WEC preview: St Flour Set For Explosive EWC Finale!

Matthew PHILLIPS (AUS - HVA) has never been so close from his first World TitleReturning to action following a two-month summer break, the FIM Maxxis Enduro World Championship heads to St Flour in France for the seventh and final round of the season. With the French fanatical about their enduro, the Grand Prix AMV of France is set to bring the 2013 EWC season to an exciting and dramatic close in St Flour on September 6-8.

With three world titles already awarded, the Grand Prix AMV of France eagerly awaits the outcome of the hotly contest Enduro 2, Enduro Junior and Women’s Cup categories.

Better than in 2009?

Unsurprisingly, it is the Moto Club du Haut Cantal that has been designated by the FIM and the French Motorcycling Federation (FFM) to organize the seventh round of the 2013 EWC series. For this assignment, the big question posed by experts is as follows: “Can the Moto Club du Haut Cantal do better than in 2009? » To this Stéphane FAGHEON, President of a club that needs no introduction, answers in the columns of French magazine Moto Verte: ” Our goal is to do as well or better than in 2009. And we are actively working for over a year and a half for it … ” Remarks confirmed by Gio SALA (FIM Race Inspector):” The 2013 race is much more difficult than in 2009. It looks like a real enduro race with very technical sections were everyone will suffer – including the champions!

With a more difficult and technical track than four years ago, there’s something to test the stars of the EWC and excite all the masses of enduro enthusiasts whether they are French, Spanish or Italian. For 2013 the paddock will be at the foot of St Pierre Cathedral, in the main square of St Flour. Regarding the special tests, the president of MCHC says: “We have sought the proximity to the city center. The Enduro test is in the same place than in 2009, just 5 minutes from downtown, but it will be much longer.
“For their part, the Xtreme Test and Cross Test will be located on the outskirts of the city. The public can go by foot or even by shuttle bus that we will organize with one of our sponsors. The Xtreme test will take place in the ruins of an old farmhouse and should be worth a visit while the Cross Test will be in a large field with various passages between the trees.

In addition, the KTM Super Test will be held on Friday night, as it was four years ago, near the exit of the A75 from 19.00. And of course, the legendary “côte des écoliers” will be part of one of the many technical sections of the liaison…

St Flour is located in the region of Auvergne and department of Cantal. This charming town of about 7000 inhabitants is situated on a large volcanic place of Cantal, Plantèze, at 900 meters of altitude. St Flour is situated 74 kilometers east of Aurillac and 100 kilometers south of Clermont-Ferrand. It is also located on the axis of the A75 highway from Paris to Béziers.

Can SALVINI be crown on Saturday?

In the Enduro 1 class, after the fourth title of Antoine MEO (FRA – KTM) was confirmed at the Grand Prix of Greece last June, it only remains to define the Vice-Champion. Spectators will delight in a tense battle between Juha SALMINEN (FIN – HVA) and teammate Matti SEISTOLA (FIN – HVA) for this symbolic role. Only two points separate the two Finns in the provisional standings and there’s no doubt that they both have their sights set on claiming that runner-up result. We will also have to count on the official KTM of Meo, who without pressure should ensure the show he did last year in Brignoles. Three riders can expect to make a final two spots in the E1 top five. Indeed, Eero REMES (SF – TM)Cristobal GUERRERO (ESP – KTM) and Jeremy JOLY (F – Honda) are very close and they will watch the slightest mistake of one or the other.

As the only major championship yet to be decided, the Enduro 2 category awaits it’s new champion of 2013. Indeed, despite a 33-point lead over his nearest rival Pierre-Alexandre RENET (F – Husaberg), the leader Alex SALVINI (I – HM Honda) is not yet safe from a bad luck… but the Italian can settle for a 9th place result on Saturday to be crowned champion on day one. The runner-up is also yet to be determined. And it’s likely that this position will be fought out until the very end. RENET is only seven points clear of Ivan CERVANTES (ESP – KTM) and 11 of Johnny AUBERT (FRA – KTM). The Husaberg racer will attempt to contain the various attacks of the KTM duo while attempting to delay the crowning of SALVINI. Behind this quartet, we will also count on the return of David KNIGHT (GB – Honda) who is finally recovered from his bad wrist injury and could become a deciding factor in the race for the Vice-Champion. Finally, Victor GUERRERO (ESP – KTM)Oriol MENA (E – Husaberg) and Lorenzo SANTOLINO (E – HVA) should provide a great show for the last runner-up in the Top 5.

