|The KTM Enduro Factory Racing Team, as always under the experienced guidance of team boss Fabio Farioli, goes into the 2008 racing season pumped with confidence.|
With a talented line-up in each class, the team expects to reap podiums and titles this year. To keep riders motivated and to give them new challenges there has been a shakeup of riders in the individual classes. This year both 2- and 4-stroke KTM machines will be used in the two bigger categories, a move that Farioli says will produce ‘a good fight’ for supremacy.
Cervantes to show finesse in E1
The team has a mix of experience and youthful talent in the E1 class this season. Ivan Cervantes is back on a KTM 250 4-stroke, a bike that suits his riding style and which will serve him well on his favourite hard surfaces. He is joined by Britain’s Tom Sagar who moves up from the junior competition where he finished in the top three last year. Sagar’s inclusion in the factory line-up underlines KTM’s forward-looking commitment to nurture young talent that can prove to be tomorrow’s stars in the top level of competition. Having already shown he can produce good results in his own right, Sagar will also be able to learn much from the more experienced Cervantes, winner of the E3 world championship title in 2007. Cervantes was on the podium at the end of every race last season, eventually winning the E3 title from KTM teammate Marko Tarkkala by an outstanding 51 points.
New challenges for Juha Salminen in E2 class
Juha Salminen, who triumphantly returned to the European racing season in 2007 to dominate the E1 class, now moves to E2. Now fully recovered from a shoulder injury in the closing stages of 2007, the Finn is ready to attack the Enduro tracks onboard a KTM 450 4-stroke machine. Salminen, whose amazing racing career has seen him pick up a hoard of titles and trophies, goes into the season with one aim – to finish as E2 World Champion. Alessandro Belometti of Italy joins Salminen in E2 onboard his KTM 250 2-stroke bike and according to team boss Farioli, is a definite podium contender. Both riders contested the E1 class last season with Salminen winning the title by a 28-point margin after missing two races in Slovakia through his injury. He won 12 of the 13 races in which he competed and was third in the remaining one. Belometti finished the season in a creditable fifth place overall.
All Finnish line-up for E3 in 2008
KTM Enduro Factory Racing Team features an all-Finnish line-up in the E3 class. Big Marko Tarkkala, the only KTM factory rider who remains in the same class in 2008, will ride the KTM 520 4-stroke bike while teammate Samuli Aro will be onboard the KTM 300 2-stroke machine. Aro fought a tough battle with fellow Finn Mika Ahola in E2 last year, finishing in second place at the conclusion of the season. The opening races in Sweden will be the perfect chance for the Finnish duo to display their talents and they will also be in their element on other forested circuits.
Compact calendar takes riders all over Europe
The 2008 calendar, this year without any races in North America, presents riders with a whole series of challenging terrain. The seven event double race season opens in Östersund, Sweden in March offering riders their one chance to compete in winter conditions and using spiked tyres. While the Finnish contingent in the KTM factory team does have the edge in these conditions, their KTM teammates are also gaining in confidence on this type of surface. The Enduro competition then goes to the Iberian peninsular for races in Spain and Portugal, surfaces where Cervantes is truly at home. Teams then travel to Kwidzyn in Poland and to new tracks in Llanidloes in the heart of Wales and on the edge of the Cambrian Mountains. They then travel to Uzerche in the French region of Limousin where enthusiastic French fans add a very special atmosphere. The final race of the season at Piediluco, Italy is home ground for Belometti. During breaks in the world championship series, riders will be able to keep their skills finely tuned competing in other international and national events.
|Cervantes to show finesse in E1|
|New challenges for Juha Salminen in E2 class|
|KTM Enduro Factory Racing|