CH Racing Husqvarna team rider Antoine Meo has claimed a double Enduro 1 class win at the second round of the ’10 Enduro World Championship, the GP of Portugal. Following on just five days after the opening round of the EWC series, despite very different weather and track conditions the GP of Portugal proved to be another testing event – one in which Meo placed his TE250 at the top of the E1 class podium in style. Coming out on top of a hard fought day-long battle with countryman Johnny Aubert on day one Meo claimed more than a 50-second winning advantage on day two.
Knowing that he would have to perform at his very best in order to repeat the day one victory he enjoyed at the GP of Spain, Antoine ensured he completed the rain soaked Friday night Super Test cautiously before attacking the opening lap of the first day. Finding his feet during the opening lap, Antoine was soon up to speed and locked in competition with Aubert. Looking like he had the upper hand Meo made a costly mistake on the penultimate test, losing 10 seconds. Arriving at the final test of the day knowing that anything other than a winning time would see him finish second, Antoine came out on top finishing four seconds ahead of Spain’s Cristobal Guerrero with Aubert third to take the E1 class winner.
Day two saw Meo make a committed start as he set about bettering the runner-up result he claimed at the GP of Spain. Winning five of the day’s 10 special tests, and never placing lower than second in class, Antoine was gifted a 30 second lead after just two tests following a mistake by Aubert. Controlling his lead throughout the remainder of the day Meo finished first, 51 seconds ahead of Aubert.
Antoine Meo – Enduro 1: “It’s been a near perfect weekend for me. I made a big mistake in the final extreme test on the first day, lost 10 seconds, and Johnny moved to the front of the E1 class. I had to give the final test absolutely everything to win the day and I was able to be six seconds faster, which was enough for victory. I was really pleased with that. It was a hard day and to come out on top was great for everyone in the team. During the second day I just tried not too make any mistakes and keep a good rhythm going, which I did. Johnny made some mistakes this weekend, which of course helped me, but I know that Johnny will fight back. For now I am extremely pleased and to have a small points lead is great.”
Finn Matti Seistola and Australian Chris Hollis battled their way through the GP of Portugal to score points on both days. Although both riders failed to make any impression on the top five of the E1 class Matti’s two seventh place finishes were the result of a solid weekend’s work. Although Matti, like many riders, found the extreme test difficult, and with mistakes costing him precious time, he now sits sixth in the E1 championship standings. New to Enduro World Championship racing, and having gotten over the stomach bug that prevented him from starting the second day of the GP of Spain, Chris Hollis continued to gain experience aboard his TE250, showing on occasions that he has the speed to finish inside the top six of the e1 class.
Matti Seistola – Enduro 1: “It was quite a difficult weekend as I struggled to find good speed and began making too many mistakes by pushing too hard. I needed to be more consistent on the technical sections. One lap, I crashed on the Extreme Test, which lost me nearly 45 seconds. Not the best of weekends”
Chris Hollis – Enduro 1: “I'm slowly adapting to the way the races are run here in Europe. It's completely different than to what I've ridden back home. I didn't suffer any problems, I know that my pace isn’t fast enough yet but that’s something that I can work on. There’s lots of room for improvement. At the minute I'm trying to improve the little things, learning how to ride the rocks on the trail and then transfer that to the extreme test. But overall, I'm pleased with both myself and the bike.”
Pushing through the pain barrier for a second consecutive weekend and racing with broken bones in his right hand Seb Guillaume finished the GP of Portugal as the CH Racing Husqvarna team’s best performing E3 class rider following two more impressive rides. Although team-mate Bartosz Oblucki finished one place higher on day one in fifth, the Pole failed to finish day two. Seb, having placed sixth on day one found the rougher track on day two extremely difficult but nevertheless toughed it out to finish fifth. Seb currently sits fifth in the E3 championship standings.
Seb Guillaume Enduro 3: “This weekend was very difficult for me as again I had to race with a broken hand. Yesterday was better because the course was smoother with fewer bumps. Today I struggled with my grip, trying to hold on in the deep ruts. But to finish fifth and sixth is a good result and keeps my championship alive. I have almost a month between now and Italy, so I will try to rest and heal my injury so I can be stronger at the next round.”
2010 Enduro World Championship
Grand Prix of Portugal – Day 1
1. Antoine Meo (CH Racing Husqvarna) 46:22.77; 2. Johnny Aubert (KTM) 46:26.62; 3. Cristobal Guerrero (Yamaha) 47:03.81; 4. Eero Remes (KTM) 47:05.51; 5. Julien Gauthier (Honda) 47:50.00; 6. Goncalo Reis (KTM) 48:58.04; 7. Matti Seistola (CH Racing Husqvarna) 49:06.48; 8. Jordan Curvalle (Sherco) 49:23.09; 9. Nicolas Deparrois (Kawasaki) 49:25.37; 10. Chris Hollis (CH Racing Husqvarna) 49:46.14
1. Christophe Nambotin (Gas Gas) 46:42.96; 2. David Knight (KTM) 46:45.49; 3. Simone Albergoni (KTM) 46:57.06; 4. Oriol Mena (Husaberg) 47:04.35; 5. Bartosz Oblucki (CH Racing Husqvarna) 47:06.18; 6. Seb Guillaume (CH Racing Husqvarna) 48:17.28; 7. Marcus Kehr (KTM) 48:44.19; 8. Alessandro Botturi (Husaberg) 48:49.61; 9. Michal Kadlecek (TM) 48:56.07; 10. Paulo Felicia (Yamaha) 49:00.47
2010 Enduro World Championship
Grand Prix of Portugal – Day 2
1. Antoine Meo (CH Racing Husqvarna) 47:23.54; 2. Johnny Aubert (KTM) 48:15.32; 3. Eero Remes (KTM) 48:20.17; 4. Cristobal Guerrero (Yamaha) 48:47.20; 5. Julien Gauthier (Honda) 49:37.77; 6. Nicolas Deparrois (Kawasaki) 50:02.42; 7. Matti Seistola (CH Racing Husqvarna) 50:03.29; 8. Jari Mattila (Suzuki) 50:26.93; 9. Maurizio Micheluz (TM) 50:49.31; 10. Jordan Curvalle (Sherco) 50:55.40… 13. Chris Hollis (Husqvarna) 51:20.96
1. David Knight (KTM) 47:34.57; 2. Simone Albergoni (KTM) 48:01.97; 3. Christophe Nambotin (Gas Gas) 48:19.23; 4. Oriol Mena (Husaberg) 49:31.00; 5. Seb Guillaume (CH Racing Husqvarna) 49:48.51; 6. Alessandro Botturi (Husaberg) 49:55.34; 7. Michal Kadlecek (TM) 50:12.55; 8. Marcus Kehr (KTM) 50:15.53; 9. Aaron Bernardez (KTM) 50:39.66; 10. Paulo Felicia (Yamaha) 51:21.01