Enduro

Italy doubles up, Merriman makes it four

Author: Mark Fattore

Posted:

While a rampant Italy re-claimed its title as the world's pre-eminent nation at the Maxxis International Six Days' Enduro (ISDE) in Slovakia from September 13-18, Australian ace Stefan Merriman celebrated a fourth successive class win.
Brit David Knight was the victor in the E3 class. Photo: Dario Agrati
The 80th running of the prestigious teams' event was a torturous affair for the 400-odd competitors, exacerbated by persistent rain in the latter stages and extremely tight scheduling which forced riders to maintain a furious pace just to complete the trails on time. While that proved to be an overwhelming task for many of the club-level riders, nine of the 10 Australian Trophy riders completed the 1396km odyssey, which concluded with eight laps of a saturated 1.5km motocross circuit on day six. The final hitout was a comparative breeze to what came before, which was where Italy did enough bullocking work to guarantee that it would win the World Trophy-Junior World Trophy double for the third time since 1985. In the World Trophy (WT), Italy (Alessandro Botturi, Alessandro Belometti, Simone Albergoni, Alessandro Zanni, Alssio Paoli and Guiliano Falgari) defeated defending champion Finland by just over a minute, with Sweden a distant third. With the exception of Falgari, all of Italy riders finished in the top five of their respective classes, so it was no surprise when it hoisted the WT for the 13th time at the presentation ceremony. Only Great Britain (16 wins) and the former Czechoslovakia (15) have more wins in the WT.
Australian veteran Brad Williscroft took 15th overall in E3. Photo: Dario Agrati
Meanwhile, Australia (Merriman, Damian Smith, Jake Stapleton, Anthony Roberts, Jehi Willis and Brad Williscroft) finished an excellent fifth, benefiting from the heralded French outfit striking trouble on the final two days. Great Britain was nine minutes ahead in fourth. In the JWT, Australia (Blake Hore, Adam Lees, Darren Lloyd and Shannon Lewry) was seventh after being overtaken by Slovakia and the Czech Republic on day six. Up front, Italy accounted for France to win by over seven minutes, followed by Finland and Sweden. It was Italy fifth's win in 21 years of JWT competition, while Australia has also emerged victorious ‰ÛÒ in 1995. Lewry (Husaberg FE550) was the only Australian Trophy rider who didn't complete the ISDE after striking late turmoil. It was a disappointing end for the 22-year-old debutante, who sat in a solid 18th in the E3 (500cc 2T vs. 650cc 4T) standings after day five ‰ÛÒ just one spot behind Williscroft (KTM 525EXC). The latter improved two positions himself on day six, and finished 15th overall ‰ÛÒ a silver medal for the 36-year-old, who finished within 40 percent of the E3 class winner David Knight (KTM). Knight was indomitable throughout the ISDE, and was the only rider to claim class honours every day. That not only saw him win the E3 battle by nearly five minutes over Gas Gas-backed Sebastien Guillaume, but he also prevailed over Merriman in the unofficial ‰ÛÒ but heavily scrutinised - scratch (overall) fight. That meant little to four-time world champion Merriman (Yamaha WR450F), who was resolute in winning the E2 (250cc 2T. vs. 450cc 4T) class over great rival Samuli Aro (KTM) ‰ÛÒ his fourth successive victory at the ISDE. "I'm really pleased to have won the Enduro 2 class again - it's been quite a tough week so to have won makes it all that much better," said Merriman. "I felt that I rode well during the week, didn't make too many mistakes, and enjoyed the event. All in all the whole week went well, apart from the wet day on day five, and I managed to win the E2 class on the first four days, which I'm really pleased about and meant that I had a bit of breathing space between myself and the other riders in the class as the event neared its end. "It was difficult to push hard on some days because the special tests were a little wet in the mornings, but it was the same for everyone I guess. I caught a lot of slower riders on the wet special tests on day five, but that's one thing you have to deal with in the six days. "I also made a few mistakes and fell a couple of times, which messed my result up for that day." In the final motocross moto, Merriman was fifth - just in front of Roberts (Husqvarna WR250) - after being swamped at the start. However, with a two-minute lead over Aro, he could afford to maintain a cautious approach. "I got blocked by (Paul) Edmondson off the start and had nowhere to go," said Merriman. "It wasn't worth the risk. I had a horrible time in the final moto trying to pass getting showered in muddy rocks. Now I am relieved it is finally over and I have won the class." Elsewhere in the E2 class, three other Aussies scored gold medals for finishing within 10 per cent of Merriman's final time: Stapleton (TM EN250), Roberts and Willis (KTM 250EXC). Stapleton, who has been a revelation in the all-new junior class in this year's world enduro title, was a superb 10th, ahead of Roberts (17th), Willis (26th), Hore (WR450F, 36th), Lloyd (EN250, 84th) and Motorcycling Australia club rider Derek Lewington (KTM, 102nd). Lloyd was 45th after day four, but a wretched day five saw him drop 40 spots in one fell swoop. In E1 (125cc 2T vs. 250cc 4T), Lewington's two club buddies, Riccardo Braico (Yamaha) and Morgan Fitzgerald (Yamaha), lasted only last three days before retiring. Smith (WR250F) was the only Trophy rider in that category, and finished with a bang ‰ÛÒ a swashbuckling third in the motocross test. The final flurry provided some restoration after bike problems on days three and four. The nadir was on day three when his bike failed to start in the morning, and he lost two minutes before a wheel had been turned in anger. Smith eventually finished in 64th position.
DAY 6 REUSULTS:

