Antoine MEO leads the way on day one at round six of the 2015 Maxxis FIM Enduro World Championship in St Hubert, Belgium. The opening day of competition at the GP FunnelWeb Filter of Belgium was one to saviour for championship leaders Eero REMES (FIN – TM), Antoine MEO (F – KTM) and Mathias BELLINO (F – Husqvarna) as they all claimed wins in their respective classes.
Delivering the goods in terms of action and drama, the first ever day of EWC competition in Belgium had plenty of spills and thrills as the Belgian countryside put competitors through their paces. The biggest development of the day was the early departure of Enduro 2 championship contender Pela RENET (F). The Husqvarna rider crashed heavily on the opening enduro test and injured his shoulder.
Heading the Enduro 3 class, Husqvarna’s Mathias BELLINO returned to the top step of the podium having missed out at the previous GP of Italy. Riding fast and strong all day, the Frenchman secured more important points in the title chase. “I’m happy, it’s been a great day for me,” told BELLINO. “I felt good all day and didn’t really make any mistakes that cost me time. I pushed hard where I knew I was strong and rode smart where I felt I wasn’t. It’s great to win and gain more points in the championship.” Back to his best having struggled through Greece and Italy with a broken finger, Sherco’s Matti SEISTOLA (FIN) was the runner-up to Bellino. Enduring an up and down day, KTM’s Matt PHILLIPS (AUS) fought back to finish just four seconds behind Seistola in third. Recovering well from a mistake on the opening extreme test, TM Racing’s Manuel MONNI (I) was fourth with KTM’s Jeremy JOLY (F) completing the top five.
Picking up his sixth win of the season, TM Racing’s Eero REMES was almost unstoppable in the Enduro 1 class. Claiming six special test wins, the Finn secured a comfortable 72-second margin of victory. “It’s been a really great day for me,” confirmed REMES. “I had one or two small crashes but nothing major. It feels good to get another win this season.” Behind REMES the fight for the runner-up result was played out between KTM’s Christophe NAMBOTIN (F) and Husqvarna’s Danny McCANNEY (GB). A stronger final lap from NAMBOTIN saw him end his day second to REMES. Enjoying a close battle with NAMBOTIN, McCANNEY finished 11 seconds behind the Frenchman to take third. Completing the top five, the Yamaha duo of Marc BOURGEOIS (F) and Cristobal GUERRERO (S) were fourth and fifth respectively.
In the Enduro 2 class, Antoine MEO claimed a commanding victory. Facing an early challenge from Husqvarna’s Pela RENET (F), the Frenchman was handed a slight relief when RENET crashed out of the event on the opening enduro test. “It’s fantastic to take another win today but it’s unfortunate to see Pela get injured,” commented MEO. “He started the enduro test before me and I knew when I arrived that he had hurt himself – thankfully not too seriously. I wish him well and hope he has a quick recovery. “I was in the same position myself last year so I know how he must be feeling. Tomorrow I will keep trying to do my own thing and hopefully I can secure another win.” With MEO out front, Honda’s Alex SALVINI (I) placed a distant runner-up to the Frenchman. Securing his first ever senior podium, Sherco’s Loic LARRIEU (F) delivered a solid ride to take third. Behind the top three, Husqvarna’s Jaume BETRIU (S) was fourth with David KNIGHT (GB-KTM) putting in an impressive performance in his wildcard EWC ride to complete the top five.
In the Enduro Junior class, Beta’s Steve HOLCOMBE (GB) out paced the rest of his classmates to claim the top step of the podium. Chasing him home for the runner-up result, Husqvarna’s Jamie McCANNEY (GB) was second while Italy’s Davide SORECA (Beta) joined teammate HOLCOMBE on the podium for third. Slipping outside the top three for the first time since the GP of Spain, Beta’s Giacomo REDONDI (I) was fourth with Italy’s Alessandro BATTIG (Honda) fifth.
The Enduro Youth Cup saw Spain’s Josep GARCIA (Husqvarna) back on top form by winning day one. Carding his debut EWC podium result KTM’s Jack EDMONDSON (GB) was second with Mikael PERSSON (SWE-Yamaha) third. Frenchmen Debaud VALERIAN (Yamaha) and Luca GARELLO (Yamaha) were fourth and fifth respectively.
There was no stopping KTM’s Laia SANZ (S) in the Women’s Cup as she eased her way to a comfortable margin of victory. Husqvarna’s Jane DANIELS (GB) was runner-up with Australia’s Jemma WILSON (Yamaha) ending her day in third.