Meo went into the weekend weighed down with the after effects of flu but despite a slow start on Saturday the adrenalin kicked in right after the opening cross test. He was fastest on his KTM 250 EXC-F in the opening Enduro test that followed and by the beginning of the second 70 km lap he was in the lead and stayed anchored in that spot for the rest of the competition.
Thumbs up from Meo... © Lynn / Enduro21.com
Meo also had a solid day on Sunday, winning three tests and apart from difficulties in two of the extreme tests finished either second or third in the remaining ones.?E1 Teammate Remes had a day of contrasts on Saturday picking up wins in several of the Cross Tests but coming unstuck in two of the extreme tests over man made obstacles that definitely favoured the trials specialists. Remes finished fifth on Saturday. On Sunday Remes continue to be strong in the cross tests but lost time in the Extreme. He managed to lift his game to finish on the podium in third with KTM rider Thomas Oldrati of Italy finishing second to make it a clean sweep for KTM in this class.
The E2 duo, Cristobal Guerrero and Johnny Aubert battled it out on Saturday in unison. Guerrero, riding on very different terrain than his home track in Spain, won two of the extreme test, while Aubert picked up the third. For the rest of the day they frequently shared third and fourth places in the other tests and that was how they finished, with Guerrero coming out on top after Aubert was given a one-minute penalty. Sunday was a similar story for the two KTM riders who managed to finish this time with Guerrero again in front in fourth while Aubert was fifth.
Nambotin extends his points lead in Sweden... © Lynn / Enduro21.com
Christophe Nambotin of France again dominated the E3 class on Saturday riding the KTM 300 EXC and picking up five of the nine special tests to further extend his points lead in the championship. Teammate David Knight won all three extreme tests but came unstuck on some of the others and finished the opening day in Sweden in tenth place.
Sunday was also a strong day for the French rider who wound up the day by snatching the victory only after the final extreme test. Knight was also in good form over the Extreme texts on Sunday, grabbing three fastest times but his performances in the Cross and Enduro tests were only enough for him to finish overall fourth.
Meanwhile in the Youth Cup, young Italian KTM-supported rider Giacomo Redondi picked up another two victories to secure the first title of the season. While most of the track was out in the Swedish forest, the Cross Test was in a flat field on a soft, gravely surface with plenty of corners and some crowd-pleasing jumps. The Enduro Test took riders into the forest, starting slow and twisty before building speed. There were also plenty of rocks to negotiate. The ground was soft and muddy from recent rain and riders had the choice of a jump across a river or a longer route on the liaison section.
Riders compete in the GP of Finland next weekend and the KTM team goes into the next two rounds with a significant lead in E1 and E3 thanks to Meo and Nambotin. Guerrero is just five points behind the leader in E2.
Championship success for Redondi... © Edmunds / Enduro21.com
Antoine Meo: “It’s been a perfect weekend for me, but because I have Flu it has been a very hard one. I felt really flat on day one, with no power to push and ride like I wanted to. But I managed to get into the lead and made some good special test times. Day two was better, I was able to push harder and I felt really good with my bike. I pushed for the first two laps and then maintained my lead. Things are looking good for the championship now and I’m looking forward to racing in Finland.”
Christophe Nambotin: “I’m very happy to win again. I wanted to have a good race here in Sweden so that it would take away a little of the pressure next weekend in Finland. It was a good race, a hard race, and on day two Aigar Leok was really fast. But things worked out very well for me. The enduro test was difficult this weekend. I am able to win the E3 championship next weekend so I will push hard in Finland.”
David Knight: “It’s been a disappointing weekend to be fair. Leading into this race I was expecting a strong result as the conditions are similar to what I train on at home, but unfortunately right from the beginning of day one things didn’t go to plan. I was running a different engine for this event and during the pre-race test sessions everything felt OK, but once the race began the engine lost some power. Initially it wasn’t a problem as the course was still smooth but once conditions became rougher and bumpier I began to suffer and dropped of the leader’s pace. It turned out that the reed block had broken and with no time to change the part I carried on as best I could to score some points. On day two it took a bit of time to get the bike re-jetted to suit the conditions but in the end I was able to improve my speed. It’s disappointing as my pace was really fast in the extreme test and again on the cross test, where I was able to keep a fast rhythm on the switch back corners. Unfortunately, it was the critical enduro test that ultimately hampered my progress. It’s been one of those weekends of unexpected problems but we’ll regroup and come back stronger next weekend in Finland.”