the first day but I’m happy with it considering my broken finger.”
With Oriol placing better on the first day than the second, for his team-mate Joakim Ljunggren it was the other way around. Unable to find the form that saw him perform well in earlier Italian Enduro Championship events, Joakim nevertheless placed sixth. But on day two he went one better and finished fifth, just eight seconds off the podium.
“I didn’t feel good on the first day,” admitted Joakim. “I crashed on the first enduro test and never felt like I was really fully relaxed after that, which didn’t help my result. I just couldn’t find the good feeling I had during the races before the GP of Spain. Maybe I was just a little nervous, or maybe pushing too hard in places and not relaxing enough. I was a little bit disappointed to finish sixth. The second day was better and I felt better. I was fighting for third for most of the day and enjoying myself. I was really trying hard and wanted to get on the podium but a few small mistakes stopped me from doing that. But with only a few small mistakes I’m happy with the way the event went for me. It was great racing on the two-stroke and I know that my speed is good so I’m looking forward to some tougher races.”
Enduro World Championship 2011
Grand Prix of Spain – Day one
1. Antoine Meo (Husqvarna) 52.44L70; 2. Ivan Cervantes (Gas Gas) 53:04.16; 3. Cristobal Guerrero (KTM) 53.04:59; 4. Pierre-Alexandre Renet (Husaberg) 53.19:97; 5. Simone Albergoni (Husqvarna) 54.37:45; 6. Oscar Balletti (Beta) 54.47:69; 7. Antoine Basset (Yamaha) 55.16:11; 8. Aaron Bernardez (Husaberg) 55.28:80; 9. Jordan Curvalle (Sherco) 55.33:39; 10. Armand Monleon (KTM) 55.34:21… 12. Joan Jou (Husaberg) 55.55:82
1. Mika Ahola (Honda) 53.21:87; 2. Christophe Nambotin (Gas Gas) 53.35:52; 3. Seb Guillaume (Husqvarna) 53.53:92; 4. Oriol Mena (Husaberg) 54.12:26; 5. Taddy Blazusiak (KTM) 54.33:77; 6. Joakim Ljunggren (Husaberg) 54.40:71; 7. Marcus Kehr (KTM) 54.43:36; 8. Marko Tarkkala (Husaberg) 54.54:04; 9. Alessandro Botturi (Gas Gas) 54.57:19; 10. Juan Perez (KTM) 55.09:97… 16. Jakob Morhed (Husaberg) 57.11:86
1. Antti Helsten (KTM) 54.19:61; 2. Mathias Bellino (Husaberg) 54.30:16; 3. Jonathan Manzi (KTM) 54.37:35; 4. Benoit Fortunato (Yamaha) 54.44:04; 5. Jeremy Joly (Honda) 54.44:63; 6. Victor Guerrero (Yamaha) 54.48:82; 7. Romain Dumontier (Yamaha) 55.00:50; 8. Mario Roman (KTM) 55.02:74; 9. Kevin Benavides (Husaberg) 55.31:85; 10. Johan Carlsson (Beta) 55.32:74; 19. Kalle Svensson (Husaberg) 56.33.07
Enduro World Championship 2011
Grand Prix of Spain – Day two
1. Antoine Meo (Husqvarna) 54.39:52; 2. Ivan Cervantes (Gas Gas) 55.05:86; 3. Pierre-Alexandre Renet (Husaberg) 55.33:78; 4. Simone Albergoni (Husqvarna) 56.03:93; 5. Hans Vogels (Husaberg) 57.06:57; 6. Jeff Goblet (Yamaha) 57.13:22; 7. Antoine Basset (Yamaha) 57.31:25; 8. Goncalo Reis (Honda) 57.49:59; 9. Jordan Curvalle (Sherco) 57.58:58; 10. Armman Monleon (KTM) 58.08:53; 11. Joan Jou (Husaberg) 58.48:05
1. Mika Ahola (Honda) 54.52:30; 2. Christophe Nambotin (Gas Gas) 55.20:21; 3. Marko Tarkkala (Husaberg) 55.55:59; 4. Seb Guillaume (Husqvarna) 56.02:04; 5. Joakim Ljunggren (Husaberg) 56.03:75; 6. Oriol Mena (Husaberg) 56.36:47; 7. Marcus Kehr (KTM) 56.41:38; 8. Alessandro Botturi (Gas Gas) 57.09:23; 9. Maurizio Micheluz (Fantic) 57.21:01; 10. Juan Perez (KTM) 57.21:76… 13. Jakob Morhed (Husaberg) 59.16:82
1. Antti Helsten (KTM) 56.20:16; 2. Jonathan Manzi (KTM) 56.36:99; 3. Jeremy Joly (Honda) 56.41:05; 4. Mathias Bellino (Husaberg) 56.44:05; 5. Benoit Fortunato (Yamaha) 56.45:06; 6. Mario Roman (KTM) 57.03:55; 7. Victor Guerrero (Yamaha) 57.34:30; 8. Edoardo D’ambrosio (Honda) 57.55:99; 9. Calle Sjoo (Honda) 58.09:14; 10. Henrik Lindholm (Honda) 58.21:82… 20 Kevin Benavides (Husaberg) 59.11:41
Starting right. Pela Renet delivers one of three podium results for Husaberg at GP of Spain
Enduro newcomer. Mathias Bellino rises to the occasion and scores an Enduro Junior class podium on day one
A tough event. Mostly dry and dusty the EWC opener also featured one or two challenging mud holes
Feeling fine. After a tough opening day Joakim Ljunggren challenged for an E3 podium place on day two
No pain, no gain. Riding with a broken little finger didn't stop Oriol Mena scoring strong championship points
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