David Knight and Danny McCanney are contesting the opening round of the SuperEnduro World Championship in Poland this weekend.
Having competed in different divisions of the off-road enduro scene this year, the pair come together for the prestigious Maxxis-sponsored, FIM sanctioned winter indoor series.
Both men are likely to be aboard different machines than they campaigned for the bulk of the last year.
Knighter rode for the relatively small Spanish/French-based Sherco concern predominantly in extreme events. He left that team late season, suggesting he simply wasn’t getting the full factory support at major events such as the Erzberg Enduro in Austria.
David rode a Yamaha France-supplied four-stroke in the Weston Beach Race and a couple of other events in October, but also had offers from KTM - with whom he had his halcyon days with from 2004 to 2011.
The big Ballaugh man started his professional career with Yamaha and has often said that he would liked to end his career with the Japanese manufacturer. But it would appear that the 36-year-old’s preferred deal stumbled at the 11th hour when Yamaha Europe announced that the factory were to put all their resources behind the new R1 road bike in the Superbike World Championship.
Knight has been in Spain testing for KTM in recent weeks and will definitely ride one of the orange and black clad machines in Gdansk on Saturday, although it is unclear if he will be on a two-stroke 300cc or a four-stroke 350cc version. It is likely he will ride under the KTM UK banner.
Danny McCanney has enjoyed a superb year on the satellite team Beta 300 sponsored by Boano Costa Ligure pasta sauce, winning the FIM Enduro World Junior Championship and the British Sprint Enduro title after swapping from the rival Gas Gas factory late 2013.
But world titles attract improved contracts and the 23-year-old confirmed more than a month ago that he would not be on one of the Italian-built Betas next year.
The smart money appears to be with Husqvarna (nowadays under the ever-growing KTM umbrella) and an announcement was expected earlier this week, but nothing had been released by the time the Manx Independent went to press yesterday afternoon.
Five-time SuperEnduro World Champion Taddy Blazusiak will again be the man to beat on his home ground this weekend, but the series has this winter attracted a strong raft of riders from across the Atlantic.
The US armada is led by KTM’s Cody Webb and Taylor Robert, and Beta’s Kyle Redmond, while the Continental stars include Alfredo Gomez, Mathias Bellino, Giacomo Redondi and Dani Gibert, with Jonny Walker bolstering the British ranks alongside the Manx duo.
The event is being shown live from the Ergo Arena in Gdansk on RedBull.TV and the EWC’s Youtube Channel.