World Enduro Championship – Round 5 - 19th - 20th July 2008
Wakely Claims Maiden WEC Podium at GP of Wales
The MPS Racing Husqvarna team had much to celebrate at the end of the Hafren Dirt Bike Club organised GP of Wales as team rider Si Wakely claimed his best ever World Enduro Championship result with a well deserved third place finish in the Enduro Junior class on day one and a fifth pace result on day two.
Coming into the event with high hopes of good results Si was one of just 12 EJ class riders to finish the opening day’s competition as heavy rain, difficult special tests, and a demanding course made the event the toughest WEC race of the season so far.
Disappointingly for the MPS Racing Husqvarna team Enduro 1 class rider Daryl Bolter was forced to retire from the event on day one due to the ankle injury he sustained at the Welsh Two day Enduro.
Well aware that simply finishing the opening day of the GP of Wales would likely give him a point scoring result, Si Wakely seized his chance to claim his first ever WEC podium and finished day one just 30 seconds behind class winner Oriol Mena from Spain.
With each of the three different special tests extremely challenging, the Hafren Forest also proved to be incredibly demanding with just four EJ class riders finishing the day without time penalties.
Placing fourth on the first day’s opening special test Si found out just how difficult things were by dropping to 16th in class on test two.
Starting the second lap well a mistake on the day’s fifth timed special test saw Si lose well over one-minute to his class rivals and with it his chances of claiming the class win.
But with all riders making costly mistakes Si was far from disappointed and maintained his focus during the closing stages of the event to claim a well deserved third place finish – his and the MPS Racing Husqvarna team’s first ever WEC podium result.
On day two competition at the top of the Enduro Junior class was extremely close with Italian Thomas Oldrati claiming the win ahead of Spaniard Oriol Mena.
For Si the day started steadily with seventh and ninth place finishes on the opening two tests and continued in a similar way before he upped his pace during the final lap of the event.
Finishing fourth in class on each of the special tests during the last lap Si finished fifth, which added to his day one result lifts him to seventh in the Enduro Junior world championship standings, where he now sits just six points behind fourth placed rider Mirco Gritti from Italy.
With Daryl Bolter unable to compete in next weekend’s sixth round of the World Enduro Championship Si will be the MPS Racing Husqvarna team’s lone representative where he will be aiming to return to the podium at the GP of France.
Si Wakely: “The first day was really hard, but I’m so pleased for everyone involved in the MPS Husqvarna team to have finished on the podium. It was enjoyable in a weird way because I knew there weren’t too many Enduro Junior class riders still in the race so I just kept pushing on as hard as I could. The last lap on day one was so difficult – I was almost sick on my helmet I was pushing so hard. Finishing on the podium made it well worth the effort. I’d hoped to finish top three so to be able to do that was great. Mick and the whole MPS team have put so much effort into things this year it was great to be able to repay them for all of their hard work. It would have been nice to have finished on the podium on day two as well but I’m still really pleased with fifth. It was great to have so much home support and I’m really pleased with my results.”
Daryl Bolter: “I knew coming into the event that it would be difficult because of my ankle injury and it was. It was just too difficult not being able to put my right foot on the ground. If the event had been easy it still would have been difficult for me to finish but because the event was hard you needed to be 100 per cent fit. It’s disappointing because I’d been looking forward to the event all season.”
2008 World Enduro Championship
Grand Prix of Wales – Day 1
Enduro Junior Class
1. Oriol Mena (KTM) 58:10.53; 2. Robert Kvarnstrom (TM) 1:03:42.15; 3. Simon Wakely (MPS Racing Husqvarna) 1:04:14.34; 4. Oskari Kantonen (KTM) 1:04:54.27; 5. Jeremy Joly (Sherco) 1:05:03.16; 6. Lorenzo Santolino (KTM) 1:09:32.51; 7. Antii Hellsten (Husqvarna) 1:09:52.65; 8. Ollie Moyce (Yamaha) 1:12:17.51; 9. Mirko Gritti (Beta) 1:12:52.18; 10. Edoardo D’Ambrosio (TM) 1:13:16.49
2008 World Enduro Championship
Grand Prix of Wales – Day 2
Enduro Junior Class
1. Thomas Oldrati (KTM) 51:26.97; 2. Oriol Mena (KTM) 52:08.90; 3. Oscar Balletti (Honda) 53:26.20; 4. Jeremy Joly (Sherco) 53:31.91; 5. Simon Wakely (MPS Racing Husqvarna) 54:09.40; 6. Mirko Gritti (Beta) 54:11.38; 7. Antii Hellsten (Husqvarna) 54:19.80; 8. Edoardo D’Ambrosio (TM) 54:54.57; 9. Philip McLaughlin (TM) 55:37.80; 10. Oskari Kantonen (KTM) 55:40.54
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