THE SMELL OF PREMIX IN THE AIR ... IN THE WORLD ENDURO CHAMPS!
The 2011 Maxxis FIM World Enduro Championship has fired into life in recent weeks with back-to-back events in Spain and Portugal.
In the E1 class, Husqvarna is celebrating the efforts of Juha Salminen, who is atop the points standings after four days of competition, leading Ereo Remes (KTM) and Rodrig Thain (Honda).
In the E2 division, the much heralded arrival of KTM's new fuel-injected 350 EXC-F thumper didn't quite go to plan at the series kick-off in Spain, with KTM team leader Johnny Aubert sidelined by mechanical hiccups on the new bike and leaving the two days of competiton with zero points.
So Team Husqvarna rider Antoine Meo made hay while the sun shone and ripped off two bigs wins in Spain, then backed it up with more strong results in Portugal to now sit atop the world title standings ahead of Pierre Alexandre Renet (Husaberg) and Ivan Cervantes (Gas Gas).
Aubert meanwhile fired back to top form at the second event in Portugal, ripping off back-to-back round wins and now sits seventh in the championship with a lot of ground to make up.
In the big-bore E3 class, Mika Ahola has stepped up to the heavyweight division with Honda and holds the championship lead aboard his CRF, but he's making a lonely stand for the thumpers in the class.
Save for Team KTM's David Knight who is eighth in the title chase (after DNFing the first event with a hip injury), all the other bikes in the top-10 of the E3 class are two-strokes. That's right, the smell of premix lives on in the World Enduro Championships!
Gas Gas rider Christophe Nambotin and Husaberg team rider Joakim Ljunggren (pictured) hold down second and third in the E3 battle and both are on big-banger strokers and are aiming to take the fight up to Ahola's four-stroke all season long.
Another 12 rounds in six countries of World Enduro Championship competition continues.
-- Clubby, www.trailzone.com.au