Husqvarna Rally Team rider Joan Barreda, who placed 11th overall in this year’s 33rd running of the Dakar Rally – collecting one stage victory – has brought the experienced endurance athlete Simo Kirssi on board to assist him with his training ahead of the upcoming World Rally Championship events in Abu Dhabi and Qatar.
Finnish cross country ace Kirssi is helping the Spaniard to further improve his race preparation, with the two off-road motorcycle racers training together in Spain. Barreda considers this season to be a milestone in his career and wants to improve further, working towards a podium finish at the Dakar in 2013.
Kirssi’s main assignment is that of being the test rider for the Bavarian-Italian Husqvarna Rallye Team by Speedbrain. But the Finn made a name for himself as a coach in 2011, when he helped Portugal’s Paulo Goncalves become his German Cross Country Championship title successor. Kirssi’s work as a test rider also played a major role in developing the Husqvarna TE 449 RR by Speedbrain.
Joan Barreda meanwhile is considered by many as the revelation of the Dakar 2012 with the 28-year-old scheduled to attack the podium at upcoming rally raid events. Barreda is enjoying the new diversity and efficiency in his training while Kirssi is more than happy with the addition to his regular routine as a test pilot. "Simo is a very fit athlete and shows a lot of discipline," says Barreda. “He’s a versatile guy and I’m enjoying our common exercise programme. At times it can be painful to train with him, but he’s a great benchmark and we’re having a lot of fun."
"We have very different personalities, which is no problem whatsoever,” adds Barreda. “We love bikes and we love riding bikes. This is our passion. Simo likes to be here in Spain, far away from the Finnish winter!"
Former motocross champ Barreda will compete in the upcoming world championship rallies in Abu Dhabi and Qatar between the end of March and end of April.
The Spaniard keeps putting in training kilometres in on his Speedbrain Husqvarna, with some serious navigation sessions planned for the second half of this year in North Africa.