The 2014 World Enduro Championship came to a thrilling conclusion on Sunday at Brioude in central France with two KTM factory riders fighting it out for the remaining title to be settled, the E3 class. Australian Matthew Phillips eventually prevailed over team veteran Ivan Cervantes of Spain, winning by just nine points. Both Phillips and Cervantes were still nursing injuries.
The KTM factory team’s Cristobal Guerrero of Spain also put in a huge and heroic effort in E1 to finish the final round after fracturing his finger on Saturday. Guerrero rode with his finger splinted and strapped, managing to pick up five additional points for his eleventh place on Sunday to save overall third.
KTM’s Christophe Nambotin had already settled the E1 title in the last round and Antoine Meo, a title prospect in E2 before the Scandinavian round, is still recovering from a hand injury in Finland. Prior to Meo’s accident in June, the French rider had picked up four wins and two second places in the previous races.
KTM Factory Team Manager Fabio Farioli was a happy man, saying his riders had done ‘a great job’ this season. “It was a good season for us and at the same time, from the point of injuries, it was one of the worst for us. But we ended up with all our riders on the podium except Meo, who is still working on his rehabilitation.” Farioli said the fans had turned out in big numbers for the final round in France and riders were rewarded with a great atmosphere for their final outing for the world championship season.
E1 Action Final Rounds
KTM’s Nambotin was the outstanding rider in the E1 class and was able to deliver two thrilling performances to his home fans in France this weekend. He won five tests on Saturday to top the podium and was in even better form on Sunday. He again won the day with victories in 10 of the 11 tests and was in second place for the remaining test. Guerrero was forced to retire on Saturday with his fractured finger but returned on Sunday and successfully fought for the points he needed to finish on the podium at the close of the season. Both Nambotin and Guerrero ride with KTM 250 EXC-F.
E2 Action Final Rounds
With Meo still sidelined through injury, KTM was not among the leading E2 riders in France and the title had already been decided in favor of Husqvarna’s Pela Renet. Meo’s competition bike is the KTM 350 EXC-F.
E3 Action Final Rounds
It was already clear on Saturday that the title was far from settled and competition was tight between the four-times world champion and team veteran Cervantes and the young pretender, Australian Matthew Phillips, the winner of the World Junior title in 2013. Phillips won the day on Saturday and Cervantes had to settle for second, which was perhaps behind the inspired performance of the Spaniard on Sunday. Cervantes won eight of the eleven tests, but ran just short of picking up enough points to outsmart his younger Australian teammate. “It was a very good fight between these two riders and I’m happy and proud of them because they were both very professional and very positive,” Farioli concluded. Phillips and Cervantes comest the E3 on the KTM 300 EXC.
Riders and teams are now preparing for the classic International Six Days Enduro (ISDE), the oldest offroad event on the FIM calendar. It is being hosted by San Juan, Argentina, November 3-8, 2014.