Claiming victory in the Enduro 2 class on both days of the GP of Romania Husaberg Factory Team rider Pela Renet ensures a dream start for Husaberg’s ’12 model FE 450…
For Husaberg Factory Team rider Pela Renet the GP of Romania, round six of this year’s Enduro World Championship held in Buzau, was always going to be an important one. Showing that he had the skill and speed to challenge for victory at the recent GP of Greece, in Romania the Frenchman was determined to secure his first podium topping result of the season, which is exactly what he did – twice!
Competing, for the first time, aboard a ’12 model FE 450 Pela secured the results he so desperately wanted. And he did it in style. With the dry Romanian terrain much to his liking Pela started day one as he hoped to finish it and topped the opening four special tests. Opening up a slender but important advantage Pela held his nerve and claimed a well-deserved win. Topping all but two of the nine tests on the second day Renet earned victory once again.
‘It’s been a fantastic weekend for me,’ explained a thrilled Renet at the end of the race. ‘In Turkey and Greece I could see that I had the speed to win and here in Romania everything worked out perfectly – I felt good during both days and my bike was perfect, too. On the first day in Greece the win was almost mine but things didn’t quite work out, but here I really wanted to show that I could win, which I did. Having the speed to win and winning are two different things, now that I have won I feel much more confidant. Of course I want to do it again.’
Asserting himself at the top of the Enduro 2 class early on both days Renet not only showed that he had the speed to win, but also remained calm and collected as each special test passed. With E2 championship leader Antoine Meo and Spain’s Cristobal Guerrero never too far behind Pela did everything right and thougraghly deserved his double winning result.
‘I took the lead early on both days and stayed out front,’ added the Frenchman. ‘That’s what I was most pleased with – the fact that I continued to ride well even with the pressure of leading. This has been the first race this year where there’s been no stones, which I really enjoyed. I know that I can only win the Enduro 2 world championship with a miracle so my goal now is just to try and claim as many day wins as possible.’
Making it a truly memorable weekend for the Husaberg Factory Team was the fact that Enduro Junior class racer Mathias Bellino also secured victory in Romani. For the first time ever the enduro rookie stood on top of the EJ class podium on day one, some 21 seconds clear of his nearest challenger. Like countryman and team-mate Renet, Bellino made a great start to the day by establishing an early lead after topping the opening two tests. Then, with mistake free riding, he added a further three test wins to his day’s work to claim a memorable win.
‘Day one was great – I started in first position and finished in first position,’ enthused the young Frenchman. ‘Everything went perfectly, there’s not so much more to say. What was incredible was the fact that before the race I didn’t have one point in the extreme test championship (a separate sub-championship based on performances exclusively on the extreme test). I had always struggled on the extreme tests but this time I managed to win. It wasn’t so extreme, not like some of the tests we’ve had this year, but good results there really helped me to win. Day one was just great. The second day wasn’t quite so good, but still it wasn’t bad. I lost a little too much time in the enduro test and had one crash in the motocross test, but I finished fourth.’
For Husaberg’s Enduro 3 class riders it was a good but not great weekend. By their own high standards both Joakim Ljunggren and Oriol Mena were hopeful of podium finishes, but both failed to break into the top three on either day. For Ljunggren, who’d regularly been finishing top three during the last few EWC races, sixth on day one and fifth on day two was the best he could do.
‘I found things a little bit difficult this weekend, mainly because it was quite an easy race,’ offered the Swede. ‘Although it was hot it wasn’t physically demanding at all and the course and special tests weren’t too hard. Even the extreme test was easy, mainly flat grass turns with some easy logs. I wanted to be on the podium again but things didn’t go so well for me. The second day was better, I was just eight seconds off the podium. It’s disappointing to be outside the top three but all in all it was a good weekend, especially for the team with Renet and Bellino winning.’
It was a similar story for Mena, who like Ljunggren finished in fifth and sixth. Once again battling with the fastest riders in the E3 class the former Enduro Junior World Champion was pleased with his weekend’s work. ‘It’s been a very good weekend for me. On day one I was fifth, but importantly I was very close to the riders ahead of me. I was just eight seconds behind the runner-up, which I was very happy with. I had some really good battles with Mika Ahola and Kurt Caselli so although I didn’t manage to finish on the podium I’m really happy with the way the day went. Day started in the worst way for me. I crashed really hard in the opening enduro test and lost 20 seconds. After that it was really difficult to catch up the time I lost, especially with less than one-hour of special test racing during the day. I was down in 12th position and finished in sixth. I was taking one or two seconds back on each special test but I just didn’t have enough special tests left to do any better.’
Despite the lack of any E3 class podium results the victorious performances of Pela Renet and Mathias Bellino aboard their FE 450 machines ensured an extremely positive weekend’s racing for the Husaberg Factory Team. Something that put a large smile on team manager Thomas Gustavsson’s face! ‘It feels great that Husaberg has returned to the top of the podium. We saw a few races ago that Renet had the speed to win, and it was obvious that it was only a matter of time before he would win. This weekend he was superb. He rode incredibly well, and never let the pressure of leading get to him – a truly world class performance. We’re sure that he’ll make a very strong end to the ’11 season now. The fact that he was riding the ’12 model FE 450 just makes things even better. It’s been a perfect debut for the new bike. With Mathias Bellino also winning in the Enduro Junior class as well on day one, well, it’s just been a fantastic weekend for Husaberg.’
