KTM’s Enduro factory riders Antoine Meo and Christophe Nambotin were in solid form at the GP of Sweden for two rounds of the World Championships in Karlsborg at the weekend where they fought it out in the forests to pull off the lead in the E1 and E3 classes on both days.
Meo went into the weekend weighed down with the after effects of flu but despite a slow start on Saturday the adrenalin kicked in right after the opening cross test. He was fastest on his KTM 250 EXC-F in the opening Enduro test that followed and by the beginning of the second 70 km lap he was in the lead and stayed anchored in that spot for the rest of the competition. The French rider also said rainy conditions had added an extra degree of difficulty for him “The difference all the time was in the Enduro test,” he told reporters. “I didn’t take a lot of risks and I made quite good times.”
Meo also had a solid day on Sunday, winning three tests and apart from difficulties in two of the extreme tests finished either second or third in the remaining ones. “There were some good fights in the E1 today but Meo was simply one class better than the rest,” team boss Fabio Farioli said from the venue.
E1 Teammate Remes had a day of contrasts on Saturday picking up wins in several of the Cross Tests but coming unstuck in two of the extreme tests over man made obstacles near the paddock that definitely favored the trials specialists. Remes finished fifth on Saturday. On Sunday Remes continue to be strong in the cross tests but lost time in the Extreme. He managed to lift his game to finish on the podium in third with KTM rider Thomas Oldrati of Italy finishing second to make it a clean sweep for KTM in this class.
The E2 duo, Cristobal Guerrero and Johnny Aubert battled it out on Saturday in unison. Guerrero, riding on very different terrain than his home track in Spain won two of the extreme test, while Aubert picked up the third. For the rest of the day they frequently shared third and fourth places in the other tests and that was how they finished, with Guerrero coming out on top after Aubert was given a one-minute penalty. Sunday was a similar story for the two KTM riders who managed to finish this time with Guerrero again in front in fourth while Aubert was fifth.
Christophe Nambotin of France again dominated the E3 on Saturday riding theKTM 300 EXC picking up five of the nine special tests to further extend his points lead in the championship. Teammate David Knight won all three extreme tests but came unstuck on some of the others and finished the opening day in Sweden in tenth place. Sunday was also a strong day for the French rider who wound up the day by snatching the victory only after the final extreme test. Knight was also in good form over the Extreme texts on Sunday, grabbing three fastest times but his performances in the Cross and Enduro tests were only enough for him to finish overall fourth.
Meanwhile in the Youth Cup, young Italian KTM-supported rider Giacomo Redondi picked up another two victories this weekend to secure the first title of the season.
While most of the track was out in the Swedish forest, the Cross Test was in a flat field on a soft, gravely surface with plenty of corners and some crowd-pleasing jumps. The Enduro Test took riders into the forest, starting slow and twisty before building speed. There were also plenty of rocks to negotiate. The ground was soft and muddy from recent rain and riders had the choice of a jump across a river or a longer route on the liaison section.
Riders compete in the GP of Finland next weekend and the KTM team goes into the next two rounds with a significant lead in E1 and E3 thanks to Meo and Nambotin. Guerrero is just five points behind the leader in E2.
Image courtesy KTM Racing