Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Billy Bolt has made history by becoming the first ever FIM Hard Enduro World Champion. Attacking all the way during the final round of the season at Germany’s GetzenRodeo, Bolt placed second to put the finishing touches to what has been an incredible year of hard enduro racing for the Brit. Competing alongside Billy, Hixpania winner Alfredo Gomez ended his season in a close sixth in the series following a sixth place result.
With the outcome of this year’s FIM Hard Enduro World Championship boiling down to the final race of the season between Bolt and his closest rival Manuel Lettenbichler, TE 300i mounted Bolt knew what he had to do. Holding a three-point lead in the championship standings, he needed to either win, or finish second or better to clinch the title if Lettenbichler won.
A fast pace in the morning GetzenRace qualifier saw Billy lead the majority of the two-hour race, only to slip to second within sight of the finish line. With the focus on the all-important GetzenChamp race, 80-minutes plus one lap of racing stood between Bolt and the title. Starting second, the Brit quickly caught Lettenbichler on lap one. Overtaking him, he opened up a 10-second lead. But with the slippery rocks catching him out, a series of mistakes dropped him down to sixth.
Knowing the title had swung in Lettenbichler’s favour, Bolt regrouped and put his head down to make a charge back up the field. Picking off riders, he worked his way up to second at the midway point in the race. Now clearly enjoying the course, Bolt began chipping away at the race lead, bringing the gap down to less than one minute. But with time running out, he knew settling for second was exactly enough to become the FIM Hard Enduro World Champion.
For teammate Gomez, the focus was on the race win following his victory last time out at Hixpania. A steady ride in the morning qualifier saw him start fifth in the GetzenChamp race. Riding strong in the opening laps, Gomez reached as high as second early on. But with arm pump hampering the Spaniard, he was unable to maintain his fast pace, eventually slipping back to sixth.
With the 2021 FIM Hard Enduro World Championship concluded, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing now turn their attention to the opening round of the FIM SuperEnduro World Championship, which takes place in Poland on December 4.
Billy Bolt: “WORLD CHAMPIONS! What an amazing feeling it is. It’s going to take a while to process this one. I can’t believe I’m the FIM Hard Enduro World Champion. It was a heck of a race today. We all knew what we had to do, and we made it happen. I rode great this morning in the qualifier, but I hurt my finger. I was struggling a little with that in the beginning of the race and made a lot of mistakes early on. But I settled myself, regrouped and recovered. When I got back up to second, I closed the gap to Mani to one minute, but didn’t want to risk anything. Riding into the finish line as the world champion was such an amazing moment. It’s been a great year and I can’t thank all of the team enough for their support. We did it!”
Alfredo Gomez: “Today didn’t quite go to plan. I was riding well, but right from the beginning I had arm pump and wasn’t able to push like I wanted to. I struggled to find a good rhythm and was making too many mistakes everywhere. The whole year has been difficult for me, I wasn’t able to train properly at the start because I had an infection in my knee and was off the bike for about four months. Slowly as the season went on, I was able to find my speed and obviously the highlight was my win at home at Hixpania Hard Enduro. I’m happy for Billy and the team for winning the championship and we’ll look ahead to next year now, get some good training done over the winter and keep fighting.”
1. Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM) 11 laps, 1:29:20.433
2. Billy Bolt (Husqvarna) 11 laps, 1:30:16.852
3. Mario Roman (Sherco) 11 laps, 1:32:05.524
4. Wade Young (Sherco) 10 laps, 1:31:29.066
5. Jonny Walker (Beta) 10 laps, 1:31:52.822
6. Alfredo Gomez (Husqvarna) 10 laps, 1:32:37.808
2021 FIM Hard Enduro World Championship (Final Standings)
1. Billy Bolt (Husqvarna) 104pts
2. Manuel Lettenbichler 104pts
3. Wade Young (Sherco) 83pts
4. Mario Roman (Sherco) 76pts
5. Jonny Walker (Beta) 66pts
6. Alfredo Gomez (Husqvarna) 63pts
7. Michael Walkner (GASGAS) 46pts
8. Teodor Kabakchiev (Husqvarna) 36pts
9. Taddy Blazusiak (GASGAS) 29pts
10. Dominik Olszowy (KTM) 24pts