Preview Enduro 1: 2013: A MEO – SALMINEN Duel?

March 15th, 2013. The Maxxis FIM Enduro World Championship resumes at the Grand Prix Acerbis of Chile in Talca (Maule Region) for the second consecutive year. Just two weeks before the start, here is comprehensive overview of the Enduro 1 class, which is mainly composed of 250cc 4T bikes.

The favourites

From Antoine MEO (FRA – KTM) to Juha SALMINEN (FIN – HVA) through Thomas OLDRATI (I – Husaberg) and Cristobal GUERRERO (ESP – KTM) here are the top favourites in this category:

–    Antoine MEO (FRA – KTM): The Current World Champion. The French rider should be ready to face increased competition and without a doubt, MEO will be physically stronger and wants to build on his series of three consecutive titles. Undoubtedly, the KTM rider will again be the rider to beat in E1!

–    Juha SALMINEN (FIN – HVA): The eight times World Champion comes from third place in the Enduro 2 class in 2012. 2011 E1 World Champion aboard the TE 250, the Finnish rider is back to a motorcycle and category that he likes and will force himself to be the main rival for MEO. At 37 years old, the ‘Flying Finn’ still has all the skill to pick up a ninth world title and add to his domination in Enduro.

–    Cristobal GUERRERO (ESP – KTM): The Second Factory KTM rider, the 2005 Junior World Champion has been consistent for two years, finishing second in E2 in 2011 and 2012. GUERRERO is viewed at 29 years old, as a serious contender for the world title in his return to a category where he has excelled in the past. Having had surgery for a broken collarbone in early December, the Andalusian will not arrive in best condition for the opening round of the Championship; a serious handicap…

–    Matti SEISTOLA (FIN – HVA)Juha SALMINEN’s teammate in the CH Racing team, SEISTOLA struggled in 2012 to confirm the speed and technique he displayed in 2011 despite a good end of season. Now relieved from leadership pressure, the Finn will no doubt have a word to say in the title race, in an important season for the rest of his career!

–    Thomas OLDRATI (I – Husaberg): The New Husaberg rider with a great 2012 season, where he claimed a great “comeback” ending on the third step of the E1 podium. In total “renaissance” last year, the young rider from Bergamo will have to confirm everything in 2013 and could pose himself as a serious contender on the new FE 250 with confidence and improved morale.

Outsiders seeking revenge…

These riders could create a surprise by testing the favourites and looking for a win on some race days…

–    Eero REMES (SF – TM): The Finnish rider has changed teams for this season. From KTM to TM, REMES will quickly have to adapt to his new bike in order to compete effectively with the five aforementioned drivers. But will the Finn bounce back after three seasons with KTM?

–    Simone ALBERGONI (I – HM Honda): The Italian is the only racer to have challenged Antoine MEO in 2012 and continues in E1 on the HM Honda. ALBERGONI is undoubtedly talented and hopes to fight for the Top 5 … But going even higher up the steps however, seems a challenge for Simone!

–    Jeremy JOLY (F – Honda): The 2011 Junior World Champion is back on a Honda. After a difficult year in 2012 as a private rider marred by injuries, JJ joins the Johansson MPE team and can therefore only focus on racing. He must focus quickly if he wants to be in the Top 5 at the end of the season…

–    Jeremy TARROUX (F – Sherco): 2013 began badly for the New Sherco rider. With a shoulder injury, he has already been forced to draw a line under the South American tour. Upon his return TARROUXcould do it. Though. Just like his podium in Portugal in 2012 … if the physical improvement follows!

We can’t forget them…

In the category of “small bike”, we can’t forget:

–    Anthony BOISSIERE (F – Sherco): Ex-Motocross and a full season in Enduro; should be a serious contender for the Rookie of the Year!
–    Marc BOURGEOIS (F – Yam) and Sebastien BOZZO (F – Sherco) who will not participate in the entire Championship, but have the potential to produce surprising bursts of speed.
–    Nicolas DEPARROIS (F – Yam) An encouraging but frustrating 2012 season, but looking to rebound with the Ina TV Racing team colours.
–    Maurizio MICHELUZ (I – Suzuki) who joined the Rigo Racing team and will compete on a Suzuki…

The 2013 season promises to be much more intense than 2012, when Antoine MEO flew in this category. With rivals like Juha SALMINEN, Cristobal GUERREROMatti SEISTOLA and Thomas OLDRATI, the Alligator will have to be at the top of his game to claim a fourth consecutive title. Juha SALMINEN will be seeking a ninth title so undoubtedly; spectators will have an opportunity to enjoy a performance year in the Enduro 1 class…

E1 Champions since 2004

2012 : MEO (KTM – France)
2011: SALMINEN (HVA – Finland)
2010: MEO (HVA – France)
2009: AHOLA (Honda – Finland)
2008: AHOLA (Honda – Finland)
2007: SALMINEN (KTM – Finland)
2006: CERVANTES (KTM – Spain)
2005: CERVANTES (KTM – Spain)
2004: MERRIMAN (Yamaha – Australia)