Newly signed CH Racing Husqvarna factory rider Antoine Meo has sensationally claimed his first ever indoor enduro victory at his first ever indoor enduro race having topped the third and final round of the ‘07/’08 Indoor Enduro World Cup. Competing in the IEWC for the first time ever, having never even seen an indoor enduro course before the event, the former Grand Prix motocross racer performed spectacularly inside the Palasport Fiera in Genoa to deservedly stand on the top step of the podium where he was joined by runner-up David Knight and third placed rider Ivan Cervantes.
The third and final round of the IEWC proved to be a hugely successful night for the CH Racing Husqvarna team as Meo was joined in the final by his team mates Bartosz Oblucki and Seb Guillaume. But it was the Frenchman’s result that gave the team most reason to be happy come the end of a thrilling six-lap final. After recording the seventh fastest lap time during timed practice before winning his heat race ahead of Cervantes, Meo lead the final from the first corner to the last to claim an unexpected and well deserved win. Remaining calm throughout the race despite continued pressure from the rider widely acknowledged as the world’s best indoor enduro racer – David Knight, Antoine rode mistake free to claim the chequered flag aboard his TE450. In doing so he marked his first official outing as a CH Racing Husqvarna team rider in style.
Missing the podium by one position in the final Bartosz Oblucki posted the ninth quickest lap time before going on to finish fourth in his qualifying race and then third in his heat race. In the final Bart remained mistake free during the six-lap race to claim fourth and finish as the highest placed 250cc four-stroke rider aboard his TE250.
The third CH Racing Husqvarna team rider in the final was Frenchman Seb Guillaume. Only managing to record the 20th fastest lap time early on in the evening Seb had to work extremely hard to ensure himself a place in the final having to compete in a qualifying heat, in which he finished sixth, a supplementary race, in which he finished second, before finishing as runner-up in his heat race, which saw him pass through into the final. Making a good start Seb’s luck turned bad on lap two when he crashed while trying to work his way forward. Injuring his shoulder in the fall he placed ninth.
Antoine Meo: “The final was fantastic, it was my first indoor race and it took me a while to get the bike set-up for the track. I made some changes because I was riding a 450, and not a 250 like I had planned. It was so great to win, it was my dream to finish at the front and I managed to do that. I was getting good starts all night, which definitely helped me. I still have a lot to learn, this was my first indoor, but I am so happy to have won. I knew David was always there behind me and it was good to have him pushing me. It meant I had to push hard and I was under a lot of pressure. But it was good, I hope to continue riding like that and I will work hard at it so that I can get good results in the WEC as well.”
Bartosz Oblucki: “I started last in the final but I just kept riding steadily and I didn’t make too many mistakes. In some places I rode hard, but it was nothing special, I just didn’t want to make any mistakes because the track was getting harder. I felt good physically and I was able to keep a good pace going for the full six laps. I didn’t crash or stall the bike, which was good enough for fourth place. I’m happy with the way the race went, it’s a good start to the year.”
Sebastian Guillaume: “I had a good start in the final, but on the second lap I crashed while I was trying to pass a rider. It was better though in the final, the track was much tougher than it was in the qualifying races. I’m happy with the way I rode in my semi final and especially happy for Antoine Meo. He is a great rider, and it has been a great night for Husqvarna with three riders in the final.”
Results – Genoa Indoor Enduro ’08
1. Antoine Meo (CH Racing Husqvarna) 6 laps; 2. David Knight (KTM) 6 laps; 3. Ivan Cervantes (KTM) 6 laps; 4. Bartosz Oblucki (CH Racing Husqvarna) 6 laps; 5. Fabio Mossini (Honda) 6 laps; 6. Taddy Blazusiak (KTM) 6 laps; 7. Simone Albergoni (Yamaha) 6 laps 8. Xavier Galindo (KTM) 6laps; 9. Sebastian Guillaume (CH Racing Husqvarna) 6 laps; 10. Thomas Oldrati (KTM) 5 laps
Results – ‘07/’08 Indoor Enduro World Cup Final Championship Standings
1. David Knight (Red Bull KTM Off Road Team) 42 points; 2. Taddy Blazusiak (KTM) 23pts; 3. Mika Ahola (Honda) 22pts; 4. Xavier Galindo (KTM) 19pts; 5. Bartosz Oblucki (CH Racing Husqvarna) 16pts; 6. Antoine Meo (CH Racing Husqvarna) 15 pts; 7. Ivan Cervantes (KTM) 10 pts; 8. Marcus Kehr (KTM) 8pts; 9. Gregory Eyries (Yamaha) 8pts; 10.Tom Sagar (KTM) 7pts; 11. Simone Albergoni (Yamaha) 7pts; 12.Fabio Mossini (Honda) 6ps; 13. Cristobal Guerrero (Yamaha) 5pts; 14. Thomas Oldrati (KTM) 5pts; 15. Sebastian Guillaume (CH Racing Husqvarna) 2pts; 16. Jonny Aubert (Yamaha) 2pts;Andreas Lettenbichler (BMW) 1pt