KTM Factory riders Christophe Nambotin, Antoine Meo and Laia Sanz all took double race victories in Jerez, Spain, this weekend when the southern Spanish venue hosted the second round of the 2015 Enduro World Championship over two days.
Nambotin, the reigning E1 World Champion had two near faultless days in the hot and dry conditions typical of southern Spain, winning every test on both days. Meo battled hard with E2 rivals Alex Salvini and Pela Renet but finally prevailed to take the number one spot on both days. Sanz, making her debut ride with the KTM Factory team in the opening round of the Women’s World Championship also dominated the competition on both days.
Nambotin never faltered on Saturday and while he said the dry slippery conditions, and especially the heat made it hard work, he was still satisfied, commenting after the opening day: “I won both the E1 and was fastest overall. It’s been a perfect day – I can’t fault it. I managed to win all 11 special tests – I don’t think I’ve done that before in E1. I had a great feeling with the bike and it allowed me to make the difference in the Enduro Test.” Nambotin leaves Round Two with a ten-point lead over Finnish rider Eero Remes.
While Meo won in E2 on both days, he had a tough fight in this highly competitive class, describing his battle with Renet on Day One as ‘Incredible.’ “It was so close and was anybody’s race to win but unfortunately for Pela he made a mistake and crashed, but we were both riding on the very limit.” They were separated by six tenths of a second going into the penultimate test on Saturday when Renet’s crash handed Meo the win.
On Sunday it was Italian Alex Salvini who turned up the heat to be Meo’s biggest challenger and while KTM’s French rider left Spain with a 1-1 for his efforts, Salvini and Renet picked up the minor places, signaling that they will out to level the score next weekend in Portugal.
KTM’s Matt Phillips, the E3 title defender also had a tough weekend, fighting all the way with Frenchman Mathias Bellino on Day One when the two riders constantly swapped positions as the tests progressed. A small mistake in the final test gave Bellino the edge and he also took the victory on Sunday with Phillips finally having to settle for fifth. With four tests to go on Sunday Bellino had only a five second lead over Matti Seistola and Phillips, with Manuel Monni, and Jonathan Barragan just 10 seconds shy of the leading group. Phillips eventually had to settle for fifth on the second day but trailed the leader by just 15 seconds. The tightly fought competition indicates that E3 will also be a class set to raise adrenalin levels this season.
E3 Teammate Ivan Cervantes, who is currently riding injured, battle his way to a 12-13 result while KTM Extreme factory rider Taddy Blazusiak also did it tough and was unable to start on Sunday after an early crash on Saturday.
The home Spanish fans turned out in force to see Laia Sanz as she stamped her authority on the competition and put down the foundation to defend her 2014 EW title. New to the KTM Factory team but not to the women’s championship, Sanz, who finished an impressive thirteenth in the Dakar Rally in January, took it all in her stride and picked up two comfortable wins.
Team manager Fabio Farioli, who said it had been a solid weekend for all his riders confirmed Blazusiak would have a full medical check on Monday.