Fresh from recent stand out results in the opening round of the US Endurocross series and the FIM International Six Days Enduro Husaberg’s Enduro 3 star rider Joakim Ljunggren earns a double runner-up result at the penultimate GP of 2011
Delivering his best result of the 2011 Enduro World Championship season so far Husaberg’s Joakim Ljunggren has claimed a fantastic double runner-up result at the GP of Andorra, missing the top step of the Enduro 3 class podium by just two seconds on day one and an agonising one-second on day two.
Battling with current Enduro 3 championship leader Mika Ahola and Frenchman Christophe Nambotin throughout both days of competition, Joakim showed in no uncertain terms that it won’t be long before the young Swede stands on top of the competitive E3 podium.
With rain forcing the cancellation of the event’s extreme test on the opening day’s competition in Andorra, day one ended with the fastest riders completing just over 30 minutes of special test racing. But during those 30 minutes Ljunggren gave his absolute all to finish in a well-deserved second position behind Mika Ahola having got stronger and faster as the day progressed.
“I’m really, really happy. It’s the first time I’ve been involved in the fight to win, and it feels great,” enthused Joakim after the race. “I’m a little frustrated that I got so close to winning but wasn’t able to, but just to be fighting with Christophe Nambotin and Mika Ahola is great. I was two seconds behind Mika but it was great to finish second. I was surprised that I was as fast as I was on day one because there was no extreme test, which is where I am usually able to take some time from the other riders. I was riding well in the enduro test, which was full of rocks, and felt really comfortable with my bike. I didn’t have any problems and just kept pushing and pushing to try and win.”
Amazingly, having missed the win by just two seconds on day one, day two saw the Swede finish even closer to the number one spot. With Nambotin the rider to beat Joakim set about doing just that but missed victory by one-second. Despite his obvious frustration Joakim ended the event more than pleased with his efforts.
“This has been by far my best performance of the season,” proclaimed Joakim. “I’m really enjoying my riding and during the second day it was again really close at the front of the E3 class. Although I only won the first and last tests I didn’t really have one bad test all day. It would have been great to win, but hopefully I will be able to fight for the win at the final round in France.”
While an exceptionally good weekend for Ljunggren in Andorra, Oriol Mena didn’t fair quite so well. Ending the event frustrated with the fact that he wasn’t able to ride anywhere near as well as he knows he can do, eighth and sixth pace results were all the Spaniard had to show for his two days of hard work.
Pela Renet, Husaberg’s Enduro 2 class star who at the GP of Romania claimed a double class win, was another rider who struggled to get to grips with the technical, rocky enduro test yet still managed to place third on day one. Despite winning two of the second day’s four motocross tests Pela crashed on the enduro test on lap one, which in part stopped him from finishing on the podium. He placed fourth, 30 seconds behind countryman Antoine Meo.
“It’s been a really difficult weekend for me. The enduro test was where the race was won and lost and I just wasn’t fast enough there,” explained Renet honestly. “I pushed as hard as I could but I just couldn’t get the times of some of the other riders. The first day wasn’t too bad for me, but it was a short day with not so many special tests as the extreme test wasn’t used. I finished third, but it wasn’t what I hoped for. I crashed on the enduro test on the first lap on day two and on the other laps I was 10 or 15 seconds slower than the other riders. It’s disappointing to be fourth and not fighting for the win. I hope things go better at the last race in France.”
The Husaberg rider with the biggest smile on his face at the end of the event was Enduro Junior class competitor Mathias Bellino. Finishing on the podium on both days of a GP for the first time in his enduro career, Mathias showed that he’s improved dramatically following the ISDE in Finland by performing notably well on both the enduro and extreme tests.
Second to Spain’s Mario Roman on day one, Mathias was very much the Enduro Junior class rider to beat on the event’s motocross test. But it was the fact that he completed the enduro test without mistakes that enabled him to claim the runner-up spot. Not even the inclusion of the extreme test on day two slowed Bellino. Again fast on the motocross test he completed two technical extreme tests and four enduro tests without any problems to secure another well-deserved runner-up result.
