September 2, 2010 - Woodcliff Lake, NJ – GNCC hero and 7-time world champ Juha Salminen made Husqvarna racing history by putting the all new 2011 TE 449 onto the podium for its very first World Enduro Championship points in Serres, Greece this past weekend. After being sidelined with a serious injury that forced him to miss rounds 3, 4 and 5 of the series, the Husqvarna Motorsport E2 class rider returned with a vengeance at the GP of Greece. Meanwhile Husqvarna’s Enduro 1 points leader Antoine Meo maintained a margin in the title chase, with just two rounds remaining.
Despite being off a bike for months because of his foot injury, the Finnish superstar proved he was still fit to the finish and the TE 449 is a contender right out of the gate as Salminen had no problems with the extremely hot and dry conditions. He finished little more than a minute behind E2 Class winner Ivan Cervantes on Day 1 and then really stepped it up on Day 2 to finish second overall. "It was good to be back racing again after such a long time off," Salminen says, noting that the new bike performed absolutely flawlessly.
"The foot that I injured didn’t give me any problems, but I certainly know I’ve ridden for two long days. The heat wasn’t really a problem for me but the dust was pretty bad in places. I found it really difficult on the first lap on Day 1 as I had to find my rhythm again. I made a few small mistakes during the first lap on Day 2 but otherwise everything went well." Salminen says his goal is to continue to improve and put the TE 449 on top of the podium at the penultimate Enduro World Championship round in Turkey next weekend.
In the premier E1 class, Husqvarna factory racer Antoine Meo saw his commanding points lead shrink on Day 1 as a minor electrical problem forced the Frenchman out of contention. However he bounced back in a big way by claiming a commanding win on Day 2. This marks his seventh Day win of the series, and with two rounds remaining, Meo holds a 22-point lead at the top of the E1 championship standings. Husqvarna’s Matti Seistola finished 5th overall to move into 4th place in the standings heading into Turkey.
Less dramatic, but no less inspiring, were the fine performances of CH Racing Husqvarna’s E3 class riders Seb Guillaume and Bartosz Oblucki. Both veterans of racing in Greece, Seb came out shooting by winning Friday night’s Super Test and leading the opening lap of Day 1 on his WR300. He put his Husqvarna onto the podium in third for the day, just a minute behind the winner. Day 2 was even better as Guillame finished second and Oblucki rounded out the podium in third.
"While the entire World Enduro Championship is very important to Husqvarna worldwide, the amazing debut of the TE 449 is even bigger news for the North American marketplace," explains Husqvarna Motorcycles North America president Mark Brady. "This motorcycle is new from the chassis up and represents Husqvarna’s future, so it is nice to see Juha get us off on the right foot."
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Husqvarna Motorcycles: Tradition on two wheels since 1903.
Husqvarna Motorcycles, a part of the BMW Group since October 2007, are widely known and respected in the off-road world for a heritage of competition and numerous motocross and enduro world championships. Originally founded in Sweden in 1903, Husqvarna motorcycles have been designed and manufactured in Varese, Italy since 1987.
Husqvarna Motorcycles NA, LLC
Husqvarna Motorcycles NA, LLC is part of BMW (US) Holding Corp., the BMW Group's sales headquarters for North, Central and South America is located in Woodcliff Lake, NJ. Throughout 2010, Husqvarna will continue to expand its professional race team to compete in AMA Enduro, GNCC, Endurocross, National Hare & Hound, the AMA Hare Scrambles Series, and WORCS competition. Husqvarna team riders will compete in the premier classes of each series aboard 2010 Husqvarna TXC 450, TXC 510, and WR 300 off-road models.