WEEKEND OF MIXED FORTUNES FOR KTM ENDURO FACTORY TEAM
The KTM Enduro Factory Team picked up a string of podiums at Round 7 & 8 of the World Championship at Heinola in Finland for an overall solid result and good championship points, but it was also a tough weekend for Antoine Meo where a crash on Saturday resulted in hospitalization.
Red Bull athlete Antoine Meo started the weekend riding with an injured thumb that required painkillers then in the third Enduro test in Saturday’s Round 7. On his KTM 350 EXC-F he crashed into a tree and was taken to hospital with broken ribs and a fractured hand. Doctors opted to keep him hospitalized overnight. Unable to pick up points this weekend in the competitive E2 class, Meo drops from class leader down to third place after Round 8.
Team boss Fabio Farioli again visited Meo in hospital after Sunday’s round, saying the rider, who is in intensive care was in a stable condition. He confirmed that all being well be would be moved into a normal ward after another 24 hours. “Antoine has broken ribs, four fractures to the right hand and bruising on his back. But he is recuperating. His main problem is that he cannot race”, he said. He confirmed that Meo would return to France where a hand specialist would carry out the surgery.
Riding at home and with good crowd support, it was Finland’s Eero Remes who was the major challenger for points leader Christophe Nambotin. The French rider had a series of crashes in the final test on Saturday that cost him to top step to the home favorite. But by Sunday’s Round 8 Nambotin had the measure of Remes and with six test wins, wrapped up his weekend with a 2-1 result. E1 factory teammate Cristobal Guerrero was in solid form to finish with two times third place podiums for the team. Nambotin, the current E3 World Champion leaves Finland with a commanding lead of 36-points in E1. Guerrero is second with 118 but Remes has closed to within a point of the Spaniard. Both KTM riders compete on the KTM 250 EXC-F.
With the team’s sole rider in E2 out of commission, the weekend’s action focused on three E2 riders. Pela Renet of France picked up two wins and now leads the championship by 28 points, Johnny Aubert scored a 3-2 and is in second place with 118 points and Alex Salvini picked up a 2-3 result. Antoine Meo is third in the points with 114 and Salvini is fourth with 98.
It was a very positive weekend for the factory team’s two riders in the big bike E3 category with Australian rookie Matthew Phillips picking up wins on both days and Red Bull athlete Ivan Cervantes scoring two second place podiums to retain the points lead by a margin of 12. Cervantes solid result was impressive given that he had leg surgery after Round 6 in Greece, and according to team boss Farioli was riding in a lot of pain. Phillips and Cervantes compete on the KTM 300 EXC.
Farioli: “Today we had some very good fights between Phillips and Cervantes but Phillips was faster. Also Nambotin was much faster today than on Saturday and was a good match for Remes on home ground. At the end of the day both Phillips and Nambotin backed off in their respective classes and controlled the race.”
Next Round: June 14-15, 2014 – GP of Sweden, Enköping
Standings & Results E1 after 8 of 14 rounds
1. Christophe Nambotin (FRA), KTM, 154 points (2-1)
2. Cristobal Guerrero (ESP), KTM, 118 (3-3)
3. Eero Remes (FIN), TM, 117 (1-2)
4. Anthony Boissiere (FRA), Sherco, 102 (4-5)
5. Jeremy Tarroux (FRA), Sherco, 91 (DNF-4)
8. Rudi Moroni (ITA), KTM, 59 (7-6)
Standings & Results E2 after 8 of 14 rounds
1. Pierre-Alexandre Renet (FRA), Husqvarna, 146 points (1-1)
2. Johnny Aubert (FRA), Beta, 118 (3-2)
3. Antoine Meo (FRA), KTM, 114 (DNF-DNS)
4. Alex Salvini (ITA), Honda, 98 (2-3)
5. Oriol Mena (ESP), Beta, 87 (5-4)
8. Mirko Gritti (ITA), KTM, 56 (6-6)
Standings & Results E3 after 8 of 14 rounds
1. Ivan Cervantes (ESP), KTM, 151 points (1-1)
2. Matthew Phillips (AUS), KTM, 139 (2-2)
3. Mathias Bellino (FRA), Husqvarna, 111 (4-3)
4. Matti Seistola (FIN), Sherco, 105 (3-4)
5. Luis Correia (POR), Beta, 92 (5-5)
7. Jeremy Joly (FRA), KTM, 71