Johnny Aubert in winning form at the opening round of the 2010 WEC in Spain
KTM Enduro Factory Team E1 rider Johnny Aubert brushed off the disappointment of only a second place finish on Saturday to be on top of his game in Round Two of the World Championship on Sunday.
The two openers in this season's competition provided ample challenges for the skills and fitness of the riders who competed three 55 km laps each day including five gruelling tests per lap on the course at Valverde del Camino in the hart of Spanish Andalusia.
Aubert, who last year was the runaway E2 World Champion, winning every race he entered until he missed the final three rounds through injury as a little dejected after only coming home in second place on Saturday, which the Frenchman described as "very difficult". "I made a big mistake on the extreme and I lost a lot of time….... so tomorrow I need to win." This remark proved prophetical and Aubert was as good as his word.
Like many of the riders on the opening day KTM's Eero Remes also had trouble with the big uphill section where he crashed after trying a different line and lost a lot of time. But he said he felt confident and motivated going into day two of this the opening event. However Round Two also proved tough going for 24-year-old Finn who was forced to retire after the seventh test. Remes, who finished fourth in the standings in 2009, was disappointed with the outcome of the weekend. But he will be doing his best to put in a great two days of racing next weekend in Rounds 3 and 4 in Portugal.
Overall E1 Point Standings
Johnny Aubert, France, KTM - 47
Antoine Meo, France, Husqvarna - 47
Cristobal Guerrero, Spain, Yamaha - 40
Nicholas Deparrois, France, Kawasaki - 36
5. Matti Seistola, Finland, Husqvarna - 31
World Enduro E3 champion Ivan Cervantes shows the E2 class he's hunting for another title going 2-1 in Spain.
Ivan Cervantes, 2009 World E3 Champion, launched his bid for the E2 title in Southern Spain this weekend going out hard on Sunday to win his race and improve on his second place from Saturday's Round 1.
Returning to Valverde del Camino, 90 kilometres from Seville, where he has raced in the Spanish National Championship on three other occasions, Cervantes had both his fans and family out to support him in what was two tough days of racing through a range of terrain that included eucalyptus and pine forest, steep rocky up- and down hill challenges and plenty of rocks and gravel.
Cervantes went into the second day confident after finishing second in round one. "I started with a good fight with Mika Ahola and Rodrig Thain and Juha Salminen, then I had a little problem in the middle of the race with the clutch but it was an easy solution because it was just the lever. Then I made a big mistake in the extreme test and I lost more than 20 seconds. But tomorrow is a new race and a new mentality,"
he said after Round One.
It was a good omen for the accomplished KTM Enduro Factory Team rider who, clearly elated after the day's challenges, described his second day as "incredible". "I was very slow after the second special test and I lost about 20 seconds but then I pushed really hard and I managed to take the victory. Today was great for me. I had all my family here to support me and now I am very motivated for the next races in Portugal next weekend,"
Thomas Oldrati was a little disappointed after the opening round but still attracted some compliments from factory team boss Fabio Fairoli. "He lost a lot of time in the big Enduro test and he crashed in the last extreme… but it was not so bad. At the beginning of the day he was pushing quite hard and he was in also in front,"
Fairoli said. The young Italian put in a solid second day on the 55 km laps to repeat his fifth place result on both days.
The standings after the first two rounds indicate that this class of the championship will be hard fought.
Overall E2 Point Standings
Ivan Cervantes, Spain, KTM, - 47
Mika Ahola, Finland, Honda, - 47
Rodrig Thain, France TM, - 38
Juha Salminen, Finland, BMW - 38
Thomas Oldrati, Italy, KTM, - 32
David Knight shows off the KTM's power by taking first place in each day of racing. A solid start to the 2010 WEC season.
KTM factory and supported riders made a blistering start in the first two rounds of the Maxxis FIM Enduro World Championship this weekend when the tour returned to Andalusia in Southern Spain after an eight year pause with David Knight scoring double victories on his KTM.
Knight, no stranger to the top of the podium is a KTM-supported rider for the KTM Fairoli Team and celebrated his return to the World Championship riding Orange to first place on both Saturday and Sunday in Valverde del Camino, some 90 kilometres from Seville.
Meanwhile Simone Albergoni of the KTM Enduro Factory Team and this season new to the E3 class also had a solid start to the 2010 racing season with two third place podiums.
Riders had to cover three 55 km laps on Saturday and Sunday with five tests per lap that proved to be a solid test of the riders' fitness. One long rocky uphill with 10 m of off camber cliff in the extreme test proved a challenge for many of the riders.
Manxman Knight admitted to being a little nervous in the first round but said he started to relax after the first lap. "Then in the extreme test, that hill, either you were going - you didn't get up it. I just tried to be sensible. I'm happy because I wasn't really pushing hard until the last lap and I still made a good time."
Knight took two top spots for KTM with fellow KTM rider Christoph Nambotin not far behind in third.
At the conclusion of the second day he said he enjoying being back on the KTM. "The bike went well this weekend and today I just had to be careful and use my head. I went to have a closer look at the big hill before the race. Yesterday one guy crashed in front of me and I stopped the engine but today I got up with no problems. It was a long weekend but I felt good at the end and I'm looking forward to Portugal next weekend. I always like to race there."
Speaking after the opening round, Albergoni said: "Yes, it's not so bad. First time on the podium on the 300 two-stroke. I made a lot of mistakes and I crashed twice but it looks good for tomorrow - and for Portugal."
It was a confidence booster that he was able to follow his success with another minor place on Sunday.
Overall E3 Points Standings
1. David Knight, Britain, KTM - 50
2. Christoph Nambotin, France, Gas Gas - 44
3. Simone Albergoni, Italy, KTM - 40
4.Bartosz Oblucki, Poland, - 33
5. Oriol Mena, Spain, - 30