EnduroGP 2018 to start at Päijänne

Finland’s legendary Lake Päijänne named as the 2018 EnduroGP Opener!

After their success at the start of this season, ABC Communication and the HMK have decided to repeat this year’s season opener for 2018. The legendary Lake Päijänne will therefore be back on the Maxxis FIM EnduroGP World Championship calendar!

After a promising debut year which was hailed a success by the riders, the public, and the media, it was not long before EnduroGP promoter Alain Blanchard and Mauri Penttinen, president of the HMK, decided to renew their agreement for 2018.

The 83rd running of the Päijänne enduro will once again be based at the Vierumaki Sports Center, where the riders will return on Saturday evening before heading to Helsinki on Sunday. The HMK is already hard at work before the winter to find a new itinerary and new specials.

At a Press Conference held in Helsinki, Finland, on Tuesday 27 September, the championship promoter said he is very pleased to continue working with the HMK.

“This first year at Päitsi was a big test for everyone! Blanchard said. “Many riders and teams were unsure and did not know what to expect. But at the end of the race, thanks to the professionalism of the HMK, they had been won over and they now agree that this race deserves a place in our Championship!”

This year Finland dominated on home turf with Eero Remes winning E2 and the “Päijänne Trophy”, Antti Hellsten (Husqvarna) topping EnduroGP, and Eemil Pohjola  (Husqvarna) victorious in Juniors. So in 2018 the “foreigners” will be hoping to adapt to the conditions quickly in order to take the fight to the Finns. Let’s see what happens on March 17th and 18th 2018 for the opening round of the Championship, it will be unmissable!

GRAHAM JARVIS CLAIMS VICTORY AT SEA TO SKY 2017

ROCKSTAR ENERGY HUSQVARNA FACTORY RACING’S HARD ENDURO STAR SECURES FIFTH WIN IN TURKEY

Once again delivering the goods exactly when it matters most, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Graham Jarvis has won the 2017 running of the Sea to Sky hard enduro in Turkey. Powered by his TE 300, Jarvis made light work of the challenging near four-hour mountain race to finish just under one-and-a-half minutes ahead of runner-up Mario Roman. In doing so Jarvis claimed his fifth Sea to Sky victory.

As always Jarvis made a cautious start to the event, completing the opening beach race without mistakes and in fifth position. Then finishing the forest race in fourth position, he did what he set out to do and secured a front row starting position for the third and final day’s mountain race.

Battling his way through the dusty early stages of the race following a good start, Graham fell and damaged his clutch master cylinder. Managing to make repairs he pushed on knowing his chance of podium result hinged on his speed up the rocky climbs close to the finish. Working his way through the arduous final metres of the race he moved his way to the front to secure a well-deserved fifth Sea to Sky victory.

Jarvis was stoked with his performance. “It’s a great feeling to win again here at Sea to Sky, he said. This win means more than ever because the level of the other riders is just so much higher now. To get the win after such a closely fought battle feels amazing. I got a good start in today’s mountain race, but as soon as we got into the forest it was just so dusty – I had to just had to ride behind the guy in front. I had a silly crash and broke the clutch master cylinder, but with a bit of string and duct tape I managed to fix it up. It worked but it wasn’t perfect. The middle of the course is quite flowing and fast, so I didn’t think I would be able to catch the guys in front. I just rode steady because I knew it got a lot tougher at the top. Towards the end there’s about 100 metres of rocks, and I got through them really well and managed to get past the others. From there it was just the final push to the top.”

Jarvis’ teammate, Billy Bolt, also successfully completed the 2017 running of the three-day Sea to Sky event to finish fifth in the mountain race. Starting the competition in the best possible way with victory in the opening beach race, Billy then placed third in the mountain race to start the final day of racing confident of a strong result.

