Seven-time World Enduro Champion Anders Eriksson got the BMW Motorrad Motorsport teamâ€™s participation in the â€™08 WEC series off to an extremely promising start at the GP of Sweden as the newly signed team rider claimed two fourth place finishes in the competitive Enduro 3 class. Painstakingly close to finishing on the podium on day two having held the runner-up position for much of the day, Eriksson eventually matched his day one result of fourth after falling during the very last special test of the event. Despite his obvious frustration BMW nevertheless showed that they are ready to challenge for podium positions in what is their first full season in the WEC.
Entering four riders into three classes in Sweden â€“ Finn Simo Kirssi and Belgian Jeff Goblet in Enduro 2, Swede Anders Eriksson in Enduro 3 and German Bert Meyer in Enduro Junior, the opening round of the â€™08 WEC series was an important event for the BMW Motorrad Motorsport team for several reasons. Having participated in selected rounds of the â€™07 series to further the development of the new 450cc sports enduro bike, in Sweden the emphasis was on competition. With seven-time world champion Anders Eriksson leading the teamâ€™s assault, the first round of the eight-event championship ended encouragingly with the teamâ€™s enduro newcomer Simo Kirssi placing eighth on day two.
But it was Eriksson, competing aboard a 480cc machine in the Enduro 3 class, that showed that BMW are more than ready to start challenging for podium results this season. Hopeful of a top three result at his home round of the world championship, Anders performed well on day one but was unable to match the pace of the three riders that eventually finished ahead of him. On day two it was a very different story. Fifth on the opening motocross test Eriksson then upped his pace and placed second in class on the long and technical enduro test. Backing that up with another impressive time on the second enduro test, Anders held the runner-up position as the day neared its close. On the final test of the event Anders saw his good work undone as a fall cost him eight seconds and with it his hopes of claiming BMWâ€™s first WEC podium result were ended.
For Enduro 2 class riders Simo Kirssi and Jeff Goblet the GP of Sweden proved to be a challenging one. On day one Kirssiâ€™s bike failed to start, but with a new battery fitted the enduro newcomer gained valuable experience ahead of day two. Riding a four-stroke in winter conditions for the first time Goblet placed 15th having seen his day spoiled by too many crashes. On day two Kirssi overcame a slow start to finish inside the top 10 on all but two special tests in the E2 class. Performing at his best on the enduro test the Finn claimed a well-deserved top 10 points scoring result with eighth in class. Fast, but making a few too many mistakes as he did on day one, Goblet finished 17th but having enjoyed himself in Sweden.
In the Enduro Junior class Bert Meyer just missed out on scoring world championship points on day one finishing 21st out of 36 finishers but placed 17th on day two. Part of the reason Meyer failed to break into the top 20 of the EJ class on day one was because he unselfishly stopped to help an injured rider who had crashed ahead of him.
Simo Kirssi â€“ Enduro 2 class: â€œI really enjoyed my first World Enduro Championship race. We had some problems on day one as my bike didnâ€™t start in the morning but it was just a simple problem, which we fixed easily. Problems like that can happen in motorsport. I knew that I wouldnâ€™t be able to score any points on day one, because I had to fit the new battery, but I rode anyway for most of the day to get some experience. I was pretty pleased with the way it went.â€
â€œThe second day went well. My bike was really good and I finished eighth, which for my first WEC race Iâ€™m pleased with. I made some mistakes, like most riders did, I got stuck behind some riders on a few tests, but yeah it was ok. The enduro test was difficult. It looked like it would be fast but it got really rough. I learned a lot about enduro from the weekend so lets see how things go in Portugal and Spain now.â€
Jeff Goblet â€“ Enduro 2 class: â€œItâ€™s been a good weekend for me in terms of what Iâ€™ve learned about racing a four-stroke in the snow, but not great in terms of my results. My main problem was that I couldnâ€™t stop my eyes from watering, which meant that I couldnâ€™t see properly. It was a really strange problem. I was riding quite well but I made too many crashes, which spoiled my results. I know that my speed in the tests wasnâ€™t too bad in many sections but I always had some small mistakes, which cost me a lot of time. If I can remove the mistakes I know I can get much better results because my bike is really good.â€
Anders Eriksson â€“ Enduro 3 class: â€œThe first day was difficult because at the start I had to do some work on my bike. A few people thought Iâ€™d received outside assistance, which I hadnâ€™t. There was talk that I might get disqualified, which effected my concentration a little. As things turned out I had done nothing wrong and I finished fourth, which I was quite pleased with. I wanted to be closer to the podium but it was a good start to the season.
