Double podium finish at GP of Andorra ensures Husqvarna and Antoine Meo claim Enduro 2 World Championship title in style at the year’s penultimate GP
Husqvarna CH Racing Monster Energy Team rider Antoine Meo is the 2011 Enduro 2 World Champion. Continuing his amazing season Meo put his name to the coveted E2 title following two near faultless performances at the season’s penultimate event, the GP of Andorra. Starting the race with a commanding championship lead a winning result on day one put the Frenchman in the perfect position to become the first rider of 2011 to be crowned Enduro World Champion. Despite challenging weather conditions and a demanding course Antoine and his TE 310 performed exceptionally during day two. With the Frenchman’s focus being to win the E2 championship Meo placed third, just 18 seconds behind the day’s eventual winner. In doing so Antoine claimed Husqvarna’s 79th world title.
Throughout 2011 Antoine has proved both the performance and reliability of Husqvarna’s TE310. Facing rivals aboard more powerful 350cc and 450cc machinery, he took charge of the championship and built on the successes of winning the Enduro 1 World Championship with Husqvarna in 2010. Claiming no fewer than seven day wins and finishing off the podium just once during seven two-day GPs, Antoine and Husqvarna have remained at the top of the competitive Enduro 2 class since the opening round of the series in Spain. In Andorra Meo overcame a slow start to the opening day to power his way onto the top step of the podium, claiming the win following an outstanding winning performance on the day’s final special test. On day two winning the Enduro 2 World Championship was Antoine’s primary goal, which he achieved in style with a solid third place result.
Antoine Meo – Enduro 2: ‘It’s difficult to explain how I feel. I’m overjoyed that all the hard work that everyone on the team has put in this year has resulted in this title. I’ve had some rivals have mechanical problems earlier in the season so things were a little easier for me than I was expecting, but finishing races and being consistent is what winning championships is all about. I’m so happy to have won the Enduro 2 world title. It’s fantastic. I took things a little easy at the start of the first day because I knew it was going to be a hard race and I had a championship to think about. Also, with the overnight rain the tracks were really slippery. Slowly I found my rhythm and by the last special test I was back in contention for the win. I gave that last special test my all and everything was great and I managed to win the day. For the second day I was pretty nervous and again made a slow start. I broke my rear brake lever towards the end of the day so I wasn’t able to push as hard as I wanted on the final lap. I knew I wouldn’t be able to win so I tried to remain in third, which worked out perfectly. I can relax now and have some fun at the last round of the championship in France.’
Meo’s Husqvarna CH Racing Monster Energy team-mate Juha Salminen was struck by bad luck early on day one when a rare mechanical problem forced him to retire. Bouncing back in style Salminen claimed the Enduro 1 class win on day two, collecting his ninth class day win of the 2011 season so far. Despite the loss of 25 important championship points Salminen remains 24 points clear of his closest championship rival going into the final event of the Enduro World Championship season, next month’s the GP of France. Salminen’s team-mate Matti Seistola endured a tough GP but the determined Finn nevertheless claimed two third place podium results. Matti now sits third in the E1 championship standings.
Juha Salminen – Enduro 1: ‘It’s always disappointing if you don’t finish a day for whatever reason, but looking at the bigger picture things aren’t so bad. It’s a part of motorsport that you have to accept. I didn’t get any feeling for what the event would be like on day one, but it wasn’t a problem on the second day. The enduro test was difficult for me on day two though because it got really rough on the first day, much rougher than I expected. Having an extreme test on the second day was good for me, and I enjoyed the whole day. We have a few weeks before the final round in France where hopefully things will go well.’
Matti Seistola – Enduro 1: ‘It’s been a tough GP for me but because I made it tough for myself. I made mistakes at the start of both days, which made it impossible for me to battle for the victory. I feel like I’ve spent two days battling my way up the results after crashes. If I could take away the first half of both days I’d be really happy because my speed was good in the afternoons. My bike was great and I’m sure if I could have been faster and not made mistakes early on both days I’d have been able to challenge for better results. But third on both days isn’t too bad, but I hope to do better at the final race in France.’
In the Enduro 3 class team riders Seb Guillaume and Alex Salvini followed one another home on both days. On day one Seb and Alex placed fifth and sixth respectively, while at the end of a tough day two they finished seventh and eighth.