KTM Enduro Factory Team wraps up another great season2008-10-24 02:17
KTM Enduro Factory riders in 2008 delivered a string of top results in all classes of the World Championship series to keep opponents on their guard and delivering thrilling action throughout the season to take the E3 and two Manufacturer's Titles.
Aro and KTM seal E3 titles; Tarkkala close second
Samuli Aro rode his new KTM 300 EXC 2-stroke bike into first place in the E3 big bike division to claim his fifth Enduro World championship title (Aro won titles in 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2008). Teammate and Finnish countryman Marko Tarkkala was Aro's biggest rival this season, finishing in second place just 11 points shy of the leader to give the entire factory team plenty of reason to celebrate Orange victories. The combined effort of these two tough terrain maestros also ensured that KTM was the outright winner in the E3 Manufacturer's Title with 355 points. Husqvarna took second place with 298.
Second and third for Salminen and Belometti in E2 Class; KTM wins Manufacturer's title
Juha Salminen and Alessandro Belometti both put in a strong showing in the E2 class to finish in second and third place respectively and amass enough points for KTM to snatch the Manufacturer's title by 17 points from Yamaha. And while Frenchman Jonny Aubert took the 2008 honours, the two KTM riders were consistent and hot on his tailpipe throughout the season. In the final reckoning, Aubert was victorious by a narrow margin of eight points ahead of seven-times world champion Salminen. In fact from the 16 individual races that made up the 2008 season, Salminen won nine of them and it was only a DNF in the first race in Spain that cost him the title. Belometti, his Italian teammate also had a great season on his new KTM 250 EXC two-stroke machine and finished just six points behind the Finn. Thanks to the efforts of these two KTM factory riders, KTM also came away withthe Manufacturer's Title in E2 with 378 points, 17 ahead of Yamaha.
Cervantes powers to second place in E1 title race; victory in 2008 ISDE
Ivan Cervantes, KTM factory team's 26-year-old Spanish rider also showed amazing consistency in performance and results onboard his KTM 250 EXC-F machine to finish second to Finland's Mika Ahola at the close of the season. Cervantes finished in the top three in 13 of the season's 16 individual races and scored double line honours in rounds at Kwidzyn, Poland and Uzerche, France. The Spanish rider also had a serious moment of glory when he took victory in the 2008 ISDE, held this season in Serres, Northern Greece. The ISDE, often called the Olympics of Enduro racing, is the season's toughest riding over six days and demands skill, endurance and finely-tuned tactics to take line honours.
E1 rookie and Cervantes' KTM factory teammate Tom Sagar of Britain scored double digit points in all but three races to finish in a creditable eighth position. Thanks to the efforts of the two KTM factory riders, the Orange brand was a clear second in the Manufacturer's title for E1.
Oldrati outstrips rivals in EJuniors title
To round off an excellent Enduro season for KTM, 19-year-old Italian Thomas Oldrati, riding for KTM Factory Support Farioli, put his stamp on the competition by wrapping up the title in the seventh of eight rounds. Oldrati, who had already won several national and junior championship titles on smaller machines, is thus earmarked as one of tomorrow's heroes in senior world class competition.
In contrast to past seasons where riders tackled snow and ice in the opening race in Scandinavia, the provisional calendar for 2009 lists the two opening GP rounds on the Iberian Peninsular. Next year riders will also tackle a whole range of terrain in Italy, Finland and Slovakia before heading to Mexico. On the return to Europe the final two rounds will be in Greece and France. The 2009 ISDE is scheduled for Portugal.
Provisional calendar for 2009 season
14/15 March: Penafiel PORTUGAL
21/22 March: Igualada SPAIN
18/19 April: Iglesias Sardinia-ITALY
13/14 June: Rihiimali FINLAND
20/21 June: Puchov SLOVAKIA
18/19 July: Valle de Bravo MEXICO
29/30 August: Serres GREECE
12/13 September: St.Flour FRANCE
MAXXIS FIM ISDE: 11 to 17 October in Figueira da Foz PORTUGAL
Source: KTM-Sportmotorcycle AG
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