The second event on the 2012 FIM Enduro World Championship calendar saw the action moving from Chile to the other side of the Andes in Argentina...
Antoine Meo, KTM’s latest E1 signing for the 2012 season, left South America with four straight World Championship victories in his pocket marking him as an early title favourite for the coming season.
The French rider won both rounds in Chile last weekend and repeated them this weekend in San Juan, a venue on the other side of the Andes that offered soft gravelly terrain in sharp contract with last weekend’s hard pack surface.
Meo started the weekend by coming second on his KTM 250 EXC-F in the KTM Super test on Friday night by five tenths of a second to set up the advantage for the third round.
Despite the scorching heat of the South American summer and a very demanding day in the saddle, Meo was once again unstoppable in Enduro 1 and stormed home to take his third victory. He set the pace right from the opening lap and was fastest in every test except the final Enduro Test of the day.
“I pushed as hard as I could during the morning to try an open up an advantage as I knew it would be difficult once the special tests became rougher,” he said. “I am so happy to win another Enduro 1 race.”
Frenchman Marc Bourgeois and Simone Albergoni of Italy took the minor places on Saturday, while KTM’s Eero Remes finished fourth, missing the third podium spot by less than two seconds.
1, Antoine Meo, 80
2, Simone Albergoni, 55
3, Rodrig Thain, 53
4, Marc Bourgeois, France, Yamaha, 51
5, Eero Remes, 48
Spanish rider Ivan Cervantes finished on top of the podium on Saturday after race leader Juha Salminen had to retire after catching a stone in his chain.
“I’m so happy to have finally won again,” said Cervantes. “It’s been a long time since I last won and I’m very grateful for this important victory.”
The advancement of Cervantes to winner and early exit for Salminen left Cristobal Guerrero and Johnny Aubert to fight it out for the minor podium places. The two KTM factory riders battled against each other for the honours with Aubert holding the advantage until a last lap spurt by Guerrero allowed him to take second place. Guerrero also proved on Sunday that he is fit enough to last the distance when he finished second to claim his second podium in two days.
Aubert did not fare so well on Day Two when he had to retire after the second test following his podium third on Saturday. Team boss Fabio Farioli said after the race that Aubert had experienced what they thought was a technical problem with his bike: “Johnny was unlucky today, we think it was an electrical problem and we’re working to find out what happened.”
1, Ivan Cervantes, 69
2, Cristobal Guerrero, 60
3, Pierre-Alexandre Renet, 56
4, Juha Salminen, Finland, HVA, 51
5, Alex Salvini, 45
KTM Enduro Factory rider Christophe Nambotin of France wrapped up Rounds three and four of the Enduro 3 World Championship in San Juan with two more victories and a perfect score card as the tour leaves for Europe.
“It was difficult in the hot conditions but I was able to find a strong pace early on which helped me to open up a healthy lead,” said Nambotin. “Aside from a small crash in the Extreme Test it’s been another perfect race for me and to be fastest in the overall classification is an added bonus. Hopefully I can repeat these results again tomorrow.”
KTM team-mate David Knight grappled his way to another solid result in the FIM Enduro World Championship, scoring a pair of second-placed finishes in the Enduro 3 class.
Consistently placing his KTM at the sharp end of the results during the two days of tough competition, Knight now holds the runner-up position in the E3 championship standings. “I think this was one of the toughest GPs for a long time," said Knight. "The course was very physical but the heat magnified how tough it was. I really enjoyed the event.”
1, Christophe Nambotin, 80
2, David Knight, 64
3, Aigar Leok, 58
4, Joakim Ljunggren, 54
5, Oriol Mena, Spain, Husaberg, 46
- Check out our dedicated Hard Enduro page
- Take a look at Johnny Aubert’s official site
- Visit Johnny’s profile page
- Hard Enduro at 1,000 FPS
- More Red Bull motor sports