Blog – Antoine Meo: “Racing 125 in EWC was cool”
Racing and winning on a 125 two-stroke was always a big ambition for four-time world champion Antoine Meo to achieve. At the final round of the 2013 EWC season, at his home GP in France, he finally got that chance. This his exclusive blog on why, when, where and how it all happened…
“I pushed very hard, and for a long time, to get the chance to race a 125cc in the world championship, and finally after I won the Enduro 1 title in Greece Fabio (Farioli – KTM Enduro Factory Team Manager) agreed to let me do it. I have practiced with a 125 for many years at my home – they are simple, fun, and you have to ride them clean and smooth.
“When I was young I didn’t really follow enduro so much, but I knew who Shane Watts was. I knew he raced with a 125. My dream has long been to win in the world championship race on a 125.
“The conditions at the EWC final in France were very difficult, especially on the first day with the rain and the mud. But I did it – I won with a 125. I won the Enduro 1 class, and was the fastest overall rider. I am very happy to have achieved that.
“The reason I like the 125 so much is because I have a passion for two strokes. I’m not a small, regular, 125cc racer, but I like 125s because they are great bikes to learn on. I guess you can say they are the bike for the ‘school of racing’. You have to really think about when you shift gears, think about your lines, when you start breaking, everything.
“You have benefits on a 125 – the bikes are light and it is easier to stay on the inside of a corner – but traction isn’t as strong as a 250f. You always have to keep the speed, which isn’t easy on slippery grass. It’s difficult on big hills, but I was very surprised on the enduro test in France. The bike made it very easy to keep my rhythm. It’s been many years since we had such a muddy race, so it was hard for everyone. But I enjoyed it – I got to race with Juha Salminen for the final time.
“Would I like to race a full Enduro 1 World Championship season on a 125? Yes, that’s what I asked for this year. But it’s not possible. If it was I would have to go on a Slim Fast diet!”