Adding to the orange party, Jeremy Tarroux topped the Enduro 2 class to help keep his title hopes alive, while ensuring KTM clinched the manufactures award for 2012.
As competitors awoke to day one at the final round of the series in Brioude, overnight rain had left course conditions almost perfect. However, the early morning start made conditions quite slippery early on, which caught numerous riders out.
Enduro Junior champion, Mathias Bellino (Husaberg) was one of those to miss read the conditions when he crashed heavily and was forced to retire.
In the Enduro 1 class, all eyes were on KTM’s Antoine Meo and his KTM 125 EXC as he was on the verge of clinching the E1 title. But it wouldn’t be an easy road to victory as Marc Bourgeois (Yamaha), making his first return to racing since his EWC crash in May, proved highly competitive. With Bourgeois holding an early upper hand on Meo, it took until the final lap for the KTM to offer a challenge. Gaining ground on the last lap, Meo sneaked through to claim the win by five seconds and with it the championship.
With Bourgeois placing a close but impressive second, Honda’s Rodrig Thain ended his day third, a further 12 seconds behind the Yamaha rider.
With only six points separating championship leader Pela Renet (Husaberg) and chasing Tarroux, the fight for victory in E2 was a crucial one. With the opportunity to win his first world championship just days away, Renet opted for a tactical approach on day one and settled into a safe third position.
Sensing a chance to gain valuable points, Tarroux battled at the front of the field with Kawasaki’s Julien Gauthier for victory. With Gauthier controlling an early advantage, Tarroux overhauled his rival on the final lap to steal the win. With Tarroux winning and Renet placing third, the outcome of this championship hinges on day two’s result in Brioude.
In E3, Nambotin remained triumphant for the seventh time this season to clinch the E3 title. After trailing early pacesetter, Beta’s Emmanuel Albepart during the first two laps, Nambotin picked up his pace to win the final four specials of the day and secure the title. With Albepart delivered one of his best rides of the season to finish 17 seconds behind the KTM in second position, while Gas Gas’ Sebastien Guillaume ended his day in third.
With Bellino becoming a shock retirement on day one, the door was opened for a new winner to emerge. Romain Barberger was quick to take control of the lead and grabbed the win with Julien Jagu (Yamaha) chasing him home for second. Guillaume Gagnoud (Yamaha) finished third.
1 / Antoine Meo - 47:22.916
2 / Marc Bourgeois - 47:27.831
3 / Rodrig Thain - 47:39.131
1 / Tarroux Jeremy - 47:00.334
2 / Julien Gauthier - 47:04.100
3 / Pierre-Alexandre Renet - 47:24.627
1 / Christophe Nambotin - 47:18.788
2 / Emmanuel Albepart - 47:36.121
3 / Sébastien Guillaume - 48:29.693
1 / Romain Barberger - 49:43.473
2 / Julien Jagu - 49:46.445
3 / Guillaume Gagnoud - 49:50.425