Husqvarna’s Mathias Bellino was the rider to beat in Enduro 3 during 2015. Notching up eight race wins and 12 podium results from 14 starts he was crowned this year’s world champion…
Mathias, after some injuries, this World title should be a great breath of fresh air?
Mathias Bellino: "This title is so good! Since my Junior title in 2012, I had five injuries and three surgeries. Between my wrist surgery right after the title in 2012, finger surgery in 2013 and then wrist tendinitis and ACL knee surgery in 2014, I have known many moments of doubts! With two difficult seasons, I had never been able to prove what I really was worth. So becoming World Champion after all of that means more than achieving a life goal – it’s a fantastic feeling with a special taste. "
Did you think at the start of the season that you’ll be able to dominate the season like you did?
"I didn’t expect things to go so well due to a complicated winter. After the ACL surgery, I couldn’t resume training until the end of January and I also had to a new bike to learn. So after being a four-stroke rider for many years I had to adapt to the 300cc two-stroke quickly, and on top of that I had to get back to peak fitness! "
You mentioned in Greece that you were taking less pleasure on your 300cc 2 strokes than with a big 4-stroke. But this choice of machinery still seems to have been the good one?
"The TE300 was always a good choice for me. But I had experienced many difficulties at the beginning of the season, but with the team we worked well and gradually as the season progressed, I had a much better feeling with the bike. I still feel like a four-stroke rider. But these days, it's too complicated to ride in E3 with a four-stroke. They are around 8kgs heavier and if you meet muddy terrain, you are at a disadvantage. So I decided to take a two-stroke like everyone else."
Now a couple of seasons into the EWC do you feel you’ve matured as a rider?
"It's hard for me to answer. I think so in some aspects but you should probably ask people around me like Eric Bernard, my mechanics or my team manager Thomas Gustavsson!"
With an Enduro 3 World title and also winning the ISDE with France in Slovakia, has this been the perfect season for you?
"No. When we start winning, it is well known that we always want more and this year I missed the E3 French title. I think it was clear that the title was for me but I was forced to miss three days due to a wrist and elbow injury. A perfect season would be World Champion, ISDE champion and National Champion. "
You signed for two more seasons with Husqvarna. Will you stay to defend your E3 crown or change class?
"At the moment nothing has changed. My class will really depend on the team and their goals. In any case, I will not go to E1. I’m happy to defend my title or fight with a four-stroke in E2."
Will you also look for the EnduroGP title?
"Obviously! This category will take a lot of momentum. This is a very good thing for Enduro. It must be said that the rider leading in the scratch will also be at the front in his class too. And it will also show who is really the "best of the best." But to truly claim the title EnduroGP, I really need to have a good winter preparation."
Sadly Thomas Gustavsson and all his Swedish team are leaving the EWC. You’ve spent your whole enduro career enduro under their leadership. How important have they been for you?
"They have been an important part of my career. I am with them since my debut in enduro in 2011, with Husaberg. They are great people, very quiet but always listening. All the staff are exceptional. I'm really disappointed for them. As riders they brought us a lot. I'm really proud to have given them this last title before they leave. I really want to thank all of them for what they have given me during these five seasons."
Are you looking forward to starting this new journey with Husqvarna in 2016?
“It's a strange feeling. What is reassuring is that I have already met with the new team manager at the GP of France. I was pleasantly surprised because he gave me the impression of being a very friendly and already very involved person. I know that Husqvarna make things right, they cannot leave something so good for a bad one!"
When are you going to return full time to the SuperEnduro World Championship?
"I love this sport; it reminds me a lot the supercross and all the shows around. It is a growing sport. But for now I don’t know if I will make superenduro this winter or even in the future. This is something I have to talk with the team..."