In recent years it’s been Husaberg Enduro Factory rider Joakim Ljunggren that has been the most dominant competitor in the SEC. After claiming a record breaking six consecutive titles and 30 consecutive race wins, the Swede is a notable absence in this year’s championship. Opting to compete in the Spanish Enduro Championship in preparation for his assault on the Enduro World Championship leaves the 2012 series open for a new champion to emerge.
With Vimmerby marking the opening round of the series, organisers laid on a tough and challenging race that didn’t disappoint. Competitors faced three laps with a total of five special tests per lap – two enduro tests up to 20 minutes in length and two shorter enduro tests up to 10 minutes in length plus a deep sandy cross test.
As expected the enduro tests became very demanding with lots of stones, rocks, roots and slippery conditions. With the total test time for the winner just under three hours, round one of the SEC was a real test of attrition.
In this new post Ljunggren era, overall victory went to young Swede Johan Edlund who finished one-minute ahead of fellow Junior rider Pontus Högberg. In a very tough fight, were the two riders posted times that differed only by a few seconds on each test during the beginning of the race, it was Edlund’s strength and stamina that helped him to extend his lead during the latter half of the day. Finishing in third overall, HM Honda’s Kalle Svensson placed nearly three minutes behind the leading duo.
With a new generation of Swedish riders beginning to find their way to the forefront of the SEC, besting riders like the old EWC contenders of Anders Eriksson (Yamaha) and Björne Stjersten, 2012 looks set to be an interesting year for enduro.
Swedish Enduro Championship - Round 1, Vimmerby, MS
1. Johan Edlund, Karlskoga EK, 2:54:20.68. Husaberg
2. Pontus Högberg, Göta MS, +1:02.66. GasGas
3. Kalle Svensson, Vimmerby MS, +3:47.03. Honda
4. Carl Johan Bjerkert, Vimmerby MS, +4:57.64. Honda
5. Jakob Mörhed, Norrahammars MK, +5:15.70. Honda
6. Olle Löthman, Östhammars MK, +5:41.24. Beta
7. Anders Eriksson, Tibro MK, +6:19.70. Yamaha
8 Niklas Persson, Karlskoga EK, +7:12.37. Husaberg
9. Fritz Andersson, Göta MS, +8:16.21. KTM
10. Anton Nordh, Tibro MK, +9:24.24. Yamaha
Report/Images: ©Mats Svensson