From a good start, Billy frustratingly made a mistake on one of the early obstacles, leaving the beach trailing the rest of the front row starters. Forced to bide his time on the dusty lower section of the track, as the climbs became more technical Billy, like Jarvis, started to work his way forward to reach to top of the Olympus Mountain in fifth position.

“I’m really happy with how things have gone this week, he said. I’ve made it to the finish three days in a row, relatively drama-free. Compared to last year this has been a million times better. I got a good start today, but made a mistake on one of the obstacles on the beach. I ended up being last to leave the beach out of the top group and then into the forest the dust was unbelievable. I just had to sit behind and deal with it best I could. As things began to get more technical, towards the top, I was able to get past a few people. To finish in fifth after such a bad start is really good. It’s been a good week, two podiums and a fifth – I can’t complain with that. The results are getting better every race and my consistency is good, so I just have to keep doing what I’m doing.”

 

Final Results – Sea to Sky 2017 (Mountain Race)

1. Graham Jarvis (Husqvarna) 3:45:38
2. Mario Roman (Sherco) 3:47:00
3. Wade Young (Sherco) 3:47:20
4. Alfredo Gomez (KTM) 3:52:39
5. Billy Bolt (Husqvarna) 3:54:26
6. Jonny Walker (KTM) 3:55:54

2017 Beta RR 350

The 2017 Beta RR 350 – More Than Enough

In a world where bigger is ‘better’, Beta have come along to stamp out the age-old mantra and carve out a piece of the off-road market for itself in the form of the RR350.

Words: Chris Pics: Paul

 

Yeah, 350cc engines are by no means new to the market. Just take a look at a certain Austrian brand and their very extensive range of dirt bike capacities, including their own 350cc varieties. But that’s about it for the mid-capacity four-strokes, unless you drop down 50cc to say the Sherco or Gas Gas 300. Okay, 50ccs doesn’t sound like much, but when it’s strapped to a 110kg hunk of metal, in reality, it can make a big difference.

In fact, it’s clear that Beta like the beat of their own drum a lot when you see that their range of four-stroke bikes consist of the 350, 390, 430 and 490cc capacities. Not at all your typical engine sizes, but then again, Beta isn’t your typical manufacture either.

Having been in the motorcycle game since 1948, it wasn’t until the 1970s that Beta actually started focusing on off-road motorcycles. Setting out in the trials community where they gained a reputation of producing some of the best trials bikes in the world, more recent times have seen Beta launch an aggressive enduro bike range. Starting in 2005 and utilising KTM engines from previous years to get the ball rolling, they eventually brought everything in house in 2010 when the new RR models were launched.

What’s New

Well, not the chassis, as that remains virtually the same as the 2016 model. But in the suspension department, the Sachs forks have been increased by 5mm from last year to provide longer travel, while some factory fork oil has been used to reduce heat build-up and friction inside. Out back, the Sachs shock has a new high and low speed compression adjustment system designed to give a more accurate and independent feel/change from each other meaning your adjustments to the clickers should be much more noticeable. The newly designed triple clamps are lighter while also being more rigid giving the front-end a solid, planted feeling. And for the aesthetics, silver rims supplied by Excel complete with silver nipples, black spokes and black rim tape are not only lighter but they make the wheel sets look bad-ass, too.

Keeping on the looks theme, Moto1 had supplied the 350 in a custom graphics kit with white plastics. It certainly made the Beta standout, although the regular red is also distinctive. There is a really cool digital meter with a new layout and design, while also having plenty of features perfect for the enduro rider in all of us and even features a battery voltage meter which is a nice touch.

In the power department, the 350cc engine is a DOHC, 249cc single, using a 6-speed transmission and hydraulic clutch. Other cool touches that come stock are wavy discs, a cool black swingarm and anodised cases, push-button seat release, a bashplate and factory aluminium footpegs. It’s a pretty good looking machine with plenty of fruit to back up the look. Another aspect about owning a Beta will mean you’ll probably be the only one in the pits with a 350 RR… for now that is.

