ROCKSTAR ENERGY HUSQVARNA FACTORY RACING YOUNGSTER TAKES EARLY LEAD IN WORLD ENDURO SUPER SERIES
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Billy Bolt has claimed victory at the opening round of the 2018 World Enduro Super Series – the Extreme XL Lagares in Portugal. Making a triumphant start to his WESS campaign, the win marks Bolt’s first major victory in outdoor, international enduro competition. Ensuring a successful time for Husqvarna at the Portuguese Hard Enduro race, Graham Jarvis brought his TE 300i home in fifth.
Determined to make a strong start to the inaugural World Enduro Super Series, rising talent Bolt began the three-day Extreme XL Lagares race in confident fashion. With two days of qualification before Sunday’s main race, Bolt got off to a winning start in Friday night’s Endurocross. Fresh off his runner-up result in the SuperEnduro World Championship, the British rider looked at ease on the muddy and wet course. Comfortably winning his heat race, he then went on to place ahead of Jonny Walker and teammate Colton Haaker for victory in the Super Final.
Day two of racing took riders to downtown Porto for the infamous Urban Prologue. Racing through narrow cobbled streets around the city’s touristic quayside, Bolt fought hard against rival Walker but had to be content with the runner-up result.
As the third fastest qualifier to start Sunday’s main race, Bolt knew that a tough two-lap event lay ahead. Working his way up to second at the end of lap one, he attacked hard on lap two. Using the back-markers to his advantage he caught and passed early pace setter Walker with one-quarter of a lap to go. Charging his way to the finishing arena he took the win and the first victory of the 2018 WESS championship.
As a three-time winner of the Extreme XL Lagares, Graham Jarvis entered the 14th edition of the race as one of the main favourites for victory among the 47 Pro class competitors. Knowing a tough couple of days awaited him, the Husqvarna rider rode a series of calculated qualification races to secure his starting position of sixth for Sunday’s main race.
Riding smoothly during the opening lap, Jarvis worked his way into a strong position – ready to attack for the latter half of the race. However, negotiating an extremely slippery section of the course, he injured his upper left leg. Although in discomfort, he gallantly soldiered on to record an extremely impressive fifth place result.
Competing in Extreme XL Lagares for the first time, Colton Haaker experienced a mixed event. Feeling most at home during Friday’s Endurocross, the two-time SuperEnduro World Champion battled hard for victory only to miss out on the final lap. Riding well during Sunday’s main race, Haaker looked to be enjoying his time on the demanding Portuguese terrain. But a crash at the mid-way section of the race saw him fail to finish.
The World Enduro Super Series continues with round two at the Erzbergrodeo Hare Scramble in Austria, June 1-3.
Billy Bolt: “Winning Extreme XL Lagares is a fantastic way to start the World Enduro Super Series. With this being my first time competing in the race, I honestly wasn’t sure how it would go. It’s such a demanding and technical event that it requires a lot of past experience to fight for the victory. So to end it on the top step of the podium is even a little more than I expected. Friday and Saturday’s racing were really good to be fair. It was nice to win the Endurocross following such a close battle. The Porto Prologue was crazy. I’d never ridden anything like it before and even though I watched all the videos, they just didn’t do the scale of the course any justice. Skimming past spectators while flat out up cobbled streets was an unbelievable feeling. For Sunday’s race I knew I was in a good position starting third. With Jonny Walker and Cody Webb up ahead it gave me something to chase. I settled in well and surprised myself by catching and passing Cody early on. Jonny was riding great on lap one and I couldn’t close the gap, but once we started lap two and caught the back markers I was able to gain ground and by three quarters distance I was in the lead. I knew the overall result was based on corrected time so I kept charging to the finish line. With Extreme XL Lagares forming round one of WESS it’s great to be leading the championship at this early stage.”
Results – World Enduro Super Series, Round 1, Extreme XL Lagares
1. Billy Bolt (Husqvarna)
2. Jonny Walker (KTM)
3. Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM)
4. Taddy Blazusiak (KTM)
5. Graham Jarvis (Husqvarna)
6. Cody Webb (KTM)
7. Wade Young (Sherco)
8. Paul Bolton (KTM)
9. Travis Teasdale (Beta)
10. Pol Tarres (Husqvarna)…