The following is a World Enduro update from KTM:
The six riders of KTM's Enduro Factory Team Farioli squad, including David Knight, jet off to Canada and New York State in the USA for rounds five and six of the '06 FIM World Enduro Championship during mid-July where the team is looking to strengthen its position at the top of the World Enduro Championship. With the Canadian and U.S. events the first ever WEC races to take place outside of Europe, they also mark the passing of the halfway point of the '06 championship. With four rounds gone and with four remaining things are looking good for KTM's three reigning World Enduro Champions Ivan Cervantes, Samuli Aro and David Knight, as they each currently lead their respective E1, E2 and E3 World Championship classes.
In the Enduro 1 class KTM's reigning World Champion Ivan Cervantes has opened up a sizeable 29-point lead ahead of Italian Simone Albergoni with his KTM teammate Alessandro Belometti third. Having topped the E1 class on six of the eight days held so far this year, Ivan has continued to show exactly why he topped the E1 World Championship in '05. With his confidence at an all time high, Ivan is just one of the KTM factory riders looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead in Canada and the U.S.
For Alessandro Belometti the two North American events are also extremely important. The fastest rider in the E1 class at the fourth round of the WEC Series held in Italy, Belometti placed in a lowly 15th on day one when he bent his rear sprocket while leading the E1 class. The former motocross racer hopes to use both the Canadian and U.S. GPs to claw back lost championship points before the series returns to Europe at the beginning of September.
Putting in his best performance of '06 in Italy by winning the Enduro 2 class on both days Finn Samuli Aro is now back where he started the season - at the front of the Enduro 2 World Championship. With winning rides on four of the eight days held so far this season, Samuli is currently 11 points clear of his nearest rival Australian Stefan Merriman. Confident that during rounds five and six he will be able to extend his class lead further Aro knows that wining in both Canada and the U.S. will be anything but easy. With no rider having any home or team advantage the Canadian and U.S. events will play a hugely important role in deciding the '06 Enduro 2 World Championship.
Aro hopes that his trip to North America will see him edge further ahead in the Enduro 2 championship race KTM's second E2 class rider Fabien Planet will be looking to claim his first WEC podium of the season. Having been unable to reproduce the sort of form that saw him challenge both Aro and Merriman for the '05 E2 world championship, Planet hopes that a change of scenery will bring with it a change in his WEC results.
With a massive 48-point advantage at the top of the Enduro 3 class David Knight is planning on remaining as the only unbeaten rider in the '06 World Enduro Championship. Having claimed eight day wins from the four events that have already passed Knight is set on continuing his winning ways and hopes to show the Canadian and U.S. WEC spectators exactly why he is currently the world's fastest enduro rider.
In contrast, Knight's factory KTM teammate Marko Tarkkala will be using the Canadian and U.S. events to regain lost points after failing to finish the fourth round of the series in Italy. Dropping from the runner-up spot in the championship to fourth in the E3 points standings as a result of crashing out of the Italian GP Marko will be hoping to keep the pressure up on Knight and in doing so return to second in the E3 Championship.
Of all the KTM factory team competitors traveling to North America, reigning Enduro 3 World Champion David Knight is the rider best known in Canada and the U.S. Winner of last year's Las Vegas EnduroCross and Red Bull Last Man Standing events, “Knighter” has already shown spectators in the States just how fast European WEC riders are. At both rounds five and six Knight will be hoping to extend his unbeaten run of E3-class wins in '06.
Knight says he is looking forward to racing in North America. "Yes, very much,” he said. “We have had some great events in Europe during the last few years but they are always in the same countries - countries that love enduro. It will be good for all the riders to compete in a completely new country. I have raced in three different events in the U.S. and they have all been great fun. I know that there is a lot of support for the WEC in North America, so I am sure the races will be every bit as good as we have in Europe."
For more information on the U.S. round of the WEC in Hancock, New York, July 22-23, visit www.usgpenduro.com