Italian Muscle

No matter what anyone tells you, you don’t really need a 450. This couldn’t be any truer right now with the newly crowned overall NZ Enduro Champion riding a 300cc four-stroke, beating out all the 450s and the big bore two-strokes. The Beta 350 is a very smooth ride from the initial twist of the throttle, right through to the limiter. The engine doesn’t have a big punch to it and can feel like it’s taking a while to get up to speed. But it is also quite deceptive in that regard, too, as ground speed does increase pretty quickly – you just can’t really feel it. The speed comes more from revving the bike as opposed to lugging it. It has some good torque, but if you want to really rip you’ll be on the pipe like a 250F.

First gear is super low, and making it excellent for feet-up slow riding like when you’re negotiating tight trails or tricky obstacles. Anything above that and the gear becomes obsolete. The remaining five more ratios up are very well spaced out and you shouldn’t be left wanting for a good selection in any situation. Top gear is quite tall and as such doesn’t do a lot of hard pulling. You’ll cruise like a champion though in quite low revs, and even though it is very smooth, it is still very responsive off the throttle. The EFi system matched to the Beta powerplant works in perfect harmony, making you feel connected to every aspect of the engine’s reactions to your input. Smooth and steady can win the race as they say, and this engine has the potential to make you as smooth as glass, despite your best efforts to upset it.

Still Sorted

In the feel department, the Beta 350 had a real ‘sit-in’ riding positioning to me. I think it’s largely due to the plush, enduro style suspension and the positioning of the handlebars and levers. I adjusted the ’bars to get a roomier feel, but compared to the Beta 300 2T, it still didn’t feel as ‘on top’. The four-stroke is only 5kilos heavier than the 300, but it feels like a lot more when taking it off the stand and manoeuvring it around the pits. Once you’re on the track though, and the 350 loses that larger feeling as you throw it into a sand berm and power out comfortably and in control.

The balance of the chassis and the response from the steering is fantastic – you can flick it from left to right at a decent clip and it will comfortably do what you tell it to without too much disagreement. The bike feels tight underneath you and the frame is easy to grip with both your ankles and knees. It seems to feel right at home in the meat of the power and winding back and forward through single trail and fire breaks at about three quarter pace. The front forks are sublime and eat up the track in front of you, creating a smooth ride and very little feedback through the ’bars. The rear-end follows seamlessly and never did I get the back popping out of a rut, or wanting to come around on me. When you really wind the bike out however, the suspension which has been doing a great job until now, starts to show a little chink in its damping ability. On high speed G-outs both the front and rear will blow through the stroke, telling me that I needed heavier springs for my weight and ability. The rebound and damping settings seem to work well at lower speeds, so some springs will most likely alleviate that issue and lighter riders will probably never experience an issue at all. At the end of the day, every bike needs a certain amount of tinkering to suit the rider, speed and conditions and the Beta is no different. What was really impressive about the Beta is that it felt comfortable pretty much right away. That seems to be the norm for steel framed bikes, with the added flex over an aluminium style frame making the ride more comfortable and less rigid.

Better Beta

For a bike that doesn’t have a specific capacity design and doesn’t fit into the norm, for me, the 350 is where it’s at. There’s plenty more poke than a 250 but nowhere near the bark of a 450, which can quite often get you into trouble. But you’ve heard that already from previous 350 tests no doubt. What you might not have heard is that the Beta is a solid, well-developed machine and worthy of a look in, should you be after a 350 specifically. Especially this model, the RR racing version where you get all the fruit that makes this bike what it is, compared to the stock RR 350. And if you are someone who likes the beat of their own drum, don’t get what everyone else has – go your own way. Beta might be that way if you give it a chance. This bike is more than enough for any off-road rider.