Seistola & Salminen dominate Enduro 1 class at EWC GP of Romania
Finnish duo lock-out the top step of the E1 class podium aboard their TE 250 machines while a double rostrum result ensures Antoine Meo maintains his E2 championship lead
With winning performances from both Matti Seistola and Juha Salminen in the Enduro 1 class, and double podium results from both Enduro 2 championship leader Antoine Meo and Enduro 3 class racer Seb Guillaume, the sixth round of the ’11 Enduro World Championship was certainly a good one for the Husqvarna CH Racing Monster Energy Team. The first ever running of an EWC event in Romania, two days of close racing and sky-high temperatures ended with seven podium finishes for the team but more importantly with Juha Salminen and Antoine Meo maintaining their advantages in the Enduro 1 and Enduro 2 classes respectively.
While it’s Salminen who leads the E1 title fight with two rounds remaining it was his team-mate and countryman Matti Seistola who claimed E1 class victory on day one, coming out on top of the Husqvarna one-two some 10 seconds up on Salminen. Getting off to a winning start while Salminen struggled to find his rhythm during the opening two special tests, Matti held his advantage throughout the day never placing lower than third in class on any of the day’s eight special tests. While things very much went Matti’s way on day one, day two saw the Finn only just manage to place inside the top 10 as a heavy fall and many smaller mistakes denied him of a second podium result. Making no mistakes Juha fought off countryman Eero Remes to claim a well-deserved win, remaining firm at the top of the E2 championship standings.
Juha Salminen – Enduro 1: ‘I lost everything in the first two tests on day one. I don’t know why but I didn’t feel 100 per cent and I paid the price. The day just didn’t start well but as soon as the first lap was over things started to improve. I lost the day by nine seconds, which is the time I lost on the first two tests. But I got second to Matti so for Husqvarna that was great, and for my championship it wasn’t bad at all. Day two wasn’t so much different to the first just without the mistakes I made early on day one. I have to say that I really enjoyed the race, the track was a little too long but apart from that it was good.’
Matti Seistola – Enduro 1: ‘It’s been a mixed weekend for me, some good, some not so good. The first day was great. I really felt good and didn’t make any mistakes at all. I wasn’t super fast but I was consistent, which is something I’m working on. I liked the tests and with my bike working perfectly it was a really enjoyable day. Normally the second day is better for me than the first, but not this weekend. I started the day making lots of small mistakes but then in the second motocross test I lost the use of my clutch. I got nervous then and crashed on one of the downhill double jumps. The bike landed on the throttle side, stuck on, and when I picked the bike up it launched itself forward again. I managed to finish the test but lost a lot of time. That was a small problem, the big problem was that I just wasn’t riding well at all. It’s disappointing after such a good first day, I guess it happens some times.’
With the ’11 Enduro World Championship rapidly reaching its close maintaining his healthy Enduro 2 championship lead was the most important thing for Antoine Meo, which he did by claiming two podium results. Close to winning on both days – 15 and 16 respectively separated Antoine from victory on each of the two days – Antoine’s lead at the top of the class remains 49 points with just two rounds remaining. On day one a heavy landing from a jump resulted in back pain, which made the rest of the day difficult. On day two a mistake on the enduro test saw Antoine drop into the runner-up position, the position he would hold until the end of the day. Antoine’s Enduro 2 class team-mate Simone Albergoni produced two days of consistent racing finishing sixth both times out.
Antoine Meo – Enduro 2: ‘It’s been a tough weekend for me but with two podium results it’s been a good one. On the first day I made a mistake on the first extreme test. I missed my breaking point and landed flat off a jump. I hurt my back and had some pain all day. I tried to push hard on the final lap to get second but Cristobal Guerrero was very fast. A podium result was good. I took some pain killers for the second day, which made things much better but I made a mistake on the enduro test. That put me into second place and after that I wasn’t able to get back into the lead. Although I wasn’t able to win two podium results is good for my championship lead.’
With team rider Alex Salvini competing in the prestigious Australian Four Day Enduro it was left to experienced Frenchman Seb Guillaume to fly the flag for the Husqvarna CH Racing Monster Energy Team in Romania. Ensuring he didn’t let his team down Seb scored a superb double podium result, placing as runner-up in the stacked E3 class on day one and then third on day two.
Seb Guillaume – Enduro 3: ‘The first day went really well, almost perfectly. I really felt like I was riding well, like myself. It’s the first time for several GPs that I’ve felt like that. I felt strong until the end of the day and I didn’t make any mistakes, which I was pleased with. Day two wasn’t quite as good as the first day but I finished on the podium again. It was a harder day and I knew that beating Nambotin and Ahola was going to be hard. The most important thing was that I enjoyed the day and got two good podium results for the team.’