Red Bull KTM Factory Racing are excited to officially unveil their four-rider line-up for this year’s inaugural World Enduro Super Series. Hard enduro specialists Taddy Blazusiak, and Jonny Walker will be joined by classic enduro experts Josep Garcia and Nathan Watson. FMF KTM Factory Racing’s Cody Webb also joins the team.
The World Enduro Super Series combines a mix of hard enduro, classic enduro as well as cross-country and beach racing events in a seven-round series run over the course of 2018. WESS offers a new challenge to the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team and will provide a true test of skill, stamina and adaptability.
Opening with the Extreme XL Lagares hard enduro in Portugal on May 11-13, each of KTM’s five official riders will bring their own unique skills set to the new series. All hoping to excel in their specialist events, in the races in which they have less experience the focus is very much on rising to new challenges. Only at the climax of the season will the ‘Ultimate Enduro Champion’ be crowned.
Multiple world champion Taddy Blazusiak cites the WESS as the main reason for his return to competition. The Erzbergrodeo winner sees the WESS as a stand-out title he’d like to add to his already glowing CV. Taddy narrowly missed out on claiming a seventh world title at the final round of the 2018 SuperEnduro World Championship and is more fired up than ever to win the World Enduro Super Series.
Taddy Blazusiak: “I believe the WESS is what enduro needs at the minute to progress as a sport. I am really excited about the championship and I am really looking forward to the start of it. To be honest, I like every single event on the calendar. They are all unique and very special and from the first to the last race I think it is going to be really good fun. Part of the biggest challenge is going from the SuperEnduro series straight into the outdoor races and then having to adapt to all the different styles of events. My ultimate goal is definitely to do all I can to win the World Enduro Super Series, that’s why I am back racing. I really believe I have a shot at it – I am going to do everything I can to make it happen.”
Experienced hard enduro rider Jonny Walker is another with his eye on the WESS title. The former Erzberg winner is as at home racing on a beach as he is in extreme conditions. An excellent all-rounder, Jonny is highly-motivated ahead of the new championship start.
Jonny Walker: “I’m really looking forward to the start of the World Enduro Super Series. It’s a new challenge for everybody and should make for some really good racing. To be honest, I’m not looking forward to just one race either, I’m looking forward to the full series. We have Erzberg and Romaniacs, which I have done before, but there’s also a few races like Le Trefle and the Red Bull Knock Out beach race which pose new challenges. I think to win the series, consistency will be key. I have a lot of learning to do, but my goal is to try and win as many races as possible and hopefully be in a good place come the final rounds of the series.”
2017 Enduro2 World Champion Josep Garcia has spent the off-season focusing on the WESS and the different styles of riding required to excel in the series. Previously Garcia’s training would consist solely of special test enduro and motocross practice, with hard enduro now added to the Spaniard’s calendar Josep has been spending a lot of time on his KTM 300 EXC TPI, to familiarize himself with terrain synonymous with some of the world’s toughest offroad races.
Josep Garcia: “The World Enduro Super Series will be a massive new challenge for me. There are a lot of different races, sand races, extreme and classic enduro. It’s going to be a very interesting year. It will be difficult, but my goal is of course to win. I believe that with the right training and if I can gain some knowledge from my more experienced team-mates, I will be in with a chance. I really enjoy the technical riding and I have been putting a lot of work in. It will be interesting to see if it has all paid off come the first race in Portugal.”
Nathan Watson’s background in motocross and beach racing sees him as one of the favorites to take the win at the final round of the WESS, the Red Bull Knock Out in the Netherlands. Similar to team-mate Garcia, it will be the hard enduros that pose the biggest challenge to the young Brit. Following two years of riding classic enduro Watson knows where his strengths lie and where he needs to concentrate his training.
Nathan Watson: “I’m really excited to be a part of the World Enduro Super Series. It’s going to be a big challenge for all of us as it’s made up of so many different types of enduro. I know the extreme races will be tough for me, I have never done one before but I know what to expect. I have been doing a lot of specialist training, so hopefully it will pay off. Of course, the event I’m looking forward to the most is the final round – the Red Bull Knock Out. I love beach races, I have ridden beach races all my life so I am really confident in the sand and it has to be one of my favorite types of terrain. I think the winner of the whole series will be the rider who makes the most of his strengths, while minimizing his losses – hopefully that can be me.”
FMF KTM Factory Racing’s Cody Webb recently added the 2018 SuperEnduro World Championship to his 2017 Endurocross title. On form and ready to take on the WESS challenge, the former trials rider is looking forward to contesting the different styles of events but is aware of the size of the task ahead of him.
Cody Webb: “The World Enduro Super Series is a whole new thing and I’m really excited to be a part of it. It’s going to be really crazy doing all these different events, you’ve got classic enduro, extreme, beach races – it’s going to really help me branch out and widen my abilities. With the WESS, there are so many different types of riding, but fortunately riding for KTM, I have got a great choice of machinery for all the different disciplines we will ride during the series. For the extreme stuff I think I will be riding the new KTM 300 EXC TPI 2-stroke, but for the classic enduros I will probably stay on the KTM 350 EXC-F. On the beach I think I will be riding the KTM 450 EXC-F – I’m a decent sized guy so I need all the power I can get. I can’t wait to get started and hopefully by the end of the year I’ll have a chance at taking the title.”
The first round of the World Enduro Super Series is Extreme XL Lagares, Portugal on May 11-13.
WORLD ENDURO SUPER SERIES – 2018 SCHEDULE
Round 1. Extreme XL Lagares (Portugal) May 11-13
Round 2. Erzbergrodeo (Austria) May 31-June 3
Round 3. Trefle Lozerien AMV (France) June 8-10
Round 4. Red Bull Romaniacs (Romania) July 24-28
Round 5. Red Bull 111 Megawatt (Poland) September 8-9
Round 6. Gotland Grand National (Sweden) October 26-27
Round 7. Red Bull Knock Out (The Netherlands) November 10
Photo: KTM – Marcin Kin