The last class to take to the start of the Maxxis GP of Chile will be the Enduro Junior category. And with many of the class’ top performers in recent seasons moving ‘up’ into the senior ranks the absence of the likes of 2011 EJ World Champion Jeremy JOLY (F – Yam), Antti HELLSTEN (SF – TM), Romain DUMONTIER (F – HVA) and Benoit FORTUNATO (F – Gas Gas) means that a new wave of young talent will battle it out throughout 2012.
By finishing second last year Mario ROMAN (E – KTM) certainly has momentum on his side. Improving both in terms of his speed and consistency on all terrains, having delivered numerous podium performances the Spaniard will be gunning for glory aboard his KTM. Now aged 21, the Spaniard will likely be unbeatable on the season’s Xtreme Tests thanks to his trials riding background. Despite knee surgery during the autumn, if past performances are anything to go on ROMAN will be a tough rider to beat.
Another title favourite is the former motocross rider Mathias BELLINO (F – Husaberg) who was the revelation of the class during 2011. The official Husaberg competitor learned fast and showed that despite some wayward performances on certain extreme tests he’s more than capable of pulling out all the stops on both motocross and enduro special tests.
The Italian Jonathan MANZI (I – KTM) is also one of the favourites. The 2011 FIM Youth Cup 125cc winner can’t be afraid against his rivals but he will have to be more constant if he really wants to target the title this season. In any case, the KTM Support rider has the talent to win and will lead Italy’s charge in the Enduro Junior class.
Repeater performers – experienced and determined
Of the riders in the Enduro Junior class that competed in the 2011 EJ championship Victor GUERRERO (E – KTM) is one competitor with a lot to prove.
Following two mixed seasons the Spaniard will be hoping to make a real impact on the class third time around. The new KTM Support rider, who’s brother Cristobal GUERRERO (E – KTM) will be on hand to offer both advice and support, is surely a serious title threat.
With a home Grand Prix in Argentina Kevin BENAVIDES (ARG – KTM) will do his best to deliver good results in the Junior class. The Argentinean is targeting a top five result in the championship while also hopeful of challenging for podium positions.
Edoardo D’AMBROSIO (I – KTM), one of Italy’s talented youngsters, will continue his international learning curve and will try to bring his Bordone Ferrari KTM to the podium. Edoardo will be thankful of the support of his mentor and former EWC racer Alex BELOMETTI.
Alexandre QUEYREYRE (F – Yam), Calle SJOO (S – HM Honda), Alex ROCKWELL (GB – Husaberg) and Kalle SVENSSON (S – HM Honda) are already the oldest riders in the class and will to do their best for their future.
Also Josep RALLO (E – Gas Gas), Milan ENGEL (CZ – KTM), Alejandro BOLADO (E – KTM) and Ian BLYTHE (USA – KTM) will be looking for results that will match their ambitions.
This class is truly a pool of talented young guns. Among them is Danny MCCANNEY (GB – Gas Gas). The rider from the Isle of Man, who’s brother will step into the international enduro scene in the FIM Youth Cup 125cc class, showed impressive speed at the final round of the 2011 EWC series. With official Gas Gas factory support for 2012 Danny could be the rider that delivers the biggest surprise.
It is the same for the new recruit of the EEAT, Kevin ROHMER (F – Yam), Husaberg rider Johan EDLUND (S) and the official TM rider Nicolo MORI (I).
Finally, Arnau SOLA (E – Yam), Ot INGLES (E – Yam), Nicolas GARCIA (E – HVA) and Kimon KARAMPELAS (GR – Yam) will first look to improve their speed before challenging the best in the class.
REDONDI or OLIVEIRA for 2012 FIM Youth Cup 125cc title?
The FIM Youth Cup 125cc, which for 2012 welcomes riders aged 16 to 20 years old – is set to enjoy the support of both official teams and privateer riders with nearly 20 competitors entered for the opening rounds of the new Enduro World Championship series.
Giacomo REDONDI (I – HVA) is considered by many to be the rider most likely to succeed Jonathan MANZI for the title, but the young Italian will have a number of riders to beat if he is to secure a second consecutive FIM Youth Cup 125cc title for Italy. The fast Portuguese rider Luis OLIVEIRA (Yam), who placed second in the championship last year, has proved himself to be a tough competitor. Also Chilean Benjamin HERRERA (TM) showed during 2011 that he too has the speed to deliver impressive results. Finally, Jamie MCCANNEY (GB – Husaberg) will be a rider to watch out for, even despite his lack of international enduro experience. So too will Jesper BORJESSON (S – Husaberg), Stefano CAIMI (ARG – Yam) and Davide SORECA (I – Beta Boano), all of which possible title outsiders.
With an average of more than 50 entries per race, the Junior categories of the Enduro World Championship will unquestionable deliver some thrilling racing in 2012, while also delivering fresh talent onto the EWC scene.
While it’s hard to say who the real favourite is to replace 2011 champion Jeremy JOLY the speed and experience that ROMAN, BELLINO, MANZI, GUERRERO, and MCCANNEY have suggest that they will be the riders most likely to battle for podium positions.
The Junior Champions since 2005
2011: JOLY (Honda - France)
2010: SANTOLINO (KTM - Spain)
2009: MENA (Husaberg - Spain)
2008: OLDRATI (KTM – Italy)
2007: LJUNGGREN (Husaberg - Sweden)
2006: LJUNGGREN (Husaberg - Sweden)
2005: GUERRERO (GAS GAS - Spain)
The FIM Youth Cup 125cc winner since 2009
2011: MANZI (KTM - Italy)
2010: ROMAN (KTM - Spain)
2009: DUMONTIER (Yamaha - France)
1. Jérémy Joly
2. Jonathan Manzi
3. Mario Roman