Matt Phillips Joins Sherco For 2016
Midway through the 2015 Enduro World Championship season, we first started hearing reports that Australia’s reigning Enduro 3 World Champion, Matt Phillip, was not seeing eye-to-eye with his KTM Enduro Factory team. And that friction – which stemmed largely from disagreement about Matt’s bike set-up – only escalated throughout the year. All of which fuelled speculation that Phillips would turn his back on the powerhouse KTM outfit to rejoin Fabrizio Azzalin – the vastly experienced Italian team owner/manager who helped the young Aussie clinch his Enduro Junior World title in 2013 on the CH Husqvarna team, but who now runs the CH Sherco team.
Well, the speculation has finally been put to rest with this week’s official announcement that Phillips has signed with Team CH Sherco for 2016 – though the 22-year-old Aussie is yet to confirm which bike (or class) he intends to race this coming season.
“When Fabrizio contacted me,” Phillips explained, “I realised there was an opportunity to return in a great team who’s always at your disposal, and that’s what gave me the chance to fight with the best riders in the world in 2013. It was a real pleasure to work with the entire CH Racing team that season. I’m already looking forward to start testing my Sherco and to bring back a title to the team – but this time, with a different manufacturer,” Phillips went on to say – interestingly, with no reference or thanks to the Fabio Farioli-run KTM team, where he notched up a win and runner-up finish in the E3 class in the 2014 and ’15 seasons, respectively.
Fabrizio Azzalin didn’t hide his excitement about resuming his professional connection with Phillips, either: “My relationship with Matthew has been always strong. So when I saw the opportunity to bring him back onto the CH team, I called Marc Teissier from Sherco directly. He approved my choice. Matt’s signature will certainly bring Sherco to another dimension, especially with the new Enduro GP class being introduced for season 2016.”
If you want to reflect on where it all began for Phillips in Europe, check out the Devil May Care feature article (below) from Transmoto‘s 2013 October issue (#36), published shortly after the then 20-year-old Australian wrapped up his first World Championship.