The Going Gets Tough at the GP of Portugal

The BMW Motorrad Motorsport team’s second stop on the ’08 World Enduro Championship tour saw team riders Anders Eriksson, Simo Kirssi, Jeff Goblet and Bert Meyer compete in the GP of Portugal – an event that proved to be anything but easy due to an extremely challenging course, three demanding special tests and heavy rain on day two. With Eriksson having narrowly missed a podium result at the opening round of the series in Sweden, the Portuguese event marked the first international enduro competition in which Eriksson would compete, outside of Sweden, aboard his BMW.

Hopeful of challenging for a podium finish in the Enduro 3 class things didn’t go as planned for Anders on day one as he failed to finish due to a clutch problem. Re-starting day two the experienced Swede was unable to perform at his best in the extremely wet and difficult conditions and placed ninth in the highly competitive E3 class. Despite being forced to retire on day one, Anders finished the harder second day’s competition without problems.

In the Enduro 2 class BMW Motorrad Motorsport rider Simo Kirssi overcame his lack of World Enduro Championship experience to claim a solid top 10 result on day two having enjoyed the slippery and difficult conditions. Competing in only his second ever WEC event Simo was disappointingly unable to finish day one as on the penultimate special test he badly damaged his front wheel, which resulted in his retirement. On day two Kirssi finished comfortably inside the top 10 having ridden consistently all day. Finishing as high as fourth in class, and only twice placing outside the top 10 of the E2 class during the day’s nine special tests, Kirssi finished just 11 seconds behind the E2 class’s sixth placed rider.

For Kirssi’s E2 class team-mate Jeff Goblet the GP of Portugal proved to be a difficult one with the Belgian finishing in 12th on day one and 13th on day two. Performing at his best on the technical extreme test on day one, on day two Goblet suffered bad luck as his chain twice came off in the extreme test while he struggled to perform at his best in the muddy motocross test. In the Enduro Junior class Bert Meyer finished on day one as tenth but placed ninth on day two.

 

Simo Kirssi – Enduro 2 class: “The first day ended disappointingly for me. Things had been going ok but in the final motocross test I landed from one of the many drop-off jumps and I heard a strange metallic sound. I was able to continue but I had damaged many of the spokes in my front wheel, which meant that I had to retire from the day. Day two was much better – I really enjoyed the conditions although on the motocross test it was really, really muddy. I learned a lot from the race. It was my first world championship race in normal conditions, and it was every bit as difficult as I expected it to be.”

Jeff Goblet – Enduro 2 class: “I had some really good times in the extreme and enduro tests on day one but I really struggled in the muddy conditions on day two. With this season being my first on a four-stroke I knew it would take me some time to adjust to competing in muddy conditions. In the enduro test, which was dry, I was able to put in some good test times. But in the motocross and extreme test I struggled. Also, my chain came off twice in the extreme test. I need more time on the bike in these types of conditions, and then I am sure my results will improve.”

Anders Eriksson – Enduro 3 class: “Not being able to finish the first day was a big disappointment, but I came into this season knowing that these things can happen. We learn more and more every day we spend time on the bike. I had a problem with the clutch, which was very strange. I didn’t ride that well, but I’m happy that I was able to finish the second day. Day two was extremely tough and my bike ran perfectly all day, which was good. It was the first time that I’d ridden the bike in such muddy conditions and although I wasn’t overly happy with my riding the bike performed really well.”

Wolfgang Fischer – BMW Motorrad Motorsport Team manager: “It was good to see all riders finish on day two, especially Simo as this was his first real world championship enduro race. Finishing seventh in the Enduro 2 class is very encouraging. Day one was a little disappointing as Anders Eriksson had a problem with his clutch. We’re not 100 per cent sure why he had the problem that he did but he finished day two without any troubles at all. The conditions were about as difficult as they get in world championship competition. It’s the first real mud race that the team has faced this year and despite the few problems on day one the fact that all riders completed the hardest day – day two, without problems was great.”

2008 World Enduro Championship
Grand Prix of Portugal – Day 1

Enduro 2 class

1. Johnny Aubert (Yamaha) 49:13.71; 2. Juha Salminen (KTM) 49:14.30; 3. Joakim Ljunggren (Husaberg) 51:18.58; 4. Alessandro Belometti (KTM) 51:20.26; 5. Fabio Mossini (Honda) 51:51.68; 6. Nicolas Paganon (Aprilia) 52:0.71; 7. Fabrizio Dini (Yamaha) 52:08.31; 8. Rodrig Thain (TM) 52:12.27; 9. Jari Mattila (Honda) 52:13.81; 10. Nicolas Deparrois (Gas Gas) 52:36.47; 11. Alessandro Zanni (Honda) 52:48.87; 12. Jean Francois Goblet (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) 53:14.12; 13. Valtteri Salonen (Husaberg) 53:16.09; 14. Andrea Belotti (KTM) 53:42.12; 15. Helder Rodrigues (Honda) 53:50.42; 16. Rudy Cotton (Honda) 55:34.78; 17. Felipe Zanol (Yamaha) 57:25.53; 18. Mario Patrao (Suzuki) 58:00.25

