Making it two wins in this year’s FIM Hard Enduro World Championship, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Billy Bolt has delivered the goods at round five, picking up victory at the Tennessee Knockout Extreme Enduro. Dominating proceedings from start to finish, Bolt put his Husqvarna TE300i up on the top step of the podium while a strong ride from his teammate Alfredo Gomez saw him claim sixth in the highly competitive Final Knockout race.
Racing his way back into FIM Hard Enduro World Championship contention, Billy firmly made his mark at the fifth stop of the series in the USA. Despite it being his first appearance at the Tennessee Knockout Extreme Enduro, he instantly set the pace, claiming a spectacular win in the Saturday evening Straight Rhythm prologue.
From there he controlled the proceedings, going on to win both of the TKO qualifier races, securing a front row start for the all-important 45-minute Final Knockout race. A solid start saw him trail rival Manuel Lettenbichler on the opening lap, before working his way to the front. A mistake in the closing stages dropped him back to second with just one lap to go. Giving his absolute all, Bolt dug deep to retake the lead and with it the race victory. His win moves him to second in the standings, with just one point separating him from the championship lead.
For Billy’s teammate Alfredo Gomez, TKO was one of mixed fortunes. Looking forward to the rocky boulder gardens, Alfredo quietly set about setting himself up for a strong performance in the final race. Comfortably making it through the qualifiers, he then got to work in the 45-minute final race. In contention for a top three, multiple crashes in the closing stages ultimately hampered his progress and he dropped back to sixth.
The FIM Hard Enduro World Championship continues with round six, Poland’s Hero Challenge on September 11/12.
Billy Bolt: “After winning the two qualifiers, I got out to a good lead in the final and felt in control until I messed up the hill climb in the closing stages. Then it got intense! At that stage I didn’t have much left in the tank to charge back at Mani. I got back up to him and just managed to get it done on the final lap. It’s been tough in this heat too, something I’m not that used to. But the crowd didn’t disappoint, the noise and atmosphere was wild for the final. Overall, this win has been great for my championship and now I’m sitting just one point behind Mani.”
Alfredo Gomez: “It’s been a hard day. After good rides in the TKO qualifying races I was pretty confident about what I could do in the final. I started on row two but made good progress on the first laps and had a nice pace going. But then, while getting close to the guys in third and fourth I crashed, then I crashed some more and I was physically done at that stage. It’s a little frustrating, I felt my speed was there, but my luck was not.”
Results - FIM Hard Enduro World Championship, Round 5: Tennessee Knockout
1. Billy Bolt (Husqvarna) 6 laps, 37:30.546
2. Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM) 6 laps, 37:32.895
3. Trystan Hart (KTM) 6 laps, 38:30.120
4. Wade Young (Sherco) 6 laps, 38:46.299
5. Mario Roman (Sherco) 6 laps, 39:18.418
6. Alfredo Gomez (Husqvarna) 6 laps, 39:33.066
Provisional standings - FIM Hard Enduro World Championship (after 5 of 8 rounds)
1. Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM) 54pts
2. Billy Bolt (Husqvarna) 53pts
3. Wade Young (Sherco) 40pts
4. Mario Roman (Sherco) 37pts
5. Jonny Walker (Beta) 34pts
6. Taddy Blazusiak (GASGAS) 26pts
7. Alfredo Gomez (Husqvarna) 24pts
10. Graham Jarvis (Husqvarna) 15pts