In the scorching heat of the South American sunshine, the competitors of the EWC faced a long and demanding day in the saddle. Enduring three tough and varied special tests that were to be ridden four times, riders were fully tested in terms of speed, strength and resilience. With the San Juan area receiving little or no rainfall in recent times, the 146 riders entered in this final stop on the EWC South American tour quickly chewed the soft and gravely special tests up.
Day one marked an important moment for Spain’s Ivan Cervantes (Gas Gas) as he recorded his first victory in over one and a half years by winning Enduro 2. Marc Bourgeois (Yamaha) continues to impress in Enduro 1 as he grabbed yet another podium finish in Enduro 1. After establishing an early lead in Enduro 2, Finland’s Juha Salminen became the biggest shock of day one when he retired due to a mechanical problem.
KTM’s Antoine Meo was once again unstoppable in Enduro 1 as he took another commanding victory. Setting a blistering pace on the opening lap Meo quickly established an early lead. Fastest in all but the final Enduro Test of the day, the Frenchman earned his third victory of 2012.
“This has been yet another incredible day for me,” confirmed the KTM rider at the end of day one. “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. Unfortunately it wasn’t possible to push for the overall win as Nambotin was too fast today but I am so happy to win another Enduro 1 race.”
Frenchman Marc Bourgeois (Yamaha) enjoyed yet another successful day as he finished runner up to Meo. Posting some very consistent times throughout the day, Bourgeois secured a very impressive second place in Enduro 1. Following on from his second position on day two in the GP of Chile, Italy’s Simone Albergoni (HM Honda) finished in third place. Setting the fastest time in the final Enduro Test of the day, Albergoni placed less than four seconds behind Bourgeois.
For Finland’s Eero Remes (KTM) finishing in fourth place was a frustrating end to his day. Battling hard with both Bourgeois and Albergoni, Remes narrowly lost out on a podium result by less than two seconds. Italy’s Thomas Oldrati (KTM) finished in fifth beating sixth placed Rodrig Thain (HM Honda) by four seconds.
Gas Gas’ Ivan Cervantes finally ended his one and a half year winning drought as he took full advantage of Salminen’s misfortune to win Enduro 2. With Salminen setting the early pace, the Finnish rider had opened up a slender eight-second advantage over the Spaniard leading into the third Cross Test. However, catching a stone in his chain Salminen’s chances of victory ended. With the leading duo having gapped the rest of the field, Cervantes suddenly found himself with a 30-second advantage over second place. Controlling the race lead the Spaniard took a well-earned victory.
“I’m so happy to have finally won again,” declared Cervantes after the podium celebrations. “It’s been a long time since I last won and I’m very grateful to be able to give Gas Gas this important victory.”
Behind Cervantes a battle ensued between KTM riders Cristobal Guerrero and Johnny Aubert for runner up. Aubert held the initial advantage until Guerrero upped his pace in the final lap to overhaul the Frenchman and secure second place. Finishing in third place, Aubert was able to put his disappointing results in Chile behind him. After his win on day two in the GP of Chile, Pierre-Alexandre (Husaberg) was unable to repeat his winning result in Argentina and finished in fourth.
Although winning the final Cross Test of the day, Italy’s Alex Salvini was unable to beat Renet and finished one-second behind in fifth. Fabio Mossini completed the top six.
France’s Christophe Nambotin continues to set the pace in Enduro 3. After his double victory in Chile, the KTM rider was once again victorious as he claimed the win on day one in Argentina. Leading the way from the Friday night Super Test, Nambotin set a relentless pace throughout the day. Topping all but one of the day’s special tests, he claimed a commanding 70-second winning margin over his KTM teammate David Knight.
“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 a pleased 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’s David Knight was the closest challenger to the Frenchman. Finishing in second place, Knight also set the fastest time in the final test to mark yet another solid result in South America. Missing out on a podium result in Chile, Sweden’s Joakim Ljunggren (Husaberg) finished in third place on a day one in Argentina. Finding conditions to his liking he placed 37 seconds behind Knight.
Estonia’s Aigar Leok (TM Racing) looked capable of recording a podium result until a crash in the very technical Extreme Test set him back. Leok eventually recovered to finish fourth. Germany’s Marcus Kehr (KTM) put in a strong ride to finish fifth while Spain’s Oriol Mena (Husaberg) was sixth.
In Enduro Junior, Italy’s Jonathon Manzi (KTM) put a stop to Mathias Bellino’s winning ways as he took victory on day one. With Bellino finishing five second’s behind the Italian, Argentina’s Kevin Benavides put in a terrific race to finish third in front of his home crowd.
Italy’s Giacomo Redondi (KTM) claimed his second victory of the year in the Enduro Youth Cup. Benjamin Herrera (TM) finished in second place while Stefano Caimi (KTM) was third.
GP of Argentina – Day One
1. Antoine Meo (KTM) 52:29.63; 2. Marc Bourgeois (Yamaha) 53:48.42; 3. Simone Albergoni (HM Honda) 53:51.97; 4. Eero Remes (KTM) 53:53.63; 5. Thomas Oldrati (KTM) 54:27.37; 6. Rodrig Thain (HM Honda) 54:31.72; 7. Lorenzo Santolino (Husqvarna) 55:02.35; 8. Ricky Dietrich (Husqvarna) 55:05.40; 9. Matti Seistola (Husqvarna) 55:05.54; 10. Fabien Planet (Sherco) 55:06.38…
1. Ivan Cervantes (Gas Gas) 52:03.24; 2. Cristobal Guerrero (KTM) 52:30.62; 3. Johnny Aubert (KTM) 52:41.49; 4. Pierre-Alexandre Renet (Husaberg) 52:58.60; 5. Alex Salvini (Husqvarna) 53:16.60; 6. Fabio Mossini (KTM) 53:39.90; 7. Antoine Basset (Yamaha) 54:23.75; 8. Julien Gauthier (Kawasaki) 54:57.43; 9. Franco Caimi (KTM) 55:05.19; 10. Hans Vogels (Husaberg) 55:23.09…
1. Christophe Nambotin (KTM) 5:43.68; 2. David Knight (KTM) 52:54.26; 3. Joakim Ljunggren (Husaberg) 53:32.23; 4. Aigar Leok (TM) 54:04.64; 5. Marcus Kehr (KTM) 54:48.95; 6. Oriol Mena (Husaberg) 55:00.10; 7. Marko Tarkkala (Beta) 55:03.34; 8. Benoit Fortunato (Gas Gas) 55:48.58; 9. Christophe Robert (Husaberg) 56:05.59; 10. Jordi Figueras (Gas Gas) 56:49.10…
1. Jonathan Manzi (KTM) 54:48.42; 2. Mathias Bellino (Husaberg) 54:53.59; 3. Kevin Benavides (KTM) 55:12.14; 4. Daniel McCanney (Gas Gas) 55:26.36; 5. Victor Guerrero (KTM) 55:52.49; 6. Edoardo D’Ambrosio (KTM) 56:10.18; 7. Alexandre Queyreyre (Yamaha) 56:59.95; 8. Karl Svensson (Honda) 57:01.83; 9. Rudi Moroni (KTM) 57:23.68; 10. Nicolo Mori (TM) 58:22.34…
Enduro Youth Cup
1. Giacomo Redondi (KTM) 56:20.40; 2. Benjamin Herrera (TM) 59:23.90; 3. Stefano Caimi (Yamaha) 1:01:12.84; 4. Nicolas Kutulas (KTM) 1:03:42.84; 5. Nicolas Bascunnan (TM) 1:07:31.77