Kirssi is European Cross Country Champ

Simo Kirssi and his BMW 450 X dominated the European XCC final at Mattighofen, Austria. The Finn took a convincing start to finish victory against some of the world´s best cross country riders to claim the 2008 title. But the BMW Motorrad Motorsport rider had to step into the lion´s den, as Mattighofen is well known to be KTM territory - with the "orange" headquarters just a few kilometers down the road. There´s a healthy rivalry between the German and Austrian brand, yet this past weekend Kirssi held the upper hand. It wasn´t for a lack of competition, though.

KTM had brought multi-time World champ Samuli Aro and WEC front-runner Alessandro Belometti. Husaberg had entered former junior champ Joakim Ljunggren while Aprilia relied on Frenchman Antoine Lettelier. Kirssi still rode in a class of his own. The 29-year-old didn´t let the slippery terrain or variety of obstacles get in his way. Ruts, roots, up- or downhill. The recently crowned German champ was in full control. After three laps Kirssi led by almost a minute, and would never look back. The only competitor going at a similar pace was Ljunggren, but Simo´s win was never challenged, really. Credit also to his team for providing a perfect pit stop.

Bert Meyer, second rider on BMW Motorrad Motorsport´s cross country team, couldn´t participate due to an injury sustained at the WEC round in France. The young German, a likely podium contender, was replaced by Gerhard Forster. The extreme race specialist and second-place finisher at the Red Bull Romaniacs last month, rode a solid race to finish tenth.

Kirssi meanwhile won´t find a lot of time to rest. His next outing will be the Indoor Enduro at Milan, held on 7 November.

Simo Kirssi: "After taking the holeshot I simply rode my own race. I enjoyed the beautiful weather and the terrific track with all its Enduro sections. It somehow reminded me of the conditions back home in Finland; the ground being wet and littered with deep ruts. Somehow I felt extremely thirsty today and that´s why I struggled with my concentration towards the end. I even touched a tree at one point, but it only costed a few seconds.
I´d like to thank my team for their fantastic effort this season. An additional thanks goes to BMW for letting me ride this exceptional motorcycle."

XCC European finale Mattighofen, XCPro class
1. Simo Kirssi (FIN), BMW Motorrad Motorsport, 15 laps
2. Joakim Ljunggren (SWE), Husaberg, 15
3. Alessandro Belometti (ITA), KTM, 15
4. Antoine Letellier (FRA), Aprilia, 15
5. Bernhard Walzer (A), KTM, 14
6. Rudi Pöschl (A), KTM, 14
7. Matte Fält (A), KTM, 14
8. Andy Boller (GER), KTM 14
9. Markus Auer (A), Husqvarna, 14
10. Gerhard Forster (GER), BMW Motorrad Motorsport, 13

European Championship, XCPro class
1. Simo Kirssi (FIN), BMW Motorrad Motorsport, 66,87 points
2. Bernhard Walzer (A), KTM, 54,60
3. Rudi Pöschl (A), KTM, 54,30