BMW Off-Road Racers Switch to Husqvarna for 2011

BMW Off-Road Racers Switch to Husqvarna for 2011

With over 50 years of motorsport activity in circuits around the world, Husqvarna Motorcycles boasts 78 titles won in the motocross, Enduro and Supermoto categories, including two world titles in the S2 class of the Supermoto World Championship (won by Adrien Chareyre on a SM 530RR in 2009) and the more recent World Enduro Championship title gained by Antoine Meo in the E1 class on the new Husqvarna TE250 last year.

Having spent the past few seasons delighting off-road fans with their exploits on the G450X sport enduro, a trio of BMW factory-supported riders will now be representing the company’s Husqvarna brand and campaigning a selection of its factory enduro machines at the world championship level throughout 2011.

From Left: Rider Andreas Lettenbichler, Husqvarna President Klaus Allisat, rider Simo Kirssi and the R&D Racing manager Pierluigi Zampieri.

Starting with the World Enduro Championship, Finnish off-road legend Juha Salminen will be racing in the E1 class on a factory TE250 for Team Husqvarna – CH Racing. The Enduro 1 (E1) class features 125cc two-stroke and 250cc four-stroke bikes. This year’s eight-round series takes place on some of the toughest off-road terrain imaginable and is split into stages and special tests—including motocross, cross-country and extreme—where riders face all sorts of natural and man-made obstacles designed to be technically challenging and physically exhausting. Starting at Ponts in Spain at the beginning of April, the series runs until the French GP on the first weekend in October at Mende.

Thirty-four year old Juha is one of the world’s most successful off-road riders, having won multiple World Enduro Championships, as well as being a double winner of the US Grand National Cross Country Series and various ISDE trophy championships. Without a doubt, he’ll be a force to be reckoned with in 2011 on the championship-winning Husqvarna TE250.

Having raced alongside Salminen many times, fellow Finn Simo Kirssi will now be turning his attention to the USA. Known as the ‘flying Finn’, Kirssi was instrumental in the success of the BMW G450X project, winning 16 of the 24 cross country races he entered since 2008 and taking two German and three European titles during that period.

Now, the 31-year-old will go to race the Husqvarna TE310 enduro machine in the USA for the Ohio-based Fred Andrews Team. Simo will compete in the Grand National Cross Country series (GNCC)—the most competitive cross country class in the world. The 13-round championship and its gruelling three-hour races draw as many as 1,800 riders, making it the largest off-road racing series in the world.

Husqvarna is well represented in the USA, with a west-coast based team run by Ty Davis, and an east-coast team run by Fred Andrews Racing, in which Simo Kirssi will compete in the XC1 class on the new TE310. Simo has previously raced for Fred so is looking forwards to reuniting once more and showing his talents in this hard-fought, competitive series that begins in early March with the River Ranch GNCC in Florida as part of the annual Daytona Bike Week celebrations. He’ll be moving to the USA in mid-February with his Finnish mechanic.

As for Extreme enduro specialist Andi Lettenbichler, the German ace will be continuing his campaign of entering some of the hardest motorcycle races on the planet, but this time on two-stroke machinery. ‘Letti’ will now race the WR300 for Husqvarna in various Extreme enduro races such as the UK’s ‘Tough One’ in March, the legendary Erzberg Hare Scramble in Austria in June, the Red Bull Romaniacs in July and the Roof of Africa in November. However, the first event for the Speedbrain-managed rider will be the Hell’s Gate extreme enduro in Italy, where he makes his debut on the Husqvarna on February 12.

With so many off-road events ahead, and the welcome addition of these talented riders to the brand, there is much to look forward to in 2011 according to Coordinator PR and Racing Activities for Husqvarna Motorcycles, Martino Bianchi, who commented, “Racing is in our blood at Husqvarna and the best way to promote our 2011 model range is to be represented at the top level of off-road sport by our teams of talented riders. We already have 78 world titles to our name, and we’re hoping to add a few more with the addition of Juha, Simo and ‘Letti’ to the Husqvarna family. Watch this space!”

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