Sometimes it’s a good thing being the underdog. Often over looked and left alone, come the start of a new season not having the ‘pressure of expectancy’ weighing down on you is a real bonus.
In all the talk leading up to opening round of the EWC GP of Chile this weekend, the focus of attention surrounding the Enduro 2 class is about the ‘big three’. With multiple world titles to their name the heavy hitters of Johnny Aubert, Juha Salminen and Ivan Cervantes (not forgetting Pela Renet) are the immediate favourites for success. However next to them is a rider that finished second overall in the 2011 Enduro 2 title chase – KTM Enduro Factory Team’s Cristobal Guerrero.
In the last 12 months the quiet Spaniard has dramatically lifted his game. When his teammate Aubert dropped out of the 2011 E2 championship chase, Guerrero stepped up in style. Carding 12-podium finishes that included wins in Turkey and Andorra, Guerrero finished his season just 56 points adrift of eventual champion Antoine Meo. If it weren’t for a non-score in Spain, the points would have been tighter.
But since the EWC season ending GP of France last October, Guerrero hasn’t stopped working. Knowing Extreme tests is where he needed to improve his game he signed up to the FIM SuperEnduro World Championship. Against some of the best Endurocross talent in the business he ended his season sixth and with a podium result in Italy. Now with the EWC fast approaching he’s back on track and perfecting his skills on the dry and dusty terrain of his national Spanish Enduro Championship.
Knowing conditions in South America will be akin to that of his backyard in Spain, Guerrero is proving his worth once more. Beating one of the ‘big three’ at the opening round of the series he finished third overall behind Aubert and Cervantes.
Returning for round two, a determined Cristobal trailed Ivan by less than two tenths of a second after the opening two specials. Nine specials later Guerrero had topped the standings to claim victory in Spain. Getting the better of Cervantes he ticked another of the ‘big three’ off his list.
Now with the pre-season testing complete and a tough winter’s training behind him, Guerrero will arrive in Chile with his confidence high and as a tough rider to beat…