Enduro 3 class

1. Samuli Aro (KTM) 50:55.42; 2. Marko Tarkkala (KTM) 51:06.96; 3. Marcus Kehr (KTM) 51:19.94; 4. Christophe Nambotin (Gas Gas) 51:25.46; 5. Fabien Planet (KTM) 51:28.46; 6. Sebastien Guillaume (Husqvarna) 51:40.74; 7. Bjorne Carlsson (Husaberg) 51:52.62; 8. Stefan Merriman (Aprilia) 52:06.37; 9. Xavier Galindo (KTM) 52:13.72; 10. Antoine Letellier (Aprilia) 52:16.88; 11. Alessandro Botturi (Honda) 52:23.42; 12. Alessio Paoli (Beta) 53:46.90; 13. Juan Pedrero (Yamaha) 53:58.21; 14. Jordi Figueras (KTM) 54:15.07; 15. Stefan Svitko (KTM) 54:41.01; 16. Vita Kuklik (KTM) 55:17.79; 17. Euan McConnell (TM) 55:38.28; 18. Gordon Clarke (TM) 58:52.89

Enduro Junior class

1. Marc Bourgeois (Husqvarna) 51:28.17; 2. Oriol Mena 52:33.30; 3. Oscar Balletti (Honda) 53:12.63; 4. Carlos Andreu (KTM) 53:29.69; 5. Simon Wakely (Husqvarna) 53:44.57; 6. Gregory Evans (KTM) 54:24.52; 7. Thomas Oldrati (KTM) 51:25.65; 8. Lorenzo Santolino (KTM) 53:27.34; 9. Lucas Puerta (Yamaha) 54:24.09; 10. Bert Mayer (BMW) 55:52.34; 11.Guillem Pares (Yamaha) 56:52.32; 12. Ashley Wood (Honda) 58:27.00; 13. Roman Dumontier (Husqvarna) 1.03:07.95; 14. Roger Sanllehi (Honda) 1.05:40.14; 15. Marc Sola (KTM) 1.06:48.98; 16. Mark Risse (Gas Gas) 1.07:52.66; 17. Concelo Bandeira (Suzuki) 1.14:53.80

2008 World Enduro Championship
Grand Prix of Portugal – Day 2

Enduro 2 class

1. Juha Salminen (KTM) 54:12.03; 2. Johnny Aubert (Yamaha) 54:43.01; 3. Valtteri Salonen (Husaberg) 56:09.00; 4. Alessandro Belometti (KTM) 56:09.27; 5. Nicolas Paganon (Aprilia) 56:27.15; 6. Fabrizio Dini (Yamaha) 57:09.97; 7. Simo Kirssi (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) 57:20.95; 8. Jari Mattila (Honda) 58:05.47; 9. Fabio Mossini (Honda) 58:32.42; 10. Rodrig Thain (TM) 58:56.35; 11. Aaron Bernadez (Husqvarna) 59:14.03; 12. Freddy Blanc (Suzuki) 59:45.06; 13. Jean Francois Goblet (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) 1.00:38.36; 14. Andrea Belotti (Honda) 1.01:08.61; 15. Nicolas Deparrois (Gas Gas) 1.01:12.35; 16. Filipe Zanol (Yamaha) 1.02:00.05

Enduro 3 class

1. Christophe Nambotin (Gas Gas) 55:17.58; 2. Samuli Aro (KTM) 55:40.23; 3. Marcus Kehr (KTM) 55:43.86; 4. Stefan Merriman (Aprilia) 55:49.05; 5. Marko Tarkkala (KTM) 56:11.82; 6. Fabien Planet (KTM) 56:31.41; 7. Bjorne Carlsson (Husaberg) 56:43.32; 8. Sebastien Guillaume (Husqvarna) 57:20.92; 9. Anders Eriksson (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) 57:25.05; 10. Xavier Galindo (KTM) 58:21.19; 11. Antoine Letellier (Aprilia) 58:38.62; 12. Euan McConnell (TM) 1.00:06.88; 13. Vita Kuklik (KTM) 1.00:16.13; 14. Stefan Svitko (KTM) 1.00:03.07; 15. Juan Pedrero (Yamaha) 1.01:42.55; 16; Jordi Figueras (KTM) 1.03:08.23

Enduro Junior class

1. Tomas Oldrati (KTM) 55:.29; 2. Marc Bourgeois (Husqvarna) 56:28.39; 3. Anti Hellsten (Husqvarna) 59:32.84; 4. Victor Guerrero (KTM) 59:54.91; 5. Lucas Puerta (Yamaha) 1.00:40.82; 6. Simon Wakely (Husqvarna) 1.00:43.01; 7. Lorenzo Santolino (KTM) 1.00:59.55; 8. Martin Kuklik (KTM) 1.03:37.35; 9. Bert Mayer (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) 1.03:32.43; 10. Adrian Metge (Husqvarna) 1.05:08.68; 11. Ollie Moyce (Yamaha) 1.07:13.23; Guillem Pares (Yamaha) 1.07:33.24