Piere Alexandre Renet #4
Team: Husaberg Factory Team
Bike: Husaberg FE 450
With three victories and fourth overall in Enduro 2 during 2011, Pela – the former MX3 world motocross champion – has shown he is now very much an enduro rider. Renet, who will be starting his second season with Husaberg, is hoping 2012 can be his year to be a champion of both disciplines.
Juha Salminen #19
Team: Husqvarna CH Racing
Bike: Husqvarna TE 310
Juha Salminen is the greatest enduro rider of all time and he proved that once again by bouncing back from two incredibly difficult seasons in 2009 and 2010 to win the Enduro 1 championship with Husqvarna last year. Showing no signs of slowing down, the quiet Finn now moves on to his next challenge – that of conquering Enduro 2. Expect Juha to be a very serious title contender.
Johnny Aubert #21
Team: KTM Factory Enduro
Bike: KTM 450 EXC
Tipped by many as the one to watch in 2011, the double world champion’s EWC campaign ended early due to mechanical gremlins and injury. With the mechanical issues solved and injuries healed, Johnny must once again be regarded as a rider to watch in 2012. Claiming an impressive 14th overall in the Dakar Rally along with victory at round one of the Spanish Enduro Championship, Aubert is returning to top form.
Ivan Cervantes #25
Team: Gas Gas
Bike: Gas Gas 450
Ivan Cervantes delivers. Period. Even with a change of team and machinery, the four-time world champion still delivered the goods by coming home third in Enduro 2 during 2011. But third isn’t where Ivan wants to be, so rest assured Cervantes will be focused on winning again during 2012. And now that he is running Gas Gas’s new four-stroke model he has the right tools at his disposal to get the job done in 2012.
Cristobal Guerrero #96
Team: KTM Factory Enduro
Bike: KTM 350 EXC-F
Since becoming a KTM factory rider Cristobal’s confidence has skyrocketed over the last 12-months. Not originally seen as a major title contender, Guerrero calmly rose to the challenge once his teammate Aubert crashed out. In what was regarded as a learning year, Cristobal finished second overall in E2. In 2012 he will be expecting to go one step better.
Just missing out on our top five is Husqvarna CH Racing’s Alex Salvini and that’s only because he hasn’t got Enduro 2 credentials. Following a promising career in motocross that saw him represent Italy at the Motocross of Nations in 2008, Salvini switched full time to enduro for 2011. After a mixed season, he ended his year on a high with two seconds in France and was awarded Rookie of the Year. Now on a bike with proven world championship success, Salvini is ready to take the next step in enduro.
Scoring solid results throughout the entire season earned Antoine Basset a place in the top five Enduro 2 standings. With a winter to improve his game, he’ll be hoping to pressure the main contenders. Jeff Goblet, is one of the fastest privateers on the scene at the moment and after finishing sixth in 2011, the Yamaha rider will want to ‘get one over’ some of the factory backed guys.
Winning the opening three rounds of the Dutch Enduro Championship, Husaberg’s Hans Vogels is showing great form and will want to transfer that speed across to the EWC. Adding in the French duo of Julien Gauthier (Kawasaki) and Romain Dumontier (Husqvarna) ensures breaking into the top ten in Enduro 2 will be a tough ask this year.