Husqvarna Enduro Team by CH Racing’s Matti Seistola made two visits to the Enduro 1 class podium at the Enduro World Championship’s GP of Portugal, bringing a welcome turn around in form and an end to what has been a tough start to the 2012 series for the Finnish rider. Third on day one to claim his first EWC rostrum result of the year, Matti then went one better on day two by claiming a well-deserved runner-up result aboard his TE 250.
With conditions in Portugal much drier and hotter than the previous week’s GP of Euskadi, the fourth round of the 2012 Enduro World Championship proved to be yet another demanding event. Offering no let up for competitors, the lack of a true enduro test meant that much of the event’s racing was carried on dry, dusty and in many places slippery ground. In complete contrast to both the motocross and enduro tests the event’s extreme test was technically challenging.
Recording the third fastest time in the Enduro 1 class during Friday night’s super test, Matti Seistola immediately made his intentions of wanting to secure a top three result on day one known. Completing a solid opening lap Matti battled with countryman Eero Remes for much of the day before eventually placing third. Day two saw more impressive riding from Matti. With his confidence returning, he pushed hard throughout the day to keep the pressure on eventual day winner Antoine Meo. Opening up a small gap over the third placed finisher Rodrig Thain, Matti secured his best result of the season so far and claimed the Husqvarna Racing Team by CH Racing’s best result at the GP of Portugal.
Disappointingly, Seistola’s Enduro 1 class team-mate Lorenzo Santolino fractured a bone in his left foot on the opening day’s final extreme test. Although managing to end the day and secure a ninth place result the Spaniard was unable to take to the start of the second day’s competition.
The GP of Portugal proved to be a tough one for Husqvarna’s Enduro 2 class riders Juha Salminen, Alex Salvini and Romain Dumontier. Salminen came agonisingly close to finishing on the podium on day one only to place fourth, while Salvini placed just five seconds away from the podium on day two. Like many riders both Juha and Alex found the long, fast enduro and motocross special tests difficult to master with the Finn placing sixth in class on day two while Alex could manage no better than seventh on day one.
Matti Seistola – Enduro 1: ‘I feel really good because I can see we have made really good progress this weekend. The first three GPs of the season didn’t go anything like we hoped they would, but finally now it seems like things are back on track. I made quite a few changes to my bike after the race in Spain and as soon as I tried it on the test track for this weekend I could feel that it was much easier to ride – like I wanted it to be. It took me a little while to feel at my best on day one. I was a little cautious and the motocross and enduro tests were quite difficult because they were dry and slippery. I felt a lot more confident starting the second day. I knew what to expect from the special tests and just tried to build on my day one result. It’s been a very important GP and I’m really, really pleased that I’m back on the podium.’
Juha Salminen – Enduro 2: ‘It’s not been the best of weekends for me. The first day wasn’t too bad. I didn’t get the result I wanted, but it can happen. Not having a real enduro test certainly didn’t help this weekend, but that’s how it was. I hoped the second day would be better but unfortunately it wasn’t. The next GP is in Italy so I hope things will be better there.’
Alex Salvini – Enduro 2: ‘Day one didn’t go so well for me. I made a good start but after that I had a few problems and made some mistakes, so not what I had hoped for. I felt much better on the second day and I was fighting for the podium, which was really good. I ended up fourth but only five or six seconds behind third. The Enduro 2 class is incredibly competitive so to be fighting for the podium is great. The next event is in Italy, so I want to fight again for a top three result.’