David KNIGHT (GB - KTM) is targetting a 4th title
As the opening round of the 2012 FIM Enduro World Championship fast approaches, the Enduro 3 class looks set to deliver a titanic duel between some of the established stars of the enduro world.
Tragically however we will not get to see last year’s champion return to defend his crown. Mika AHOLA (SF) who sadly passed on January 15th will be sorely missed among the paddock. However, those that will challenge for the 2012 Enduro 3 title will be proud to do so in the memory of our fallen champion.
Heading the list of riders capable of winning at the GP of Chile is KTM Enduro Factory’s new recruit Christophe NAMBOTIN (F). Second in 2011, the Frenchman has been one of the real threats in the championship for a number of years and now hopes that his move to KTM will finally help his to deliver the coveted title.
However, NAMBOTIN is sure to face his greatest challenge from his new teammate and old adversary, David KNIGHT (GB – KTM). For KNIGHT the 2010 E3 champion, 2011 proved to be a year to forget. Although claiming a win during the GP of Portugal, injury ruled him out for the remainder of the season. Now back to full health and looking fitter than ever, the Manxman will be determined to become champion once more.
Hoping to act as the spoiler in the KTM party, Joakim LJUNGGREN (S – Husaberg) is a rider that must not be counted out. Third in 2011, the Husaberg rider reached the podium seven times during the season dominated by AHOLA and NAMBOTIN. Focused on becoming a title contender, the Swede will enter Chile keen for success and knows that a winning start in South America will be crucial.
Following two difficult seasons, Marko TARKKALA (F – Beta) returned to form during 2011 claiming fourth in Enduro 3. Now with the full support of the Beta factory behind him expect the talented Finn to continue improving.
Placing fifth in 2011, the 2009 Junior Enduro World Champion Oriol MENA (E – Husaberg) will want to improve his position within the senior classes. Enjoying another season with Husaberg, the Spaniard wishes to reward their faith in him with podium results.
Frenchman Sebastien GUILLAUME moves to Gas Gas for 2012 and is looking to put his disappointing 2011 season behind him. Adding into the mix multiple German champion Marcus KEHR (DE - KTM), Rudy Cotton (F – Gas Gas), Jonas Karlsson (SE – KTM) and Jordi FIGUERAS (ES – Gas Gas) ensures that the challenge for a top ten result remains as tight as ever.
Sebastien GUILLAUME (F - Gas Gas)
For those hopeful of making a name for themselves among the top ten Enduro 3 riders comes a long list of class newcomers. Frenchman Benoit FORTUNATO (Gas Gas) moves up to E3 following several successful years in the Junior class aboard a Gas Gas.
Sebastien BOZZO (F – Beta Boano), now fully recovered from his season ending injury is also capable of upsetting the established stars.
One of last year’s most impressive enduro rookies, TM’s Aigar LEOK (EST) switches classes from Enduro 2. For LEOK, finishing sixth overall in 2011 was an impressive result and now with a full winter of preparation behind him, the former top-flight motocross rider may well become the surprise performer of 2012. Also adding in KTM’s new recruit Manuel MONNI (I) and Husaberg’s Christophe ROBERT (CH) is sure to keep the battle for Enduro 3 honors fiercely contested.
The opening round of the 2012 FIM Enduro World Championship begins in Talca, Chile on March 23.
The E3 Champions since 2004
2011: AHOLA (Honda - Finland)
2010: KNIGHT (KTM - Great Britain)
2009: CERVANTES (KTM - Spain)
2008: ARO (KTM – Finland)
2007: CERVANTES (KTM - Spain)
2006: KNIGHT (KTM - Great Britain)
2005: KNIGHT (KTM - Great Britain)
2004: ARO (KTM – Finland)