The opening round of the 2012 French Enduro Championship held in Réquista was reduced to a one-day event as heavy rain and strong winds prior to the start of the second day’s competition forced the organisers to bring the event to a premature end. With numerous trees having fallen across the course the decision was taken to cancel the day for fear of doing irreversible damage to the course.
Despite the disappointment of having to cancel the second day, the opening day’s competition delivered some great racing with KTM riders Antoine Meo, Jeremy Tarroux and Christophe Nambotin topping the Enduro1, Enduro 2 and Enduro 3 classes respectively. Husaberg’s Mathias Bellino claimed victory in the Enduro Junior class.
Antoine Meo was made to work very hard for his E1 class win in Réquista.
Starting the event as the rider to beat in the Enduro 1 class KTM Enduro Factory Team rider Antoine Meo very nearly was beaten, by Team Armée de Terre FFM rider Marc Germain. Continuing the impressive form that saw him claim EWC podiums at both the GP of Chile and GP of Argentina, Bourgeois took an early and sizeable lead, only to see Meo eventually claim victory by the smallest of margins.
More than 20 seconds ahead of his nearest rival after the opening four special tests, Bourgeois looked to be headed towards an impressive win. But it wasn’t to be as little by little Meo reduced the Yamaha rider’s lead before finally claiming victory. Just half of one second separated the two riders following 37 minutes of racing. Third went to Honda mounted Rodrig Thain with Nicolas Depparois and Fabien Planet rounding out the top five.
In the Enduro 2 class it was Husaberg’s Pela Renet that many expected to secure victory, but KTM mounted Jeremy Tarroux who eventually claimed the win. Renet made the best start to the first day’s competition but a fall on the penultimate special test allowed Tarroux to seize his opportunity and claim a well-deserved win.
Another French motocross to enduro convert, despite having not yet set foot onto the international enduro stage and his relative lack of enduro experience, Tarroux has shown that he has the speed to mix it with France’s fastest E2 class riders. Third went to Kawasaki mounted Julien Gauthier. KTM’s Johnny Aubert wasn’t competing.
Jeremy tarroux capitalised on a mistake by Pela Renet to secure the E2 class win
Competition in the Enduro 3 class was both extremely close, yet for winner Christophe Nambotin another highly successful day at the office. Winning eight of the day’s nine special tests Nambotin comfortably topped the E3 class placing more than one-minute ahead of his nearest challenger Emmanuel Albepart. With Albepart finishing as runner-up he placed just two tenths of a second ahead of Gas Gas rider Seb Guillaume.
Mathias Bellino claimed a commanding win in the Enduro Junior class aboard his Husaberg, delivering the fastest times in six of the day’s nine special tests. The runner-up position went to Romain Boucardey (KTM) with Kevin Rohmer (Yamaha) third.
Hard charging Mathias Bellino makes a winning start in the Under 23 championship
Results – French Enduro Championship, Round 1
1. Antoine Meo (KTM) 37.01:05; 2. Marc Bourgeois (Yamaha) 37.01:55; 3. Rodrig Thain (Honda) 37.38:29
1. Jeremy Tarroux (KTM) 37.05:04; 2. Pela Renet (Husaberg) 37.06:95; 3. Julien Gauthier (Kawasaki) 37.39:07
1. Christophe Nambotin (KTM) 37.06:16; 2. Emmanuel Albepart (Beta) 38.16:30; 3. Seb Guillaume (Gas Gas) 38.16:44
1. Mathias Bellino (Husaberg) 37.55:96; 2. Romain Boucardey (KTM) 38.38.36; 3. Kevin Rohmer (Yamaha) 38.42:75
Christophe Nambotin: “It was a very good race for me, I achieved what I wanted to do and that was to win the Enduro 3 class. I wasn’t focused on the overall classification, so to finish fourth was a great surprise. With the third and fourth rounds of the Enduro World Championship coming very soon I didn’t want to use more energy than needed. Although it was great to see Seb Guillaume returning to competition he wasn’t on his best level, which made things a little easier for me. It’s really disappointing that the second day had to be cancelled, but completely understandable. It is better to not race than do terrible damage to the countryside. The race was ideal preparation for the GP of Euskadi, I believe that the conditions will be similar to those we faced this weekend. I am very pleased with everything and it’s a great start to my championship.”
All images Copyright Jacques Dancede - FREENDURO