â€œDay two didnâ€™t start that well as I was fifth on the first test, but things got better. Coming into the last test I was second in class, but then I fell on the last test and dropped to fourth. I canâ€™t tell you how disappointed I am. Not just because I made a stupid mistake, crashed and wasted a great result but because I should have given BMW their first WEC podium result.â€
Wolfgang Fischer â€“ BMW Motorrad Motorsport Team Manager: â€œItâ€™s been a good weekend because BMW showed that we are able to fight for podium positions. Anders was second going into the final test on day two but crashed and dropped to fourth, which was disappointing. Nevertheless it shows that both he and the bike are performing well. Also Simo, Jeff and Bert learned a lot. It was Simoâ€™s first ever WEC race, and only his second enduro, and he put in some strong test times. We are all looking forward to the next two rounds of the championship so that we can continue to move things forward in the right direction.â€
Results Grand Prix of Sweden â€“ Day 1
Enduro 2 class
1. Joakim Ljunggren (Husaberg) 1.01:10.08; 2. Jonny Aubert (Yamaha) 1.01:38.63; 3. Juha Salminen (KTM) 1.01:50.26; 4. Valtteri Salonen (Husaberg) 1.01:55.44; 5. Antoine Meo (Husqvarna) 1.01:56.22; 6. Rodrig Thain (TM) 1.04:47.20; 7. Alessandro Belometti (KTM) 1.04:47.20; 8. Fritz Andersson (KTM) 1.05:19.95; 9. Fabrizio Dini (Yamaha) 1.06:00.97; 10. Daniel Persson (Husaberg) 1.06:04.94; 11. Alessandro Zanni (Honda) 1.06:32.62; 12. Nicolas Deparrois (Gas Gas) 1.06:33.02; 13. Torbjorn Back (Honda) 1.06:46.90; 14. Olle Lothman (KTM) 1.06:49.91; 15. Jean Francois Goblet (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) 1.06:56.87; 16. Fabio Mossini (HM-Honda) 1.07:35.47; 17. Freddy Blanc (Suzuki) 1.07:53.73; 18. Rudy Cotton (HM-Honda) 1.07:58.68; 19. Aaron Bernandez (Husqvarna) 1.08:08.018; 20. Antti Lehtonen (KTM) 1.08:15.06
Enduro 3 class
1. Samuli Aro (KTM) 1.01:23.92; 2. Marko Tarkkala (KTM) 1.01:33.85; 3. Bjorne Carlsson (Husaberg) 1.02:11.94; 4. Anders Eriksson (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) 01.03:05.16; 5. Sebastien Guillaume (Husqvarna) 1.04:00.30; 6. Christophe Nambotin (Gas Gas) 1.04:57.97; 7. Marcus Kehr (KTM) 1.05:40.31; 8. Alessandro Botturi (Honda) 1.06:36.16; 9. Stefan Svitko (KTM) 1.06:52.58; 10. Daniel Johansson (Gas Gas) 1.06:59.24; 11. Xavier Galindo (KTM) 1.07:04.28; 12. Patrik Stahl (Husqvarna) 1.07:31.78; 13. Stefan Merriman (Aprilia) 1.08:36.15; 14. Ervin Plekkenpol (Honda); 15, Euan McConnell (TM) 1.09:08.54; 16. Jordi Figueras (KTM) 01.09:12.67; 17. Vita Kuklik (KTM) 01.09:51.65; 18. Juraj Dozsa (GasGas) 1.10:36.47; 19. Juan Pedrero (Yamaha) 01.11:50.13
Enduro Junior class
