Rockstar Husqvarna Factory Racing will see newcomer and MXGP ex-pat Christopher Charlier join Matthias Bellino, Danny McCanney and Pascal Rauchenecker for the 2017 EnduroGP World Championship.
Charlier, who hails from the French island of Corsica, moves across from a strong MXGP career to partner with Bellino in the EnduroGP category on a FE350.
With the team having just completed a week’s training in Finland in preparation for the opening round of the championship which will be held there in less than five weeks time, it will be interesting to see how the latest former MXGP rider adapts to life between the trees.
With their riders thought to be already under contract, it was not expected that the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing team would be active on the transfer market this winter. And yet Team Manager Andreas Hölzl has just made a "coup" by signing the former MXGP rider Christophe Charlier.
After six seasons in MXGP, the Frenchman has decided to make the leap to Enduro, following in the footsteps of Aubert, Nambotin, Renet, Bellino and Larrieu. In 2009 he won the European MX 250 title in front of Roczen, and took a brilliant fourth overall in the 2013 MX2 class. But he subsequently struggled for three seasons, due to numerous injuries.
A factory Husqvarna rider in motocross, the Corsican sticks with Husky but switches across to enduro.
He will go directly into the EnduroGP class with his 350 FE, and will team up with his compatriot Mathias Bellino, who should be able to show him the ropes with his 300 TE — the bike which brought Bellino the title of E3 World Champion in 2015.
For Husqvarna in the Enduro 2 category will be Danny McCanney and Pascal Rauchenecker — which is now for 4 strokes and 2 strokes under 250cc.
To go directly into a Factory team in EnduroGP for a rider with no experience at this level is in any case a difficult task and a risk on behalf of Rockstar Husqvarna and Andreas Hölzl but their faith in him may have already paid dividends as Charlier seems to be incredibly fast in his first tests in enduro.
Words: EnduroGP PR | Image: Marco Campelli