 

2017 Beta RR 350 Specifications

Price: $14,499

Engine: 349cc single cylinder, 4-valve, 4-stroke, liquid cooled, electric start with back up kick starter.
Bore x stroke: 88mm x 57.4mm
Ignition: DC-CDI with variable ignition timing
Lubrication: Twin oil pumps with cartridge oil filter. Separate oil for engine and clutch
Fuel System: 42mm Electronic fuel injection
Transmission: 6-speed
Final Drive: O-ring chain Frame: Molybdenum steel/double cradle with quick air filter access
Front Suspension: 48 mm Sachs closed cartridge fork, adjustable compression and rebound
Rear Suspension: Aluminium body Sachs shock w/adjustable rebound and hi/low speed compression
Wheelbase: 1490mm
Seat Height: 934mm
Ground Clearance: 320mm
Footrest Height: 411mm
Steering Rake/Offset: 26.5degree rake/23mm
Offset Dry Weight: 106kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 7.5 litres

PABLO QUINTANILLA WINS 2017 ATACAMA RALLY

HUSQVARNA FACTORY RACING RALLY ACE TOPS THE FINAL STAGE TO CLAIM OVERALL VICTORY IN CHILE

Ensuring the best possible end to his week-long adventure in the dunes of Chile, Pablo Quintanilla has secured overall victory at the 2017 edition of the Atacama Rally. The Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing rider now sits just six points from the provisional lead of the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship, with two races to go.

Following a well-calculated plan of attack, Pablo took advantage of his good starting position to make up for time lost during yesterday’s stage four. Completing the 158km special in a total time of one hour and 35 minutes, the FR 450 Rally mounted rider regained the lead in the overall standings, going on to open up an eventual gap of more than two minutes to his closest rival.

“This victory means a lot to me, Quintanilla said. “After my injury in Qatar, I had such a tough month recovering. To return to competition here at my home round in Chile and take the win, it is such an incredible feeling. All through the event I felt fit and strong on the bike. I am glad that I have been able to close on Sam Sunderland in the championship. With two rounds remaining there is still everything to play for.”

2017 Atacama Rally – Final Overall Classification

1. Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna) 12:53:49

2. Kevin Benavides (Honda) 12:56:12

3. Paulo Goncalves (Honda) 13:05:40

4. Sam Sunderland (KTM) 13:17:04

5. Xavier de Soultrait (Yamaha) 13:27:35

6. Matthias Walkner (KTM) 13:27:54

Bellino out of International Six Days Enduro

ROCKSTAR ENERGY HUSQVARNA FACTORY RACING RIDER TO BE REPLACED BY TEAMMATE CHRISTOPHE CHARLIER AT THE PRESTIGIOUS ANNUAL INTERNATIONAL SIX DAYS ENDURO AFTER INJURY

Husqvarna Motorcycles has announced that Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Mathias Bellino has suffered a second shoulder injury, which forces him to miss the 2017 International Six Days Enduro and the remaining two rounds of the EnduroGP World Championship. Standing in for Mathias at the ISDE to represent France, Christophe Charlier will compete in the event for the first time.

Working hard in recent months to return from a shoulder injury sustained prior to the season opening EnduroGP of Finland, Bellino has been gradually building his speed and fitness during the last three GPs.

His latest injury to his right shoulder was picked up while training for the upcoming ISDE, where Matthias fractured his shoulder blade which then required the rider to undergo surgery. He will be out of action for a minimum of three months and will miss the last two round of the EnduroGP series in the United Kingdom and Germany.

“It’s hard to accept I will be forced to miss the ISDE and sit out the rest of the season, he said. I worked hard to come back from my pre-season injury and I was really motivated to keep improving my results in this final part of the season. It was just a slow speed crash but I immediately knew there was something wrong with my shoulder. It’s really disappointing that I’ll have to miss the rest of the season due to this injury.”

Replacing Bellino at this year’s International Six Days Enduro will be Husqvarna Factory Racing teammate Christophe Charlier, with the FE 350 powered rider set to contest the week-long event for the first time in his career.

The 2017 ISDE takes place in Brive, France, from August 28 to September 2.