Enduro 1
1. Pedro TRAGTER - NED - Suzuki - WT - 14:31,68
2. Rikard LARSSON - SWE - TM - WT - +0:14,47
3. Damian SMITH - AUS - Yamaha - WT - +0:24,48
4. Petteri SILVAN - FIN - KTM - WT - +0:19,01
5. Niklas GUSTAVSSON - SWE - KTM - WT - +0:21,24
6. Alessandro BELOMETTI - ITA - KTM - WT - +0:22,77
7. Bartosz OBLUCKI - POL - Yamaha - WT - +0:34,97
8. Pedro ENES - POR - KTM - WT - +0:36,09
9. Eero REMES - FIN - Honda - JT - +0:37,95
10. Simone ALBERGONI - ITA - Honda - WT - +0:39,19

Enduro 2
1. Samuli ARO - FIN - KTM - WT - 14:00,70
2. Kurt CASELLI - USA - KTM - WT - +0:11,82
3. Paul EDMONDSON - GBR - Honda - WT - +0:23,71
4. Valtteri SALONEN - FIN - Honda - JT - +0:24,54
5. Stefan MERRIMAN - AUS - Yamaha - WT - +0:27,00
6. Anthony ROBERTS - AUS - TM - WT - +0:33,55
7. Jaroslav KATRINAK - SLO - KTM - WT - +0:34,13
8. Andreas TORESSON - SWE - Suzuki - WT - +0:36,41
9. Jordan CURVALLE - FRA - Kawasaki WT - +0:41,16
10. Paulo GONÌàALVES - POR - Honda - WT - +0:42,08

11. Jehi Willis - AUS - KTM - +42.48
31. Darren Lloyd - AUS - TM - +1:08.69
55. Blake Hore - AUS - Yamaha - +1:38.97
61. Derek Lewington - AUS - KTM - +1:50.43

Enduro 3
1. David KNIGHT - GBR - KTM - WT - 14:16,35
2. Thierry KLUTZ - BEL - Gas Gas - WT - +0:14,16
3. Alessandro ZANNI - ITA - Honda - WT - +0:18,66
4. VÌ_ta KUKLÌ

Share Article:

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Tumblr
Pinterest
Reddit
Email
Print

More News: Latest Headlines

More News: Latest Headlines

Motocross

Factory Honda In Winning Early Season Form At Sunshine State Championships

Dirt Track

2024 NSW Dirt Track Season Lifts Off At Somersby Super TT Meeting

Supercross

World Champion Max Anstie Secures 2024 East Coast Supercross Championship Red Plate

Motocross

Jed Beaton Tops The Podium At 2024 New Zealand Motocross Championships Round Two

Supercross

Cooper Webb And Haiden Deegan Win Drama-Filled Arlington Supercross

EnduroCross

Billy Bolt's FIM SuperEnduro Win Streak Continues In Bulgaria

Supercross

Shoulder Injury Rules Evan Ferry Out Of Arlington Supercross

Supercross

Christian Craig To Sit Out Arlington Supercross

MXGP

Mattia Guadagnini Joins The Early Season Injury List

Motocross

Jake Cannon Signs With Factory Honda

MXGP

Liam Everts To Miss MXGP Season Opener

Motocross

Tim Gajser – Motivated for 2024

What's On This Week

AMA GNCC - R2
Wild Boar, Palatka, FL
Monday, March 4th, 2024
AMA Supercross Round 8
Daytona International Speedway -Daytona Beach, FL
Saturday, March 2nd, 2024
FIM SuperEnduro World Championship - R7
GP UK, Newcastle
Saturday, March 2nd, 2024

Featured:

First Look At The All New 2024 Beta 450RX

2024 Yamaha YZ250F Review

Enhance Your Bike’s Protection With Force Accessories Custom Clutch Cover

2023 Sherco 300 SE Factory Ride Review

Michelin StarCross 6 – Inspected

Drink Wirelessly with SoleStream

What's On This Week

AMA GNCC - R2
Wild Boar, Palatka, FL
Monday, March 4th, 2024
AMA Supercross Round 8
Daytona International Speedway -Daytona Beach, FL
Saturday, March 2nd, 2024
FIM SuperEnduro World Championship - R7
GP UK, Newcastle
Saturday, March 2nd, 2024