Alfredo Gomez leads Husaberg’s charge at 2013 Superenduro series opener
It’s an evening of mixed results for the Husaberg Factory Team at the opening round of the 2013 FIM SuperEnduro World Championship in Lodz, Poland.
With the first round of the eagerly awaited series taking place inside the Atlas Arena on Saturday December 8, team leader Joakim Ljunggren, who ended the 2012 Superenduro series third overall, frustratingly failed to get his championship off to a flying start. However, it was Husaberg’s rising extreme enduro star Alfredo Gomez that ultimately delivered the team’s best performance on the night. Claiming a hard fought third place result in the third and last final of the night, the young Spaniard ended his evening an impressive fourth overall.
After delivering some standout results during his debut indoor enduro season in 2012, Gomez arrived to the opening round of the 2013 championship in competitive spirits. Knowing he had the pace to run with the leading riders, the Spaniard did exactly that. Placing fourth in the first final, he improved significantly to secure third overall in the third and last race of the night.
“In the first final I managed to get a good start and quickly worked my way into fourth position,” remarked Gomez. “I matched the same pace as Jonny Walker, who was in third, but I just couldn’t find a way past. Unfortunately, with the start order reversed for the second final I got a bad start. I tried to force my way to the front but crashed. I remounted and began passing riders but towards the end I made a little mistake in the rock garden and crashed again – this time I hurt my finger.”
Although in discomfort during the third of the night’s finals, the Husaberg rider finally delivered the result that he knew he was capable of. After a mid pack start, he quickly worked his way into fourth position and I picking up his pace he closed the gap to David Knight in third position. Benefitting from a last lap fall by Knight, Gomez gladly crossed the finish line in third place to end his evening a strong fourth overall.
“My finger was hurting coming into the final heat race but I just tried to ignore the pain. This time I got a decent start and was able to push hard. With a couple of laps to go I passed David Knight when he crashed in the rock garden and finished in third position. I’m pleased with how the night ended but know I need to work on my corner speed in order to be more competitive for the next round of the series.”
Entering the opening round of the 2013 series with high hopes of improving on his strong results claimed during the 2012 series, Joakim Ljunggren saw a catalogue of bad starts prevent him from performing at his best. Faced with a single lined track the tall Swede was unable to challenge for a podium result.
“I don’t really know why but the race just didn’t go to plan for me,” confirmed a disappointed Ljunggren at the end of the event. “All night I failed to get a decent starts and on a track that was very one lined it was almost impossible to overtake. I had come here hoping to challenge for the podium but with bad starts it just didn’t happen.
“During the morning’s practice sessions I felt a little stiff and uncomfortable on the bike, as I haven’t been able to get as much endurocross training done as what I would have liked, due to other racing commitments. However, we changed some settings before the qualification race and I was able to finish in third place.”
With a strong gate pick for the first of the three finals the Swede was hopeful of a solid performance. But after getting squeezed out entering the first corner the Husaberg rider faced a race-long battle to work his way back up to sixth position.
“For the first final I opted for an inside gate,” continued Joakim. “Unfortunately I didn’t get a good start and was squeezed out coming into the first corner. After that it was hard to fight back through the pack. With the start order reversed for the second final I knew it would be tough to start up front. Coming into the first corner I tried to force a gap but collided with another rider on the first tyre crossing and ended up last. Again I did my best to regroup and eventually finished sixth.”
Determined to make amends for the final race of the night, Ljunggren finally found some clear track in the first corner and was able to race at the front of the pack and recorded his best result of the night with fourth position.
“Coming into the final race of the night I was determined to get the holeshot. It didn’t happen but I managed to find a clear line through the next corner and jumped back up a couple of positions. After that I found some good lines and improved my pace to end the race in fourth. It wasn’t the best start to the championship that I had hoped for but with almost two months to prepare for the next round I’ll work hard to improve on these results.”
Making his first official ride for the Husaberg Factory Team, Italy’s Thomas Oldrati impressed all with his consistent and competitive results. More accustomed to his FE 250, Oldrati opted to contest a two-stroke TE 250 in Poland. Gelling well with his new bike in a sport that he’s not overly accustomed to, the Italian placed sixth, fifth and sixth in the three finals to end his night seventh overall and tied on points with team mate Ljunggren.
“I’m really happy to have completed my first race with Husaberg,” confirmed a pleased Oldrati. “Although endurocross is very new for me I’m satisfied with how I rode and felt I made a lot of progress throughout the night. My goal was to try and finish inside the top five and I was able to do just that with a fifth place result in final two. Overall I tied on points with Joakim for sixth position so I feel that with some more preparations before the next round of the series I can continue to improve.”
Competing in the Junior World Cup race Swede Johan Edlund ended the night in fourth overall, helped by a strong runner-up result in the opening race. Going on to fifth in the second and last final Johan sits fourth in the Junior World Cup series standings, just one-point behind third placed Giacomo Redondi.
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