Husaberg Factory Racing Team awaits the start of 2013 Enduro World Championship
Eight-rider team gets the first taste of competition at the GP of Chile on March 15…
With new machinery, an expanded team featuring riders in each of the Enduro World Championship’s classes, and with an Enduro 2 World title to defend, the Husaberg Factory Racing Team enters the 2013 season in confident mood. With five months having passed since the 2012 World Championship dew to a highly successful close for Husaberg, attentions and ambitions now turn to the start of the seven-round 2013 series.
Securing a maiden EWC title last year to become the first rider ever to win an FIM Motocross and Enduro World Championship, Pela Renet starts 2013 as the rider to beat. In a class stacked with talent, one thing the tall Frenchman knows is that successfully defending his E2 title will be anything but easy. Not one to shy away from a challenge Pela starts 2013 having spent the winter dialling in his new FE450, and maximising his fitness levels.
“The goal for this season is the same as last year – to try and win the Enduro 2 title,” comments Pela. “Last year was a great season, and I know that this year won’t be easy at all. Some riders have left the E2 class, but others have joined it – there will be several riders capable of winning. Consistency will certainly be important. I’ve been working hard this winter, my fitness is very good, and I feel ready.
“I have a new bike for 2013, which is very different to last year’s model. It is much lighter and easier to handle. I rode as much as I could this winter so I really know and understand the bike, and I am very pleased with it. I know I have a great package to start the defence of my Enduro 2 World Championship.”
Competing alongside Renet for Husaberg in Enduro 2 will be Oriol Mena. Stepping off an E3 class bike for the first time since entering the senior ranks, Mena will compete aboard an FE350 – an experience the Spaniard is eagerly awaiting.
“I’m really enjoying being on the 350. It’s such an easy bike to ride and after five years with bigger bikes in the E3 class I’m really enjoying a new challenge,” explained Oriol. “I’ve been training hard with the bike all winter and won the Spanish cross-country title. I’ve not felt as good as I do now since I won the Enduro Junior title back in 2009.”
The team’s Enduro 1 class entrant is Thomas Oldrati. Making the switch to Husaberg bike at the end of 2012, the Italian has already showed what he’s capable of with numerous senior class podium results since topping the Enduro Junior World Championship in 2008. Focused on battling for the E1 title, Oldrati knows he will face stiff competition from defending class champion Antoine Meo and eight-time world champion Juha Salminen but is confident of delivering a successful season.
“I’m really looking forward to this season. Getting to race on a Husaberg at the end of last year means I know the bike well, and everything is going very good. Competition for the podium will be tough, but it looks like this year we will have many dry races, which is good for me.”
The Enduro 3 class will see two riders take up the challenge for Husaberg – experienced ‘big bike’ campaigner Joakim Ljunggren and class newcomer Mathias Bellino. For Joakim 2013 arguably presents his biggest challenge ever as a professional enduro racer. Third in E3 in 2011, runner-up in 2013, the tall Swede would love to continue his rise up the ranks but knows that competition for the top spot will be fierce. Nevertheless Joakim’s goal is to challenge for regular podium results and continue to chase a senior EWC title.
“It’s so competitive at the top of all classes, but this year I want to close the gap to last year’s E3 winner Christophe Nambotin and push hard to get the best results possible. Finishing as runner-up in the Enduro 3 World Championship last year was great but I want to be faster. I’m racing in the same class on the same bike – the TE300, which I really love to race. I will continue to race the Spanish Enduro Championship and have had a good winter’s training. I’m really looking forward to the year ahead.”
For Bellino – Husaberg’s 2012 Enduro Junior World Champion – the coming season is one filled with challenges. As well as adapting to a larger capacity bike and taking up the challenge of competing against new rivals, Mathias must first overcome wrist surgery and a notable lack of time on a bike.
“Last year was amazing with some great results – winning the Enduro Junior title was fantastic. The only disappointing thing was the injury to my left wrist. It started in Finland and after the final race in France I had some tests and we found I had a broken ligament. The frustrating thing is that I didn’t crash.
“I had an operation at the end of November, followed by one-and-a-half months with a cast. I still have to be patient. Racing with the big bike is a new challenge for me, which I’m looking forward to. I like strong power. Until my fitness is back to 100 per cent I won’t be at my top level, but this year I will have to take things step-by-step. I hope to be at my best during the second half of the season.”
New to the team for 2013 is former French national and Grand Prix motocross racer Loic Larrieu. Taking up the challenge of the EWC aboard an FE350, the 22-year-old from Montpellier in the South of France will race in the Enduro Junior class. Following in the footsteps of team-mate Pela Renet and the many other French motocross riders who have made the switch to enduro, despite his lack of experience Loic is determined to enjoy his debut season and learn all he can about his new chosen discipline.
“This is my first year in enduro, before this I raced in the French and World Motocross Championship. I raced in MX2 with one season in MX1 – I raced the European championship in 2008 and then spent three years in the GPs. My best result was finishing on the podium at the French GP in 2009, in the MX2 class. I have only done one enduro race, so the GP of Chile will be a very steep learning curve.”
Alongside Loic in the Enduro Junior class will be Spain’s Mario Roman. Putting an injury hit 2012 season behind him the talented youngster will set about rebuilding both his confidence and speed.
In the 125cc Youth Cup Manx youngster Jamie McCanney will return to the EWC trail having endured an injury plagued 2012 season. Close to winning on his EWC debut ride in Chile 12 months ago, Jamie has shown he has the speed to win but will need time in order to return to full fitness following shoulder surgery.
In the Enduro Women class Husaberg will support British racer Jane Daniels. Getting her first taste of EWC competition at last year’s GP of Italy, where she placed third on day one, Jane hopes to regularly challenge to top three results throughout the season.
The 2012 Enduro World Championship starts in Talca, Chile on March 15 with the seven-round series finishing in France on September 8.