Rnd 1, World Enduro Super Series – Extreme XL Lagares, Portugal
Following months of training the time has come for the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team to take on round one of the World Enduro Super Series – Extreme XL Lagares in Portugal. The five-rider team of Taddy Blazusiak, Jonny Walker, Josep Garcia, Nathan Watson and FMF KTM Factory Racing’s Cody Webb will contest the three-day hard enduro held in the Penafiel region of Portugal on May 11-13.
Now in its 14th year, Extreme XL Lagares is known as one of the most demanding hard enduro races in the world. Comprising a mixture of endurocross, urban and hard enduro, the Portuguese event is designed to test both rider and machine to the maximum.
The KTM Factory riders will begin with an endurocross staged on the Friday evening, followed by a Prologue on Saturday held on the streets of the picturesque world heritage city of Porto. For Sunday’s main event, KTM riders return to Quintandona for the hard enduro main event. The varied terrain consists of everything from slippery riverbeds to twisting forest tracks. Start positions for Sunday are calculated from the times of the Endurocross and Prologue – the winner is the first to cross the line after approximately four hours of racing.
The 2018 Extreme XL Lagares marks the first event of the inaugural World Enduro Super Series – a seven-round championship made up of hard enduro, classic enduro, cross-country and beach racing, designed to find the Ultimate Enduro Champion.
Taddy Blazusiak’s main reason for returning to competition was the World Enduro Super Series. The multiple world champion will be aiming to open his WESS account with a win at Lagares.
Taddy Blazusiak: “I can’t wait to get started at Extreme XL Lagares. The WESS is something I have been waiting for all my career and I plan to do everything I can to win the series.”
Finishing as runner-up in 2017, Jonny Walker hopes to go one better this year and start his WESS campaign as he means to carry on.
Jonny Walker: “I have been looking forward to that start of the series for a while now and finally it’s here. Lagares is the perfect opener as it is a mix of all different styles of riding. Hopefully I can do well here and keep that momentum as we move onto Erzberg.”
Reigning Enduro2 World Champion Josep Garcia has been working hard over the winter, building on his hard enduro skills in preparation for the WESS. The Spaniard is aware of the challenge but keen to do well in this first year of the series.
Josep Garcia: “The WESS is a massive challenge for me and starting with Extreme XL Lagares will really put all my training to the test. I know consistency will be important throughout the series so I hope to get a good finish here and then keep on building as the year goes on.”
The World Enduro Super Series possibly offers the biggest challenge to Nathan Watson. Coming from a motocross background before EnduroGP, the Brit will excel on the classic enduros and beach race. With the series starting with a hard enduro, Watson will be aiming to claim a good finish without making too many mistakes.
Nathan Watson: “I’m so excited to start the new series on Friday. I know the hard enduros will be tough for me, but I have put in a lot of training over the off-season and I’m confident of holding my own. A good result here in Portugal will help set me up for the rest of the year.”
2018 SuperEnduro World Champion Cody Webb is no stranger to hard enduro and will be aiming for a top result at Lagares. The Portuguese three-day event should suit the former trials rider – Webb, on form and keen to take on this new challenge, will definitely be hoping to top the podium.
Cody Webb: “With so many different styles of races it’s definitely going to be a challenge for me and I will have to adapt my style to succeed. I believe it’s what the enduro world needs and I’m honoured to be a part of it. I’m excited to start the WESS here in Portugal.”
Extreme XL Lagares starts on Friday May 11 in Portugal.
World Enduro Super Series – Schedule
Round 1. Extreme XL Lagares (Portugal) May 11-13
Round 2. Erzbergrodeo Red Bull Hare Scramble (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