Honda Pro Racing News
One week after their latest spoils in the 2010 Enduro World Championship, Team Honda- HM-Zanardo have made the relatively short trip to the seaside resort of Fethiye that will host the first Grand Prix of Turkey for the world’s best Enduro riders. Mika Ahola has yet to drop out of the top two in an incredible twelve days of competition across a myriad of different terrain, weather conditions and idiosyncratic demands of the many specials housed within the six Grands Prix held so far. The Turkish episode will draw the EWC competition into its seventh and penultimate event and Ahola stands on the edge of the E2 title; knowing that a decent showing in the Middle Eastern sun will bring the possibility of his fourth crown with Honda machinery much closer to reality.
The 35 year old Finn finished second and first last weekend at Serres, Greece in sweltering conditions, by far the hottest of the year so far. A similar climate is expected in Turkey but the teams and riders will not have ridden the 90km route (three laps of which each day) and therefore the ‘playing field’ is firmly on a level.
Ahola is 30 points ahead of sole title-rival Ivan Cervantes with a maximum of 50 points available in Turkey and then another 50 on the table for the eighth and final round at Noiretable in France in four weeks on September 25th/26th.
“Even if the temperatures are hot like Greece the course does not seem to be so fast and the extreme section especially looks like it will be very slow,” commented Team Manager Franco Mayr after seeing what awaits in Fethiye late yesterday and making a test with his three riders on Thursday. “The ground is not hard-pack but it is not soft, there is a mix and while it does not seem to be that difficult it is also something a bit different to the extremes we often find. Anyway, Mika felt positive after the test and believes he can do well here. We have not really altered the bikes in any way; perhaps one or two small tweaks to the set-up compared to Greece.”
Oscar Balletti and Fabio Mossini will also be hoping to trouble the E2 and E1 fields on their CRF machinery respectively. Due to the topography of the region Fethiye is likely to involve some green and mountainous treks through the course that boasts Extreme, Enduro and Cross tests.
“Mossini is fit after his trouble in Greece and he tested the bike without any problems,” said Mayr. “He feels good and said that he hopes to be top five here as he intends to push very hard.”
For a full event report visit www.hondaproracing.com over the weekend.