2006 FIM WORLD ENDURO CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND 7
Failing to top just one of the second day?s 10 special tests in the Enduro 1 class Ivan Cervantes placed one minute ahead of his rivals on day two of the GP of Slovakia and in doing so moved further closer to his, and KTM?s, second E1 world championship title. After performing faultlessly on day one the flamboyant Spaniard again showed his class on the second day and comfortably outpaced his class mates to open up a 42-point advantage at the top of the E1 series standings. While Ivan made winning look easy his Italian team-mate Alessandro Belometti had to work hard on day two and spent much of the day fighting his was back up the E1 leader board after a crash on the second enduro test dropped him from third to fifth. Just a hand full of seconds adrift of the runner-up spot at the time of his crash Belometti put in a huge effort during the day?s final lap and managed to pull himself back up to third ensuring two KTM?s on the podium.
After narrowly missing out on an Enduro 2 class podium finish on day one KTM?s reigning E2 world champion Samuli Aro placed in third position on day two despite nerves getting the better of the normally ice cool Finn. Frustrated at not riding as well as he did during previous rounds of the WEC series due to the pressures of leading what is arguable the World Enduro Championship?s most competitive class, Samuli nevertheless did exactly what he needed to do and now enters the final round of the ?06 WEC series 32 points ahead in the Enduro 2 class. Finishing in sixth in the E2 class on day two Fabien Planet missed out on the fifth place spot by less than one second. Again riding well aboard his 250cc two-stroke Fabien saw his result suffer after a below par second extreme test.
The most dominant rider in the ?06 World Enduro Championship series by far, Manxman David Knight claimed his second consecutive Enduro 3 world championship title in style by finishing over two minutes ahead of his nearest class rival, topping each and every one of the day?s 10 special tests in the E3 class, and placing as the second day?s overall fastest rider. Having never looked like doing anything other than winning the E3 world title this season Knight became the first rider of ?06 to lift a world championship crown. Making it a one-two for KTM in the Enduro 3 class on day two Knight?s team-mate Marko Tarkkala claimed the runner-up spot improving on his day one result by one place.
Ivan Cervantes: “The GP of Slovakia was almost like another first round of the championship for me because I started with a completely different mentality compared to the six races we have had already. Knowing that I am getting closer to my second Enduro 1 world championship I tried not to put any pressure on myself. It was amazing how relaxed I felt during the race, I had a great feeling with my bike. I felt that I was riding really well. I didn?t take any risks or make any crashes. Some races this year I have pushed too hard but here in Slovakia I felt so calm. I am really looking forward to the race in France now.”
Alessandro Belometti: “The GP of Slovakia was good for me. On day one I finished in second, which I was really pleased with. I had a good fight with Simone Albergoni and Bartosz Oblucki and when Albergoni crashed it made things much easier for me on the last lap. The second day was definitely a good result for me because I finished in third but I had a big crash in the enduro tests, which affected my result. I was comfortably in third at that point but less than 10 seconds behind Albergoni in second. I dropped down to fifth so I really had to push hard on the last lap to get back to third. The big battle in the Enduro 1 world championship is now between myself and Bartosz Oblucki. I am 10 points ahead, which isn?t much, so I have to push hard and race without any mistakes in France.”
Samuli Aro: “I was really nervous during the week before the race, I am not sure why I was so nervous because it?s not as if I haven?t been in the position of leading a world championship before. During the weekend I was also really nervous, which affected my riding. I was happy enough with my result, because making sure that I scored good points was what I had to do, but I am disappointed with the way I was riding. I was so nervous all the time that I was pushing too hard and making mistakes. The thing that was good about this weekend as far as my riding was concerned was the last enduro test of the event. I was behind Mika Ahola and in fourth before the last test and I rode well and he crashed so I finished third. I?m leading the E2 world championship by 32 points now so it takes a little of the pressure off me with just one event to go.”
David Knight: “It?s been a great weekend and to win my second world championship title feels amazing. This season has been really good and I have managed to win every race so far but now I have won the E3 title I can relax a bit more. I didn?t feel under any pressure this weekend but it?s nice to have the title wrapped-up now. The special tests weren?t so technical on day one so it was hard t open up a big gap over the other riders in my class. By the end of the day I had opened up a bit of an advantage but it was difficult knowing how hard to push. I didn?t make any mistakes and enjoyed the day. It was really difficult to know how hard to push on day two. I managed to open up a pretty good gap after the first lap, which meant I could take things a bit easier after that. The enduro and extreme tests got really rough, which suited me but I had a big moment on the first enduro test, which scared me. Winning the day outright on the same day that I have won the world championship is a nice bonus.”
Marko Tarkkala: “It?s been a pretty good weekend for me. I made a few too many mistakes on day one and finished in third but on day two it went really well. I felt much more settled on day two. I still have a lot of points to catch up if I am going to finish in second in the Enduro 3 championship but I will push as hard as I can in France and see what happens.”
2006 World Enduro Championship Rnd 7