It was so long! Seven months after the final round of the 2003 series in Finestrat (Spain), riders, mechanics and fans couldn’t wait more to join again the unique atmosphere of the Supermoto World Championship. For the Youthstream staff too it was a long break, but as everyone knows the creator and promoter of this championship was quite busy with his new involvement in Motocross. “I know that many people were a little bit afraid that we let some energy and interest in the Supermoto due to our new contract with the FIM to promote Motocross. Everyone knows that this sport was my first passion, but if we invested half million euros in Supermoto two years ago it’s because I believed in this sport and we will, with my staff, continue to work hard to reach our goals” said Youthstream president Giuseppe Luongo. “I know that some people critics us because there’s ten races instead of fifteen or sixteen in the calendar, but they must understand how is the situation. Many of the 2003 promoters didn’t respect their contract, and we will never work any more with them; we want to have serious partners, who have the same spirit as us, and who respect their obligations. And everyone involved in this sport must remind that there was nothing three years ago; we create, with a great support from the FIM, this World Championship from nothing ad I’m sure that the 2004 events will be really successful”.
Opening round of the Championship, Spa will met excited riders in both the S1 (Open) and the new S2 (450) classes; with no less than six races on Sunday (two races and one Superfinal per class) the program will be intense!
The S1 class will met seven factory teams: Husqvarna, KTM, Aprilia, TM, Vertemati, VOR and Husaberg. With Eddy Seel (2003 World Champion), Gerald Delepine (2002 Vice champion) and Frederico Brondi on the new 630, Husqvarna present a new bike. “We’ve worked a lot to develop this new bike, and I must say that 70% of the bike is prototype; except the engine we changed everything, including a new frame and a new suspension, and our bike lost 10 kilos. It was necessary as the opposition is stronger every year” said engineer Fenici. World champion in 2002, KTM has also a strong team with the return of Thierry Van Den Bosch who moved last season to Supersport; Thierry is back in his team and his sport, alongside Boris Chambon (2003 Vice champion) and Ivan Lazzarini (6th last year on a Husaberg). Newcomer in Supermoto, Aprilia will count on Massimo Manzo (4th last season on a Vertemati) to get great results with the unconventional bicylinder. “It’s a new challenge, and we are all proud to be part of it” said engineer Macchi during the team presentation last week in Italy. “We made a lot of testing and development during last winter, and we got some good results in the Italian Championship. We know that there is till a lot of work, but we are optimistic” he added. TM will entered Fabrice Guyot (7th on a Husqvarna last year) and Lorenzo Mariani (17th), Vertemati has engaged Eric Lambert (21th on a Yamaha), VOR has re-signed Walter Bartolini (34th) and Husaberg will be represented by Frederic Fiorentino (8th on a KTM) and Massimo Beltrami (9th on a Husqvarna). Alongside the fourteen factory riders we’ll find ten support riders, including Belgians Michael Paul (Husqvarna Cross2R Team), Eric Bougelet and Eric Delannoy (KTM Slide Zone Team).
Twenty-four riders will also enter the S2 class, including eleven factory riders. Frédéric Bolley (double Motocross World Champion) and Jerome Giraudo (13th on a Vertemati) will represent Aprilia, Jorge Nestor and Fabio Balducci will be the TM force, while Fabrice Lecoanet (KTM), Attilio Pignotti (VOR), Ivan Boano (Husaberg), Davide Gozzini (Husqvarna) and Stephane Mezard (CCM) are the unique riders of their respective factories. Last to be presented, the famous Terra Modena will appears for the first time in Spa; two models of this high-tech bike developed with the support of Ferrari will be present with Alexandre Thiebault and Michele Lavetti. Husqvarna, Yamaha, Honda and Kawasaki will be also involved through semi-official or private structures.
With new bikes, new teams and a lot of changes during winter, this third Supermoto World Championship is promising. Belgium, Romania, Czech Republic, Germany, Austria, France, Europe, Italy and Spain will met the ten Grand Prix between June 20th and November 28th. Who will be champion? Bet on your favourite!
Info and results on the official website of the championship: www.supermotoS1.com
Photographer: J. Barte