He’s the 2013 Enduro 2 World Championship, as well as the overall Italian Enduro Champion, but just how good can 2013 be for Alex Salvini? With this year’s ISDE taking place in Sardinia – a home race for the Italian – could Salvini complete the hat-trick and secure six days victory?
To date, Salvini’s 2013 season has been nothing short of incredible. Along with capturing his debut enduro World title with nine race wins to his credit, he’s also easily defended #1 status in the Italian Enduro Championship. Now arguably one of the fastest enduro riders in the World, Salvini has his sights set on closing his season in style. “I’m really looking forward to finishing off my year on a high in Sardinia,” confirmed Salvini.
“The ISDE is such an important race on the calendar – it’s the one that everybody wants to try and win in their career. Winning the E2 World Championship and also the Italian Enduro Championship has been incredible, but to end 2013 with victory in the ISDE would be beyond my expectations. It really would be the perfect end to an extraordinary season.”
Despite his current form, the Italian knows that winning will not be easy. As the defending champions of the World Trophy team competition France boasts a line up of no fewer than three present and past World Champions. Clearly France have a strong squad, although while Salvini knows Italy cannot match their rivals status and rankings, having the home advantage at one of the most demanding races on the calendar will be a major benefit.
“Nobody can underestimate France – they are the defending champions,” continued the Honda rider. “On paper they are so strong – they’ve got four enduro World champions competing. However, last year we were able to finish third overall in Germany, even though we lost one rider during the event. I believe that we have a strong enough team to challenge France if we don’t run into any problems. Also the support of the Italian enduro fans will mean a lot – if you have a bad day home support can be amazing for a rider’s moral. Home support will be our greatest asset.”
Salvini’s journey up through the enduro ranks has been a rapid rise to the top. In 2008, while still competing full time in motocross, he acted as a last minute substitute for an injured Simone Albergoni when the ISDE visited Chile. A tough week, which was littered with crashes, made for an intense introduction to enduro. However perseverance was the key and by capping off his week with victory on day six he helped Italy to World Trophy team victory.
“That was a crazy time – I knew nothing about enduro then,” laughed Salvini. “I wasn’t supposed to race, Simone Albergoni was injured and they needed a replacement rider. At first I said no, but finally I agreed. I crashed six or seven times on the first day. As the week wore on I got better – won some tests – and won the last day. Also Italy won. It was an amazing time and a very big learning experience.”
Now five years on, Salvini has risen to the very top of enduro sport and is ready to lead Italy to what he hopes will be a home win for their World Trophy team.