Husaberg Factory Team riders Pela Renet and Mathias Bellino enjoyed race-winning success at the opening round of the 2012 Enduro World Championship, the GP of Chile held in Talca. Putting a frustrating first day behind him, where a crash while riding through blinding dust on the enduro test resulted in the loss of more than one-minute, Renet bounced back to claim a deserved Enduro 2 class win on day two. Countryman Mathias Bellino delivered the team’s best results with a highly creditable double Enduro Junior class win.
Despite knowing that the Chilean event would be dry few riders were expecting conditions to be as dusty as they were. With each of the event’s three special tests offering their own challenges, it was the dust that for many proved hardest to manage. During the first day the enduro test saw many riders literally running into the back of slower competitors they’d not seen in the dust. Pela Renet was one such rider to see his result spoiled through no fault of his own.
For Renet the opening day started well. After a second in class performance on the Friday night super test the Frenchman placed third and second on the first two timed special tests. But in placing 18th in class on the first timed enduro test, Pela was forced to spend the remainder of the day trying to make up lost time. Hitting a slower rider he’d not seen in the dust on a technical uphill, Renet was fired off the track and into the Chilean undergrowth. Losing more than one-and-a-half minutes, his hopes of a top-three result were ended.
Thankfully, day two saw Renet deliver the result he’d worked hard throughout the winter to secure. Quickly finding his stride after placing fourth on the first timed test he went on to top six of the day’s remaining seven special tests. In doing so he opened up a 25-second winning advantage over runner-up Ivan Cervantes.
In the Enduro 3 class Oriol Mena enjoyed a return to the Enduro 3 class podium, placing third and only a fraction of a second behind second placed Aigor Leok on day one. Enjoying riding on the dry terrain Oriol rode consistently well throughout the day, managing to make few mistake on the unforgiving terrain. On day two Mena battled it out with team-mate Joakim Ljunggren, eventually placing fifth but just 13 seconds behind third placed Leok.
Oriol’s team-mate Joakim Ljunggren was looking good for a possible second place result on day one, but unable to see clearly because of the extreme dust got stuck on the enduro test and was forced to return to the bottom of the climb he was tackling and try again. Placing in fifth position Joakim was able to improve to fourth on day two, but ended the Chilean event frustrated at having not placed on the podium.
Enjoying a double class victory Mathias Bellino was a rider on a mission in Chile topping the results by more than one-minute on day one and then by an equally impressive margin on day two. Winning five of the opening day’s special tests Mathias never looked like doing anything other than winning. Day two saw more of the same from the Frenchman as he took control of the EJ class on the first special test and topped all but two tests.
Disappointingly for Husaberg’s youngest team member Jamie McCanney a possible winning result in the 125 Youth Cup class was ended when he collided with a dog prior to the final special test on day one. Competing in his first ever Enduro World Championship event Jamie was headed for a class win when he was sent crashing to the ground, just meters before the extreme test. Landing heavily, Jamie fractured a collarbone as well as a wrist, and underwent surgery to pin the break on Sunday.
Pela Renet: ‘The enduro test was really a lottery on the first day. I didn’t have any problems on the untimed lap but on the first timed lap there was a slower rider stuck on the big uphill. I didn’t see him in the dust, hit his bike, and ended up crashing into the trees. I lost more than one-and-a-half minutes. I was such a long way behind the other riders after that. I pushed as hard as I could, just to take as many points as possible. The second day was much better for me. The conditions were a little too dry for me, but I got the result I hoped for on day one. The changes made to the enduro test made a big difference, it was much better. It was still difficult, but there were no problems. I saw on the first day that my speed was good, without my mistake on the enduro test I could have possibly won. But I’m pleased with my start to the championship.’
Oriol Mena: ‘It’s great to get back on the podium, and to be fighting for podium positions. After a disappointing 2011 season and two ok results in the opening Spanish championship races following shoulder surgery it’s great to be back racing like I know I can. I guess the race suited me a little, but I enjoyed the race. I was really close to finishing second on day one, and again on day two things were really close between three of us. It’s great to be enjoying being competitive again.’
Joakim Ljunggren: ‘The first day was tough. The motocross and extreme tests were ok, but the enduro test was a bit of a lottery. I didn’t find the speed I needed on the motocross test, so I was losing some time there each lap. I had a good first enduro test, and went up to second position in E3. I really wanted to push for a good result so went for it on the final enduro test. I started behind Christophe Nambotin but he got stuck on the difficult uphill. I couldn’t see because of the dust, got stuck, and had to turn around and go again. That cost me a good result, which was really disappointing as before that I was fighting for second and third position. I had another good fight for the second and third positions with Aigor Leok and Oriol Mena on day two. I didn’t feel like the conditions really suited me, so although I’m disappointed that I wasn’t able to get on the podium I’m pleased with the way I rode. It’s not the start to the series I was hoping for, but it’s certainly not too bad. There’s a lot of racing still to be done this year.’
Mathias Bellino: ‘It’s been a great weekend for me. I was a little nervous for a while at the end of the first day because there was a problem at the final time control. But the jury sorted everything out so I got the win, which I’m really pleased about. The whole day went really well apart from the enduro test. It was very, very difficult and when you started it you weren’t sure if you were going to finish it because of the other riders stuck inside and also because of the dust. The second day was more or less perfect. I nearly won all of the tests in the junior class and didn’t have any problems or make any mistakes. Everything’s been great this weekend, I hope it will continue next weekend in Argentina.’