Christophe NAMBOTIN (FRA – KTM) was crowned the Enduro 3 World Champion in June in Kastoria (Greece) so the race for second place remains very open between Joakim LJUNGGREN (S – Husaberg) and Aigar LEOK (EST – TM). The Estonian has however the advantage leading into St Flour and holds a 10-point lead over the Swede. But LJUNGGREN won’t want to let Leok beat him, as a final third place would be a disappointing end to his season. LEOK and LJUNGGREN will also have to keep an eye on Luis CORREIA (P – Beta)Manuel MONNI (I – KTM)Deny PHILIPPAERTS (I – Beta), the comeback of Rodrig THAIN (F – Gas Gas) and of course Mathias BELLINO (F – Husaberg) who will focus, on his land, to win his first Senior race..

Will PHILLIPS Win In Enduro Junior?

In the Enduro Junior class, the title seems to be headed the direction of the Australian Matthew PHILLIPS (AUS – HVA). Now 29 points ahead of his rival Giacomo REDONDI (I – KTM), the official HVA has all the cards to be crowned champion on Saturday evening. But will the “Minotaur“, as nicknamed by his manager Fabrizio AZZALIN, withstand the pressure? Hoping he won’t is Redondi who has a very small chance of title. Based on the results of the last Grand Prix, the two young prodigies must also contend with the former crossman Loïc LARRIEU (F – Husaberg)Mario ROMAN (E – Husaberg) and Danny MCCANNEY (GB – Gas Gas). Moving into EJ for the GP of France, 2013 FIM Youth Cup 125cc World Champion Jamie MCCANNEY (GB – Husaberg) is eager to show what he can do against his peers as he prepares for his assault on the class next season. In FIM Youth Cup 125cc, with the absence of the World Champion, the way seems open for Albin ELOWSON (S – Husaberg)Benjamin HERRERA (CL – TM) and Dawid CIUCCI (I – KTM) to contend for victory.

Matthew PHILLIPS (AUS – HVA) has never been so close from his first World Title

Finally, in the Women’s class, despite only being six points ahead of Jessica GARDINER (AUS – Sherco), one wonders who will stop Laïa SANZ (E – Honda) in her quest for a second world title. Behind her, GARDINER will have to withstand the attacks of Jane DANIELS (GB – Husaberg) to maintain her position as runner-up. For their part, the French Juliette BERREZ (Yam)Geraldine FOURNEL (Husaberg)Audrey ROSSAT (KTM) and Samantha TICHET (KTM) will want to shine in front of their audience while Jemma WILSON (AUS – Honda) will try to continue her improvement on the International level.

The caravan of the EWC therefore lays its bags for the last time of the year in one enduro’s Meccas in St Flour, France. All the many enduro fans expected will witness a thrilling final in the Junior and E2 categories and the second crowning of global motorcycle sports Queen, Laïa SANZ. See you on Friday, September 6th at 19:00 in the heart of St Flour for a grand finale!

Information:

–    St Flour (Department of Cantal) ;
–    74 kms East of Aurillac ;
–    Friday 6 September : KTM Super Test : 19h00 ;
–    Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 September : Start : 9h00 et Arrival: 16h00 ;
–    Organizer : Moto Club Haut Cantal;
–    Website: www.enduro-abc.com and www.mchautcantal.free.fr;
–    Track : 50kms – 4 laps ;
–    Free Access ;
–    Airport : Clermont : 100 Kilometers – Lyon : 240 Kilometers