Since the Enduro World Championship moved its start to South America all European based riders now have one thing in common – they have to travel a considerable distance to compete in rounds one and two! Moving to a different continent has everyone competing on a level playing field. No one really has any advantage.
If there’s one thing that ensures a great end to any championship it’s a good old fashioned, to the wire, title fight. And that’s exactly what we’ve got at this weekend’s Enduro World Championship final in France.
With the Enduro 1 and Enduro 3 titles decided all eyes are now focused firmly on ‘the biggie’ – the Enduro 2 championship. Will it be Pela Renet or Cristobal Guerrero that complete the set of 2012 champions? Will it be Renet or Guerrero that earns their first ever EWC title? Will Guerrero even be able to go the distance and challenge Renet following the crash that put him out of the ISDE with a dislocated shoulder? Or will lady luck finally smile on Juha Salminen and allow him to somehow move ahead of his class rivals?
It can be said that Renet has been the fastest Enduro 2 rider this year, Guerrero the most consistent, and Salminen the unluckiest. But when all is said and done it’s Renet who starts the final round of the series with an 11-point advantage. It’s not much of a points lead, but it’s an advantage nonetheless and could prove decisive.
Ifs, buts and maybes count for little, but the E2 standings would look very different heading into this weekend if Salminen hadn’t DNFed day one in Argentina. Through no ones fault other than the rock that decided to wedge itself between his sprocket and chain the great Finn’s title aspirations suffered massively. Likewise, if Renet hadn’t derailed a chain in Italy it would likely be a Renet/Salminen showdown – the newcomer verses the enduro master. As it is it’s Renet and Guerrero who look most likely to secure title glory.
You have to wander if Cristobal’s task of overhauling Renet is just too great. Racing for the first time since dislocating his Shoulder at the six days in Germany, not even Cristobal himself will know what kind of shape he’s in until he starts racing. But the Spaniard is a seriously tough competitor, who won’t let a little pain stand in the way of possible world championship success.
Support for Renet will be immense in Brignoles. Willing the Husaberg rider to complete a possible trio of 2012 French champions, his ‘home’ race support will unquestionably bring an advantage his way. Just how much of an advantage only time will tell.
But it might be riders other than Renet and Guerrero that to a greater or lesser extent decide the outcome of the 2012 Enduro 2 World Championship. Salminen can only focus on a winning result, and then cross his fingers. Johnny Aubert and Ivan Cervantes – both out of the E2 championship hunt – will be looking to end disappointing season with victory. With riders of Juha, Johnny and Ivan’s calibre all focused solely on standing on top of the podium, well, it’s gonna be one hell of an exciting championship finale…
Is this the order in which the 2012 Enduro 2 World Championship will end? © Edmunds / Enduro21.com
Like most ‘enthusiasts’ I have a collection – a collection of riding shirts given to me by Enduro World Champions. I’ve been fortunate to build up a pretty decent collection over the years. Sadly most don’t get to see the light of day, safely stored away in the depths of my garage.
Most of the shirts came to me dirty – some straight off the backs of newly crowned world champions. But others were sent to me weeks, sometimes months, after the series in question had drawn to a close.
All of the shirts mean a lot to me. Sadly, some now have very special meaning. Among my collection is a full set of Mika Ahola’s EWC winning jerseys – one for each of the five consecutive championships he won.
‘To my friend Jonty…’ reads the note written on the back of one of them. Until recently it was just another of my shirts. Now it’s the one I cherish the most.
The start of a new EWC season is a time of year I, like so many, look forward to with excitement and anticipation. But this year it’s not the same. As much as I’m excited to see what South America has to offer the Enduro World Championship, and seeing what riders take the all important early season advantage, the big kick-off is going to be tinged with very definite sadness.
Mika not being at the race isn’t what’ll make things tough in Chile. Knowing that Mika will never be at the races again is what’ll make it hard.
A rider that would always be brutally honest about how his pre-season training had, or hadn’t, gone, it’s catching up with riders like Mika that makes the first get together of the new season so enjoyable. I know I’m not alone in saying that Mika will be sorely, sorely missed.
Racing, as a part of the lives we live, goes on. And Chile and Argentina will unquestionably add a little extra flavour to the season’s first events. Much more than just a departure from the norm’, the events take the EWC well away from its regularly beaten tracks. No one knows exactly what to expect, which is exactly what’s making the build-up so exciting.
It goes without saying that both the Chilean and Argentinean events will be hugely important for those serious about championship winning successes. But the events themselves will be hugely important to the championship, too. Leaving the comfort and familiarity of Europe behind is something the EWC hasn’t done all that often.
Chile and Argentina offer all the ingredients for two great events – new and stimulating locations, enthusiastic local support (if the Dakar’s anything to go by), great weather and challenging terrain. So here’s to the start of another exciting Enduro World Championship season…
It’s kind of fitting that enduro21’s launch date falls on the ‘leap day’ of February 29. Why? Because the day is added to the calendar in leap years as a corrective measure, because the earth doesn’t orbit the sun in precisely 365 days.
Enduro21 is, in some ways, itself a corrective measure – a site designed to claim one back for enduro sport. With the internet awash with motocross and supercross news sites, enduro isn’t as well represented as it could be. Which is where the idea for enduro21 came from.
‘Wouldn’t it be cool if there were a website featuring international enduro news, information, commentary, rider blogs, videos and image galleries?’ Those were our thoughts a little over two years ago. Well, after a sizeable gestation period we’re finally able to give you the website you’re looking at now. We hope you like it?
In a nutshell enduro21 is a one-stop enduro and rally news website that’s aimed at the ever growing global enduro community. What we hope is that no matter where you live, there’ll be news that’s of interest to you. We believe trust is of upmost importance when it comes to news. And what we’ll strive to do is deliver interviews, news, and information in a clear and concise manner.
From the traditional to the extreme, indoor or outdoors, six days and sprint, we know that enduro sport, in all its many forms, is vibrant and exciting. Through the pages and posts on enduro21.com that’s exactly what we hope to show.
All involved in enduro21 are well qualified to pass comment, and to bring you interesting, entertaining, and above all factual information. Why do we feel we’re qualified to pass comment? Because we’ve been involved with enduro sport on many different levels, for many years. As riders, journalists and photographers, as event organisers, event promoters, and as friends of many of the sport’s top riders. Enduro is the sport we live and breath.
We hope you enjoy enduro21 as much as we’ve enjoyed creating it…