KTM factory rider Laia Sanz of Spain on Sunday added yet another World Championship trophy to her considerable collection when she wrapped up the title in the EnduroGP EW class with a 2-1 result in the final round of the 2017 season.
Riding in Cahors, France, Laia Sanz, who is also a member of the KTM Rally Factory Racing Team, went into the round knowing it was going to be a hard fight.
She finished second to Germany’s Maria Franke on Day One, trailing by 2.18 seconds to go into Sunday’ competition on her KTM 350 EXC-F with a four-point lead in the title fight.
She then pulled out all the stops on Sunday, but not without spirited competition from Franke (also KTM). Sanz won the day by just five seconds and secured the title by seven points. It was a reward for a difficult start to the season and having to overcome injury problems.
Sanz: “This was a difficult one. At the beginning of the season in Sweden I almost lost the championship but I fought hard and I think I am really strong in my head and I believed in myself. This weekend was a big fight with Maria (Franke) and it was good to finish with a win.”
It was also an occasion for the team’s 2016 American recruit Taylor Robert to wrap up his season in style with a 2-1 for first place in the overall theoretical EnduroGP category.
Factory teammate and British rider Nathan Watson was also in form to score a 4-3 result in the class for overall third. The EnduroGP title went of Matthew Phillips of Australia, while Mathias Bellino was second and Steve Holcombe, also winner of the E3 title, took third. Watson and Robert finished fifth and seventh overall in the class.
The KTM Enduro Factory Racing Team did not contest E3 this season.
In the absence through injury of team stalwart, French favorite and multiple world and national champion Christophe Nambotin, it was up to Robert to come through for the KTM factory team in E2 and he did not disappoint.
Recently returned from a trip home to the US, Robert was in bristling form on both days on the KTM 350 EXC-F, picking up a 2-1 for the final round class victory.
Robert: “I had a few rough races at the beginning of the summer but then I went home for about eight weeks. I didn’t ride much Enduro but a bunch of other stuff, just mixing it up a bit and having fun. I came back here hungry and wanting to finish it off good and that’s what I did. I was so nervous going into that last test because I only had a five second cushion and it could have gone either way.”
Robert finished overall fourth in the class, just five points off the podium third.
France also proved to be ideal terrain for Watson to ride well on his KTM 250 EXC-F and he wrapped up his first season in EnduroGP with a 1-1 in the final round of the E1. This gave him second in the class after 16 rounds, just nine points behind veteran rider and title winner Eero Remes of Finland.
Watson: “I ended up winning yesterday and today I woke up on the good side of the bed and I did a really good first lap. Then I made a few mistakes in the second lap, I hit neutral in the extreme test and did a few stupid things. But then I put in a good last lap and ended up third to win the round.” Speaking about his first season with the factory team, Watson commented: “It’s been amazing. I enjoyed the challenge and I’ve only been off the podium once. I learned a lot and I’ve enjoyed it.”
It was a bittersweet day for the factory team’s Ivan Cervantes who, after competing in the final round for 2016, drew a line under a spectacular active career in Enduro dating back to 2003.
The multiple World- and Spanish national champion now wants to concentrate on Rally, and in the spirit of giving back to the sport, also plans to work with young riders in the future.
Cervantes: “It is difficult to try to explain the emotions of the last race. There are happy moments because my career has been fantastic, but sad moments because this is the end of a chapter. I want to thank KTM, because they believed in me, and for giving me the materials so I could do my best.”
Cervantes, who has had several bigger injuries in the last two seasons, said it had been difficult to come back as strong as he had been before and he would now direct his energies to Rally and to possibly training younger riders.
The Spanish rider, known for his passion and dedication to his chosen sport, will be missed in the EnduroGP paddock.
情報提供元 [ KTM ]
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