Merriman, Salminen and Aro again the WEC winners
Australian Stefan Merriman and Finns Juha Salminen and Samuli Aro were the three riders that dominated the GP of Slovakia winning their respective Enduro 1, Enduro 2 and Enduro 3 classes with ease. With the sixth round of the ’04 series proving to be a challenging one, the demanding Slovakian countryside coupled with two motocross tests and one cross-country test meant that all riders were glad to see the finish of what was both a physically and mentally tiring race. Thankfully, despite heavy rain during the Friday before the race, both days of the competition remained dry.
Finishing comfortably ahead of his nearest E1 class mates, Stefan Merriman further expended his E1 world championship lead in Slovakia and now looks set to claim his fourth WEC title when the series restarts in early October. Merriman also proved to be the fastest overall rider on both days and topped the Scratch from Juha Salminen and Samuli Aro on both day one and day two.
Dominated by four-stroke riders, the E1 class saw Italian Simone Albergoni aboard his HM Honda Zanardo machine claim the runner-up spot on both days while Merriman’s team-mate Bartosz Oblucki claimed third both times out in what was the closest the Polish rider will get to a home GP this season. Portugal’s Helder Rodrigues looked like putting his disappointing season behind him in Slovakia by claiming fourth in the E1 class on day one but the KTM rider dropped to seventh on day two. Husqvarna’s Roberto Bazzurri claimed the first of the non podium results in fourth on day two.
In the Enduro 2 class Finn Juha Salminen claimed two comfortable day wins, once again dominating with ease. Followed home by Britain’s Paul Edmondson on day one, just one second covered the second, third and fourth place E2 positions at the end of the opening day. Finishing behind Edmondson was Italian Alessandro Botturi with Arnau Vilanova claiming fourth. On day two no rider was again able to challenge Salminen while Botturi claimed the runner-up spot with Vilanova third and Edmondson fourth.
Making it two class wins for the KTM Racing team, Samuli Aro topped the E3 class ahead of D3-Racing rider David knight on both days while the third place spot was shared by French rider Sebastien Guillaume and Spaniard Ivan Cervantes. By placing third on day one Guillaume became the first two-stroke rider to claim a podium finish in the E3 class this year. As at seemingly every round of the WEC series this year next to nothing covered the fourth to seventh placed riders in the E3 class.
Photo Yamaha – Info www.abc-wec.com