Early leaders start to shine for the 2013 EWC Season. But the first two rounds, held in South America, were very different terrain than what is the norm for European enduro riding. Expect to see some of the other perennial favorites shine when the series moves back to the continent.
Alex SALVINI (I – HM Honda) scored the first win of his Enduro career , photo by Jonty Edmunds
Italy’s Alex SALVINI (Honda) continued his winning ways in the Maxxis Enduro World Championship with a stunning victory on day two at the GP Maxxis of Argentina. France’s Antoine MEO (KTM) collected his fourth Enduro 1 class win of the season while Estonia’s Aigar LEOK (TM)delivered a winning result in the Enduro 3 category in San Juan. In the Enduro Junior class, Italy’sRudi MORONI (KTM) secured his debut EWC win while Britain’s Jamie MCCANNEY (Husaberg)topped the Enduro Youth Cup.
Following his breakthrough win at the GP of Chile, Alex SALVINI has now cemented himself as one of the main championship contenders for this year’s Enduro 2 class title. Proving incredibly fast and consistent during day two in Argentina, the Honda rider won eight of the day’s 13 special tests to secure his second victory of the weekend. “It feel’s incredible to have won again,” told a delightedSALVINI. “I felt comfortable with my bike and was able to ride how I wanted to. Taking three wins in South America is unbelievable for me – now my goal is to keep working hard when the series returns to Europe.” Following his disappointment of fourth on day one, Spain’s Ivan CERVANTES (KTM)bounced back to place as runner-up to SALVINI on day two. Unable to completely close the gap toSALVINI, CERVANTES finished just eight seconds behind the Honda rider. Looking fast during the early part of the day, France’s Pela RENET (Husaberg) saw his chance of victory disappear with a costly crash on the technical enduro test. He recovered to end his day in third. Unable to repeat his podium result from day one, France’s Johnny AUBERT (KTM) placed fourth, while Manxman David KNIGHT (Honda) fought through the pain of an injured finger to finish fifth.
First victory of the season for Aigar LEOK
In the Enduro 3 category, it was Aigar LEOK that claimed the win. Capitalising on a problem by class leader Christophe NAMBOTIN’s KTM, LEOK gladly inherited the race lead on the final lap. Making no mistakes on the final enduro test, the TM Racing rider secured victory. “I’m so happy to have won,” confirmed LEOK. “Unfortunately Nambotin had a problem but last week I also had mine. Today I made no mistakes and rode as hard as I could. It feel’s fantastic to leave South America with a win.” Although matching the pace of LEOK throughout most of the day, Sweden’s Joakim LJUNGGREN (Husaberg) couldn’t close the gap to the TM rider and ended his day as runner-up. Italy’s Manuel MONNI (KTM) delivered a solid day of racing to take his first podium result of the season with third place. Despite setting the fastest time in 11 of the day’s 13 special tests,NAMBOTIN’s problems in the final cross test robbed him of victory and pushed him back to fourth position. Portugal’s Luis CORREIA (Beta) completed the top five.
In the Enduro 1 category the fight for victory was between Antoine MEO and Finland’s Juha SALMINEN (Husqvarna). With little to separate the duo throughout the day, it was MEO’s stunningly fast time in the final enduro test that delivered him victory. “Juha and myself fought hard for the win,” remarked MEO. “I found it hard to find a good rhythm in the morning but began to feel more comfortable as the day progressed. I gave it everything I had in the final enduro test and thankfully it was enough to win.” Fast and consistent during the day, SALMINEN provided quite a challenge to MEO. But unable to matchMEO’s time in the final test, the Husqvarna rider was forced to settle for second. Securing his second podium result of the weekend, Finland’s Matti SEISTOLA (Husqvarna) finished third. In the battle for fourth position, Italy’s Simone ALBERGONI (Honda) narrowly beat fellow countryman Thomas OLDRATI (Husaberg) by less than one second to take fourth with OLDRATI rounding out the top five.
On day two in Argentina a new winner emerged in the Enduro Junior class with Rudi MORONI (KTM) taking the win. Day one victor, Australian Matt PHILLIPS (Husqvarna) placed 14 seconds behind the Italian to claim the runner-up result. Manxman Danny MCCANNEY (Gas Gas) secured his second podium finish of the weekend with third place. Sweden’s Robert KVARNSTROM (Beta)placed fourth with Italy’s Giacomo REDONDI (KTM) rounding out the top five. Manxman Jamie MCCANNEY (Husaberg) earned his second win of the weekend with a 16-second margin of victory in the Enduro Youth Cup class. Italy’s Dawid CIUCCI (Husaberg) ended his day as runner-up. Chile’s Benjamin HERRERA (TM) completed the top three.