The sixth round of the FIM Hard Enduro World Championship saw Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Billy Bolt move to the top of the series standings thanks to a hard fought second-place result. Teammate Alfredo Gomez enjoyed a mixed outing at the Polish race, winning the Saturday night SuperEnduro before finishing seventh in Sunday’s main race.
With just one point separating Bolt from championship leader Manuel Lettenbichler prior to the start of HERO Challenge, Billy arrived in Poland with his sights set on doing all he could to move to the top of the title chase. Highly motivated following his victory last time out in the USA, Bolt began the proceedings in a determined mood.
Finishing a close second in the Saturday morning qualifier, he went on to back that up with fourth in the night time SuperEnduro. Knowing it was all to play for during Sunday’s three-hour extreme cross country race, he was quick to position himself at the sharp end of the results. Locked in an early battle with eventual race winner Wade Young, Bolt held a strong second place.
With a couple of small crashes costing him valuable time, the Husqvarna TE 300i rider opted to protect his position during the latter stages of the race knowing the championship lead would be his with a second-place result. After three gruelling hours of racing, Bolt crossed the finish line for second and with it becomes the new FIM HEWC championship leader with two rounds remaining.
For Alfredo Gomez, the event was one of two halves. Saturday’s SuperEnduro action proved to be the highlight of the weekend for the Spaniard. Fast and confident on the tight and technical course, Gomez easily advanced through all of the eliminator heats to take his place in the four-rider final alongside Bolt. Hot out of the gate, Alfredo immediately took the race lead and was never headed.
For Sunday’s racing, the fast and sandy whooped out conditions didn’t play into the Hard Enduro specialist’s hands. While starting strong thanks to his pole position, the Husqvarna rider lost ground in the high-speed sections, eventually finishing seventh.
The FIM Hard Enduro World Championship continues with round seven at Spain’s Hixpania Hard Enduro on October 1-3.
Billy Bolt: “It’s been a full-on weekend with lots of styles of racing. Today’s cross country race was physical out there for the three hours. I don’t have much left in the tank now! I would have loved to take the win, but second place is great for the championship and now puts me in the lead by one point. I was battling with Wade at about mid distance. But I needed an extra pit stop and lost some ground. A crash then saw me lose sight of him, so I just tried to play it safe. I didn’t want to make any more mistakes and lose a position to Mani either.”
Alfredo Gomez: “The SuperEnduro was definitely my best performance of the weekend. I really loved the track and the style of races. The eliminator heat races were very cool and with each run you learned the track more and more. I knew for the final that getting the holeshot would be key and I managed to do that on my TE 300i. Once in the lead I held my ground and took the win. The three-hour cross country on Sunday wasn’t really my style of racing. It was missing some really hard technical elements to play to my strengths. I did my best and got seventh. I’m excited for my home race at Hixpania now. I’ve won there and been on the podium many times, so I’ll be pushing for victory for sure.”
FIM Hard Enduro World Championship, Round 6: HERO Challenge (Main Race)
1. Wade Young (Sherco) 7 laps, 3:03:01
2. Billy Bolt (Husqvarna) 7 laps, 3:06:48
3. Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM) 7 laps, 3:07:09
4. Dominik Olszowy (KTM) 7 laps, 3:08:01
5. Mario Roman (Sherco) 7 laps, 3:08:31
6. Jonny Walker (Beta) 7 laps, 3:13:51
7. Alfredo Gomez (Husqvarna) 7 laps, 3:14:38
FIM Hard Enduro World Championship standings (after 6 of 8 rounds)
1. Billy Bolt (Husqvarna) 70pts
2. Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM) 69pts
3. Wade Young (Sherco) 60pts
4. Mario Roman (Sherco) 48pts
5. Jonny Walker (Beta) 44pts
6. Alfredo Gomez (Husqvarna) 33pts
11. Graham Jarvis (Husqvarna) 15pts