Enduro21: Congratulations on becoming world champion?
Antoine Meo: “Thank you! This year has been amazing and I’m so happy to have won the championship so soon. The season started really strong for me with four victories in South America and since then I was able to stay at the front of my class all year to win the title in Finland.”
How did the race go for you in Finland?
“On day one I made some small mistakes early on that took a bit of time to recover from. I found it a little hard to find a fast rhythm on the enduro test – it was very rocky and easy to make mistakes on. On the last lap I felt good and pushed as hard as I could to take the win. Day two went well. I had a nice advantage during the first two laps until I crashed on the enduro test. It wasn’t a big crash but enough to lose my advantage. After that I decided to think about the championship and not risk too much. For me it was more important to win the title than the race so I closed the gas.”
It was a winning result for Antoine on day one in Finland... © Lynn / Enduro21.com
With a lot of overnight rain falling the conditions were more difficult than on day one. How did you cope with that?
“Yes, it was much harder to race on than day one. It rained for most of the day and the cross test was incredibly slippery in the morning. In places where you expected grip there was none and then in others there was plenty, so that made it hard to judge.”
What has been the highlight of the year for you?
“Looking back, I think it is the first race of the season in Chile. I went there with my new team and I wasn’t expecting to win. Leading into the race I was quite sick and had low energy but I still managed to win. That victory gave me a lot of confidence for the rest of the season to push for the title and I managed to claim seven wins in a row because of it.”
Teamwork has been an important part of ensuring success for Antoine... © Lynn / Enduro21.com
Why do you think you’ve been so strong this year?
“It’s difficult to say, as it was a very strange year. In the beginning Simone Albergoni was pushing hard but then he became injured and dropped back. After that the battle was with Rodrig Thain but he too had problems and for others riders it was the same. I too had my own issues that I had to overcome. When I was sick, my team lifted my spirits and did everything possible to help me to win. I think it was winning on those days that helped me to remain so strong.”
With the championship now secure, are you looking forward to the final round of the season in France?
“Yes, I’m really looking forward to the French GP. It’s in south of France and close to my house so I expect to have a big party. The most important goal of my season is now achieved so it’s time to enjoy the rest the year. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”