In what proved a career-best result at the Red Bull Erzbergrodeo, Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Billy Bolt has finished in second place at round two of the FIM Hard Enduro World Championship in Austria.
Always a highlight of the FIM Hard Enduro World Championship, Red Bull Erzbergrodeo once again lived up to its reputation as the world’s toughest single day hard enduro. With the traditional Iron Road Prologue kicking things off, Bolt, who arrived in Austria feeling fresh and up for the challenge, raced his TE 300 up the gravel fire roads to qualify a highly respectable fifth out of the 1,500 starters. But with Sunday’s main event to follow, he knew the real race was yet to begin.
Faced with a 35-kilometre course he needed to complete in under four hours, Billy got a great jump off the start line as the first 50 riders were waved away at 12.00 CET. However, a crash on the very first climb dropped him from third to 50th in an instant. Jumping back on his bike, Billy put in a heroic 10 minutes of riding on the initial high-speed sections to climb back up to fourth. Soon afterwards he joined Manuel Lettenbichler and Trystan Hart in the battle for the lead.
Taking control of the race lead after 45 minutes as he approached Udo’s Playground – checkpoint 18 of 27 – Billy managed to keep out front for the next 70 minutes and build a healthy looking lead during Carl’s Dinner.
But a wrong line choice while managing a damaged exhaust pipe, saw Billy lose the lead to Lettenbichler and he dropped to second. Unable to go challenge his close rival to the finish line, Billy safeguarded his position and soldiered home to take a hard-fought runner-up result.
The FIM Hard Enduro World Championship continues with round three at Red Bull Romaniacs on July 25-29.
Billy Bolt: “That was a hectic one! I’m pretty chuffed to finally get a Red Bull Erzbergrodeo podium. After getting a great jump off the start line, I crashed on the first climb. I couldn’t believe my luck. The next 10 minutes were a blur trying to pass so many people before we hit the first forest section. I caught up to Mani and we rode together. But I put a dent in my exhaust pipe and lost some power. In Carl’s Dinner I knew that was my best chance to try and pull a gap, so I pushed hard. But when I got to MOTOREX Highway I struggled on the climb, and kinda hit the wall. Mani got passed again and I couldn’t go with him. I wanted to win, and I gave it everything I had today!”
Results: FIM Hard Enduro World Championship, Round 2
Red Bull Erzbergrodeo
1. Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM) 2:31:15
2. Billy Bolt (Husqvarna) 2:42:15
3. Trystan Hart (KTM) 2:57:09
4. Jonny Walker (Beta) 2:59:30
5. Wade Young (Sherco) 3:04:21
6. Graham Jarvis (Husqvarna) 3:13:55