Among his long list of accomplishments, Juha Salminen changed the face of KTM racing in North America. Prior to his arrival in 2005, KTM had dominated the National Enduro series thanks to Mike Lafferty, but could not seem to find the top step in the biggest US racing series. The real cherry, the GNCC series, had proved difficult to crack since the rout of Shane Watts in the early 2000’s. The strong efforts of the Japanese kept a stronghold on the cross country series. When Juha arrived and won, KTM really started its way to the overall leadership role that it sees today in off road racing.
From JuhaSalminen.net – The world’s most successful enduro rider Juha Salminen, 36, has decided to discontinue the long career as professional enduro rider.
– Enduro as a sport has given me a lot, but now it is time to move on to new challenges. I have set my life conditions via enduro so long that now it is time to do something else, comments Juha.
Juha won he’s first world championship already 1999 and confirms that riding has exhausted him because each year he has given 100% for the racing with greatest determination, passion and attitude.
– I had several offers on a table and speed wise I could have continue the career without any issue. I have always done my work as well as possible and work itself has motivated me. For this reason I have been able to race so long at top level. At the moment I do not want any longer commit on racing with full dedication and I want to direct my effort on new things. My personality does not allow me to stand still so I will figure out something else, comments Juha.
Salminen has achieved in 3 decades 13 personal championships and seven team world championships from International Six Days Enduro. The amount of other titles is almost countless and one of the finest moments was when Juha won two GNCC championships from Cross Country series at USA. Juha also was nominated by AMA (American Motorcyclist Association) Amateur Athlete of the Year title as a first European.
– The amount of championships is significant if we compare it with years as a professional. I have been doing basically all of my life in some kind of motorcycle racing – I became professional enduro rider at 1998, says Juha.
Juha was in similar situation 10 years ago as he is now;
– It was huge motivational boost when I changed the EWC to GNCC and moved to USA at 2004. At times I need to have change to the conditions and environment and it looks like I have about 4-5 years cycles when I start looking for something new. This decision of ending my career started to cook within at the end of the year 2012 and beginning of this year that where very heavy.
”All moments has been wonderful”
Altogether 20 championships tell all about it how successful Juha Salminen has been. It is fair to say that Juha is one of the best motorcycle racers all time. Only RR-rider Giacomo Agostinilta has more personal championships than Juha, over 15.
– There is a saying that the first championship is the best. But myself I do not remember that any longer except from the photos. There is incredible amount of great moments in my career, that none of the single wins are not over any other. All of the moments has been great, says Juha.
This saying describes well the character of Juha and dedication on he’s work. Juha has never looked back and he’s approach has been always towards the future.
– I really have not had long-lasting plans in my career. I have always lived in a moment and done the present one as good as possible, actually the next race. All the time I have moved further on development, and I have never have had in my career any major setback or injuries, says Juha
Juha emphasis that success comes only via hard work with pinch of talent.
– I have followed the signposts year after year what Kari Tiainen gave me when I started my career. The winters I have spent at Spain by changing locations and duration of the trips. Over the years I have increased significantly of the quality of the training, but there is not really any kind of magic in racing and training. My speed has been quite a same past five years and the competition has been getting tougher and tougher all the time, and the top has got wider. Especially now good racers are coming from France, comments Juha.
”My Dad has been the number one”
Juha has also won national championships from Spain and Germany and countless amount of other kind of events like Erzber Rogeo and Stadium Enduro at Barcelona. Juha is multi-talent and has won also Motocross and Trial races on national and international levels.
– I have always have the greatest grew supporting me. My dad Jouko is of course the number one! We have formed with him always a great team. Everything started with him when Enduro became my hobby, gives Juha open heart credit on he’s dad.
Juha’s most pleasurable hobby at the moment is rally cars and he has won this summer National championship race in he’s class.
– I would be ready to race rally with “full gas” and my results has been great and proven I can do that too, anyhow it is incredible expensive hobby, comments Juha.
Target is the silver
Juha fights for the silver at E1 class. Currently Juha is on the points as a second two points ahead of the team mate Matti Seistola. The last EWC race is held at St. Flour at France 7.-8 September. This coming weekend Juha competes at Cassano Magnago, Italy in national championship.
– I still have two medals to be won, and I am going to fight hard, comments Juha
Juha is sure that motorcycles will not leave him, nor him them in the future.
– In the future I will be riding motorcycles. It would be too hard to end all riding completely, so why not I would not do some racing if it feels aligned and fun. You never know what future will bring to me. Anyhow, the professional career ends here, concludes Juha
Juha Salminen, 27.9.1976
– 13 personal world championships, and 5 overall wins from 2000-2004.
– 96 EWC race wins
– 7 ISDE-Championships
– 2 USA GNCC-championships 2005-2006.
1999: Enduro World Champion 125cc
2000: Enduro World Champion 125cc
2001: Enduro World Champion 250cc
2002: Enduro World Champion 400cc
2003: Enduro World Champion 500cc
2004: Enduro World Champion E2
2007: Enduro World Champion E1
2011: Enduro World Champion E1