Moto Media
James Stewart

E3 World Championship resumes in Italy with Ahola leading the way

The International Motorcycling Federation has entrusted to the Moto Club Aiello Acireale the hosting the first World Grand Prix on Sicilian ground. Created in 1991 and backed by its Sicilian Moto Club they have organised the Enduro event. It already has to his credit a round of Italian championship "Assoluti d'Italia" in 2005 and a round of the European championship in 2008.

Aiello Acireale has drawn a technical and difficult 8-shaped track of 40 km to cover 4 times per day. The paddock will be located in the city centre , the Cross Test will be in Contrada Ponte San Paolo (about 6 km from the paddock), while the Enduro test and the Xtreme test will take place close to the town in the edge of a dry river Fiume Zavianni.  Francavilla di Sicilia is also the 'home race' for the HM Honda Zanardo team.

Now for the Honda release ! Copy and photo courtesy of Honda Pro Racing.

The E3 class has so far proved to be the one to watch with HM Honda Zanardo’s, Mika Ahola, putting in three separate, day winning performances in the previous two rounds of the championship. These performances have seen Ahola take a commanding lead in the championship standings as he pushes to win the E3 title, the only one he has missing from his collection.

Notable news has also surrounded his toughest championship rival and reigning E3 World Champion, David Knight. Knight received a serious hip injury in the first round of the championship in Ponts, Spain and was forced to retire. Due to the severity of the injury, it looked as though his season participation may be in serious doubt.

This was bad news for the neutral spectator as the prospect of Ahola and Knight going head to head promised so much! Despite thoughts that Knight would be out for many months, he astonished all by returning for the second round of the championship in Vale d e Cambra, Portugal, even taking the victory on Day 1. Ahola would answer back with a victory of his own on Day 2 and it looked as though battle was resumed.

Unfortunately it seems as though it was not meant to be as Knight has now confirmed that he has undergone surgery on his hip, which is likely to take him out of action for the remainder of the season. But as one rival falls another rises, in the shape of Christophe Nambotin. The Frenchman currently sits 13 points behind Ahola in the standings. However, it remains to be seen if he can mount a serious challenge and knock Ahola’s hand off the E3 Championship trophy he has already begun to grasp.

Mika Ahola: "I am starting to feel anticipation for the next one. First two GPs were hard and took their toll on me physically and mentally like always. I had been training hard for three months with only one goal in my m ind, the first GP. The more prepared and fit I became the more pressure was building in my mind until it felt like it was going to boil over. All that pressure was released in the first two GPs and after Portugal I felt empty. I always feel like the few days after a hard race, are the days when I am the most relaxed I can ever be. But the feeling never lasts long before a voice in my mind starts to harass me and say it’s time to start training again. During these weeks I trained in Spain, where I moved in January. I practiced with the bike and running in mountains performing my coordination, aeration and resilience. On Easter Sunday I ran about three hours! For many years I haven’t trained so hard.”