A new season generally means learning once again which riders are riding what bikes. With a lot of movers, shakers and some new faces for 2016, the Italian Enduro Championship marked the first time we got to see how everyone is settling into their berths.
Here’s a run down of who’s where this year…
Lignano marked Alex Salvini’s eagerly awaited debut as a Beta Factory rider. Having switched from Honda to Beta machinery, there’s high hopes that Salvini can become an Italian world champ on Italian equipment for 2016. In a mixed start, Salvo regrouped from a lowly 12th outright on day one to place fourth outright on day two.
Austrian Pascal Rauchenecker is a new addition to the enduro paddock for 2016. Riding for Rockstar Energy Husqvarna in Enduro 1, 22-year-old Rauchenecker is the 2015 Austrian motocross champion. But he showed he’s got form with third overall in the night time X-Cup extreme race.
Another new face in the enduro paddock is Italian Davide Guarneri. The former MXGP rider rode with TM Racing in 2015 and after sampling the ISDE last September made up his mind to make a permanent switch to enduro this year. Looking solid in Lignano for 2-2 outright, plus winning both days of Enduro 2, signals things are already looking good.
Swede Mikael Persson has made a pretty big move for 2016 jumping from the 125 Youth Cup straight into Enduro 1, skipping Juniors along the way. Joining Miglio Yamaha, Persson’s first ever ride as factory rider saw him record a 17-16 outright scorecard.
After a quiet winter, Enduro 1 World Champion Eero Remes was back in competitive action. One of the few guys pretty much unchanged for 2016, Remes is sticking with TM and his 250f as he hunts down another world crown.
Not even Nathan Watson expected to card a double outright win at the Italian opener. But despite having never raced an enduro prior to Lignano, the KTM Factory rider did exactly that. Certainly one to watch for in 2016.
One of the big movers for 2016, Matt Phillips departs from KTM to Sherco. While moving to new machinery, it’s also a return to the old for the Australian as he and Fabrizio Azzalin’s CH Racing team reunite. The pair formed a great bond when Phillips claimed the 2013 Junior World crown with them on Husky. Third outright on day one, but 19th on day two in Italy, indicates there’s still a bit of fine tuning to do.
The 2014 125 World Champ has switched camps from Boano Beta to RedMoto Honda but stays in Juniors.
Johnny Aubert stays with Beta for 2016 but moves to two-stroke machinery with the 300 RR. It’s the first time in his enduro career to race a two-smoker but by the look of things the move is suiting him. Aside from a technical hitch on day one, he bounced back to almost win day two, leading for most of it, he eventually ended it third outright.
Italian Gianluca Martini rode for Yamaha in 2015 but has gone green for 2016 with Kawasaki. Teammate to Simone Albergoni it’s cool to see increased support from Kawasaki in enduro this year.
An official Gas Gas rider in 2015, Jonathan Manzi is riding under the Husqvarna Italia awning in Enduro 1 this year. He went 5-4 in E1 in Italy.
Giacomo Redondi is another rider to squeeze under a rather full RedMoto Honda awning for 2016.
Not necessarily changing colours or machinery for 2016, the Italian opener did mark Steve Holcombe’s first appearance as a fully fledged factory Beta rider. By Holcombe’s standards it was a bit hit and miss for the Brit. Sixth outright on day one bode well but a snapped brake lever pushed him back to ninthon day two.
After a year on Sherco machinery, Rudy Moroni is back on KTM with support from Faroli. Riding in Enduro 1, it was a solid weekend for the Italian going 2-1 while also picking up a pair of top 10 outright results.