1. Roni Nikander (KTM) 1.03:26.23; 2. Marc Bourgeois (Husqvarna) 1.04:07.43; 3. Oskari Kantonen (KTM) 1.04:23.67; 4. Anti Hellsten (Husqvarna) 1.04:24.14; 5. Thomas Oldrati (KTM) 1.04:41.49; 6. Olli Turma (KTM) 1.05:13.57; 7. Jari Pulkkinen (Honda) 01.05:35.96; 8. Oriol Mena (KTM) 01.05:39.85; 9. Ricard Wressel (Aprilia) 01.05:40.74; 10. Jens Westerlund (Honda) 1.06:10.81; 11. Robert Kvarnstrom (TM) 1.06:43.90; 12. Victor Guerrero (KTM) 01.07:08.27; 13. Michal Szuster (Yamaha) 01.07:11.84; 14. Oscar Balletti (Honda) 1.07:41.36; 15. Tomas Jansson (KTM) 01.06:11.37; 16. John Christian Seljord (Honda) 1.08:17.48; 17. Martin Sundin (Husaberg) 1.08:25.78; 18. Miko Mellin (KTM) 1.08:30.50; 19. Fredrik Berg (KTM) 1.08:33.01; 20. Kai Estola (KTM) 1.08:36.13; 21. Bert Meyer (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) 1.08:59.07
Results Grand Prix of Sweden â€“ Day 2
Enduro 2 class
1. Juha Salminen (KTM) 49:34.02; 2. Joakim Ljunggren (KTM) 49:55.10; 3. Johnny Aubert (Yamaha) 50:04.54; 4. Valtteri Salonen (Husaberg) 50:15.31; 5. Jari Mattila (Honda) 50:18.90; 6. Antoine Meo (Husqvarna) 50:53.51; 7. Alessandro Belometti (KTM) 51:57.28; 8. Simo Kirssi (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) 52:10.95; 9. Rodrig Thain (TM) 52:23.23; 10. Fritz Andersson (KTM) 52:29.92; 11. Daniel Persson (Husaberg) 53:38.44; 12. Fabrizio Dini (Yamaha) 53.:46.07; 13. Alessandro Zanni (Honda) 53:55.00; 14. Nicolas Deparrois (Gas Gas) 54:15.89; 15. Torbjorn Back (Honda) 54:40.71; 16. Ollie Lothman (KTM) 51:46.31; 17. Jean Francois Goblet (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) 54:59.19; 18. Freddy Blanc (Suzuki) 55:26.38; 19. Antti Lehtonen (KTM) 57:13.11; 20. Sebastian Adielsson (Beta) 57:26.08
Enduro 3 class
1. Samuli Aro (KTM) 50:01.17; 2. Marko Tarkkala (KTM) 50:38.54; 3. Bjorne Carlsson (Husaberg) 50.50:95; 4. Anders Eriksson (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) 50:54.89; 5. Sebastien Guillaume (Husqvarna) 51:57.01; 6. Christophe Nambotin (Gas Gas) 52:18.32; 7. Alessandro Botturi (Honda) 52:42.08; 8. Marcus Kehr (KTM) 53:10.17; 9. Euan McConnell (TM) 53:38.56; 10. Xavier Galindo (KTM) 54:15.38; 11. Stefan Svitko (KTM) 54:25.28; 12. Patrik Stahl (Husqvarna) 54:38.25; 13. Stefan Merriman (Aprilia) 55:34.78; 14. Daniel Johansson (Gas Gas) 56:29.25; 15. Ervin Plekkenpol (Honda) 56:33.79; 16. Juraj Dozsa (Gas Gas) 58:02.38; 17. Jordi Figueras (KTM) 1.03:4.43
Enduro Junior class
1. Roni Nikander (KTM) 51:18.13; 2. Thomas Oldrati (KTM) 51:53.03; 3. Marc Bourgeois (Husqvarna) 51:33.06; 4. Oskari Kantonen (KTM) 52:13.69; 5. Anti Hellsten (Husqvarna) 53:07.40; 6.Michal Szuster (Yamaha) 53:16.41; 7. Oriol Mena (KTM) 53:24.97; 8. Oscar Balletti (Honda) 53:54.40; 9. Mirko Gritti (Beta) 54:05.10; 10. Tomas Jansson (KTM) 54:09.61; 11.Olli Turma (KTM) 54:16.89; 12. Victor Guerrero (KTM) 54:24.53; 13. John Christian Seljord (Honda) 54:48.32; 14. Robert Kvarnstrom (TM) 54:42.78; 15. Kristoffer Jonsson (Gas Gas) 55.01.33; 16. Fredrik Berg (KTM) 55:16.79; 17. Bert Mayer (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) 55:35.35; 18. Carl Svensson (KTM) 56:05.22; 19. Martin Sundin (Husaberg) 56:27.86; 20.Carl Sjoo (KTM)