“It’s been a very good weekend for me, maybe my best so far this year,” admitted Mathias. “It’s certainly not been an easy race for motocross riders, and that’s why I am so happy with my results. The extreme test was like a trial event, and the enduro test was also very difficult with many rocks. But I think the ISDE helped me because there were many tests in the forests. I went all weekend without any mistakes, and finishing on the podium on both days is great. I’ve moved from seventh in the Enduro Junior championship to fourth now with the French race still to go. I can’t wait for the final race of the championship.”
Enduro World Championship 2011
Grand Prix of Andorra – Day one
1. Antoine Meo (Husqvarna) 32.21:71; 2. Ivan Cervantes (Gas Gas) 32.24:43; 3. Pela Renet (Husaberg) 32.32:73; 4. Cristobal Guerrero (KTM) 32.34:82; 5. Seb Bozzo (Kawasaki) 33.16:28… 12. Hans Vogels (Husaberg) 34.44:80
1. Mika Ahola (Honda) 32.28:75; 2. Joakim Ljunggren (Husaberg) 32.30:91; 3. Christophe Nambotin (Gas Gas) 32.34:86; 4. Marko Tarkkala (Husaberg) 32.47:15; 5. Seb Guillaume (Husqvarna) 32.59:86… 8. Oriol Mena (Husaberg) 33.57:78
1. Mario Roman (KTM) 33.06:21; 2. Mathias Bellino (Husaberg) 33.30:06; 3. Jonathan Manzi (KTM) 33.37:53; 4. Jeremy Joly (Honda) 33.39:58; 5. Antti Hellsten (KTM) 33.52:36… 11. Kevin Benavides (Husaberg) 34.26:63
Enduro World Championship 2011
Grand Prix of Andorra – Day two
1. Cristobal Guerrero (KTM) 42.00:36; 2. Ivan Cervantes (Gas Gas) 42.03:81; 3. Antoine Meo (Husqvarna) 42.18:46; 4. Pela Renet (Husaberg) 42.46:14; 5. Taddy Blazusiak (KTM) 43.32.31… 8. Hans Vogels (Husaberg) 44.24:28
1. Christophe Nambotin (Gas Gas) 42.05:40; 2. Joakim Ljunggren (Husaberg) 42.06:46; 3. Mika Ahola (Honda) 42.11:00; 4. Marko Tarkkala (Husaberg) 42.53:38; 5. Kurt Caselli (KTM) 43.08:76… 6. Oriol Mena (Husaberg) 44.01:81
1. Mario Roman (KTM) 43.02:26; 2. Mathias Bellino (Husaberg) 43.29:44; 3. Jeremy Joly (Honda) 43.44:86; 4. Benoit Fortunato (Yamaha) 43.54:68; 5. Romain Dumontier (Yamaha) 44.10:03
2011 Enduro World Championship – Series Standings
1. Antoine Meo (Husqvarna) 319; 2. Cristobal Guerrero (KTM) 268; 3. Ivan Cervantes (Gas Gas) 258; 4. Pela Renet (Husaberg) 240; 5. Antoine Basset (Yamaha) 200… 9. Hans Vogels (Husaberg) 145; 20. Aaron Bernardez (Husaberg) 22; 22. Joan Jou (Husaberg) 19
1. Mika Ahola (Honda) 319; 2. Christophe Nambotin (Gas Gas) 296; 3. Joakim Ljunggren (Husaberg) 262; 4. Marko Tarkkala (Husaberg) 226; 5. Oriol Mena (Husaberg) 210… 20. Jakob Morhed (Husaberg) 34; 25. Andrea Belotti (Husaberg) 14
1. Jeremy Joly (Honda) 283; 2. Mario Roman (KTM) 279; 3. Romain Dumontier (Yamaha) 229; 4. Mathias Bellino (Husaberg) 222; 5. Jonathan Manzi (KTM) 215… Kevin Benavides (Husaberg) 110; 24. Karl Svensson (Husaberg) 26