Sherco just released its new line of off-road bikes, which consists of a 450 , 300 and 250 four-strokes, plus 250 and 300 two-strokes. The bikes look like they have a lot of changes this year, and there’s talk of a new cylinder, frame and bodywork for the two-strokes. It’s interesting that Sherco has done away with the kickstart on the two-stroke. It’s only a matter of time before everyone does this.
This is an amazing company, but even more impressive is the Enduro race team in Europe. Sherco is a tiny factory without much budget, yet they’re winning the E2 and GP classes in the World Enduro Championship. The team is divided into the factory riders and Team Azzalin in Italy. Wade Young is the best known rider on the factory team, and he just made the podium at the Romaniacs. But it’s Matt Phillips who’s really on fire, riding out of the Azzalin team. Phillips is a 23-year-old Australian who is dominating the E2 class and winning the overall in the championship with only one round left. This is the first time that there has been an overall champion named in the WEC. The key to this is Fabrizio Azzalin, who has a long history of beating the giants in the European off-road racing scene. He gave Phillips the opportunity for success. He was also the man who gave Antoine Meo his start a few years ago. Fabrizio managed the Italian CH Husqvarna Racing team prior to the KTM buy-out, and gave that company an amazing string of wins. I’ve known Fabrizio for years and couldn’t be happier with his success.
As the lone American in the World Enduro Championship, Taylor Robert is having a good year, although he’s still waiting for his first big win. In Sweden, he had his best overall performance, taking second in the E2 class (to Matt Phillips) on both days. Now, he sits in fourth in the E2 class and in eighth in the overall GP standings. He might miss the last round of the WEC, as it will conflict with the Endurocross in Salt Lake City. That series is getting underway next month in Georgia.
2016 AMA EnduroCross Championship Schedule
Date – Location – Arena / Additional Information
August 27, 2016 – Duluth, Georgia – Infinite Energy Center
September 3, 2016 – Brandon, South Dakota – Badlands Motor Speedway
September 10, 2016 – Salt Lake City, Utah – Vivint Smart Home Arena
September 24, 2016 – Scottsdale, Arizona – WestWorld – Intl Off-Road & UTV Expo
October 1, 2016 – Denver, Colorado – National Western Events Center
October 22, 2016 – Everett, Washington – XFINITY Arena
November 5, 2016 – Nampa, Idaho – Ford Idaho Center
November 18-19, 2016 – Ontario, California – Citizens Business Bank Arena
Graham Jarvis is awesome. A couple of years ago, everyone was talking about how he’s had such a great career, more or less implying that it was over. It was time for him to move on as the king of Hard Enduro, and that was that. Last week Jarvis won the Red Bull Romaniacs for the fifth time, just a few weeks after winning Erzberg again. He doesn’t seem to know that 41 is too old to be a professional motorcycle racer, especially in a avenue that’s so intense. It’s interesting that extreme enduros and EnduroCross seem to be one area where older riders do well. Mike Brown and Geoff Aaron are still formidable here in the U.S., and they’re both in their 40s. Here are some images of Jarvis and the other riders at this year’s Romaniacs, collected from Red Bull, Husqvarna and KTM.
BACK IN THE DAY
I returned from Europe on Wednesday and brought back some insight into Husqvarna’s history. The current company is owned by KTM and manufactured in Austria, but everyone there has big respect for the legacy that started in Sweden over 300 years ago. Last week I showed a few photos of the original mill that became the Husqvarna factory. It started as a church in the early 1600s and then was converted into a facility to make firearms by the middle of that century. In the 1870s it started making sewing machines, and motorcycles followed in 1903. Here are some more images of the museum that now sits next to the mill.
BACK TO THE WEST: WASHOUGAL NATIONAL MX
See you next week