It’s often said that when the going gets tough, it’s the tough that get going. So when it comes to off-road motorcycle racing they don’t come much tougher than Portugal’s Helder Rodrigues. With a long and successful career in the Enduro World Championship behind him, Helder is now best known as one of the World’s finest rally riders.
Third in last year’s Dakar Rally, Helder’s love for enduro still burns strong. So when the Portuguese motorcycle federation shortlisted him as a possible member of their World Trophy team they didn’t need to ask the friendly Yamaha rider twice. “The ISDE is a fantastic event, and it’s great training for me,” explains Helder who won the 125cc two-stroke class at the 2003 ISDE in Brazil. “I have ridden seven previous six day events before, and collected seven gold medals, but adding to that collection isn’t why I’m here this year.”
“As a rally rider I feel that my navigational skills are very strong now, though I need to find a little more speed in some situations. I’d like to use the event to work on my speed, and of course do as well as I can for the Portuguese team. I have raced in Finland many times, it’s a fantastic place, however this event is very difficult. The rain has made the forest very wet, it is certainly not an easy six days.”
One thing that makes things even harder for Helder is the fact that due to a busy rally schedule he has little time to compete in enduro events. “I’ve raced just two enduros in Portugal this year, and that’s not the perfect preparation for this event. But like I said I love the six days, I’m going to give 100 per cent until the end.”