Things couldn’t have gone much better for the Husqvarna CH Racing Monster Energy Team at round three of the 2011 EWC series, staged in Francavilla de Sicilia on the island of Sicily. Starting the event as leaders of both the Enduro 1 and Enduro 2 world championship classes, the team not only enjoyed continued success thanks to the efforts of championship leaders Salminen and Meo, but also saw Matti Seistola claim his first ever world championship win with an E1 class victory on day two.
Dominating the Enduro 1 class on day one, Salminen and Seistola claimed an impressive one-two result as the two riders finished comfortably ahead of third-placed Eero Remes. Winning eight of the day’s 12 special tests on his TE250, Salminen was in a class of his own, easing his pace as the day neared its close so as to ensure he didn’t make any costly mistakes. With Seistola again showing impressive pace the two riders finished 40 seconds apart to claim a well-deserved and memorable result.
On day two it was Seistola’s turn to shine as the Finn claimed his first ever EWC victory, having turned in a near faultless performance. Pushed every step of the way by countryman Remes, Matti held his nerve to record a superb maiden victory and ensure Husqvarna once again finished at the head of the Enduro 1 class.
For day one winner Salminen, a fall on the motocross test proved costly as he dropped behind both Seistola and Remes to finish third, some 18 seconds behind winner Seistola. Even so, with these results Salminen strengthens his lead at the top of the Enduro 1 world championship standings, now sitting 18 points ahead of runner-up Remes.
“It helped that the other riders in the E1 class made a lot of mistakes and I didn’t make any on the first day, but I felt really good from the start,” said Salminen. “It seems like I have an advantage when the track’s new, which I think showed on the first day. I made one costly mistake in the stones on the motocross test on the second day, which cost me some time, but I managed to finish third so it certainly wasn’t a disaster. I’m still leading the E1 championship, which is great, so I’m really happy with everything.”
Thanks to scoring his best results so far this season Seistola now sits third in the standings: “It feels really, really good to get my first win,” said Matti. “I could see at the first world championship race in Spain that I had the speed to win and now that it’s finally happened I couldn’t be happier. Winning here in Italy makes it even better as it’s the Husqvarna team’s home race.”
For Enduro 2 world championship leader Antoine Meo the GP of Italy ended with a superb second place and a victory on his Husqvarna TE310. Had it not been for several small mistakes during the opening day’s competition the Frenchman could well have enjoyed a double class win.
Second on day one – just under 10 seconds behind countryman Johnny Aubert – Antoine couldn’t quite find the consistency to challenge for the day win despite most definitely having the speed to top the podium. But whatever Antoine wasn’t able to do on day one he most certainly was on day two, as he dominated the proceedings to finish 36 seconds ahead of Spaniard Ivan Cervantes – having topped seven of the day’s special tests. Meo now sits 19 points ahead of Cervantes at the top of the Enduro 2 world championship standings while Albergoni holds fifth, after two top six finishes.
“Nothing really changed between the first and second day for me, I guess things just fell into place on day two,” said Meo. “On the first day I had some problems, made a lot of mistakes, and felt quite nervous in my riding. But day two was much better. The day started well and I felt good. It feels great to win again and to take more championship points.”
In the highly-competitive Enduro 3 class Seb Guillaume secured Husqvarna’s best result on day one with the Frenchman placing fifth. Alex Salvini finished two positions behind Seb in seventh on his TE511. A big crash on day two derailed Guillaume’s hopes of a podium finish with the experienced EWC campaigner eventually finishing ninth. However, Salvini claimed a creditable fifth – his best result of the season so far. As a result, Guillaume and Salvini are placed sixth and 10th respectively in the Enduro 3 championship standings.
“I’m very pleased with everything,” commented Alex Salvini. “Things started really well because I won the Friday night Super Test, but with a few too many mistakes during the first day I wasn’t able to finish higher than seventh. Things really improved for the second day and although I made a big mistake on the first extreme test I came back strong. Finishing on the podium isn’t going to be easy but I feel like I’ve taken a big step forward this weekend and really learned a lot.”