With just three rounds remaining on the 2018 calendar, WESS riders now move away from the hard enduro events that made up the majority of the races to date and take on two cross-country competitions. The first is Hawkstone Park, a circuit synonymous with world-class racing having hosted international motocross for over 60 years.
2017 saw the Hawkstone Park Cross-Country run as a round of the EnduroGP World Championship. Nathan Watson won the top class with teammate Josep Garcia finishing third in the Enduro2 category. This year, the pair will be joined by hard enduro star Taddy Blazusiak as they take on the tough, sandy terrain of the famous venue.
Fresh from his season-best fifth-place finish at Red Bull 111 Megawatt, Watson is keen to carry his momentum into the cross-country at Hawkstone Park. Despite the added pressure of a home race, the young Brit is looking forward to impressing in front of the local fans.
Nathan Watson: “I’ve been looking forward to Hawkstone ever since it was added to the calendar. I did well there last year so I have a good idea of what to expect and how to train for it. The sand at Hawkstone suits me well and I don’t mind when things get bumpy, which they will with so many riders competing this year. There is a little added pressure racing in the UK, but it’s not often we get to perform in front of friends and family so hopefully I can put on a good show. It’s definitely going to be a tough race, you have to gauge your speed right from the beginning, but I’m feeling fit and can’t wait to get racing.”
Also enjoying a solid performance at Red Bull 111 Megawatt, Garcia finished just one place behind Watson in sixth. The result moved the 2017 Enduro2 World Champion to fifth overall in the WESS standings. With the cross-country format perfectly suiting the young Spaniards style, he will be aiming to close down the gap to the championship leaders even further.
Josep Garcia: “Last year was a great race for me and this year I hope for another good result. I will be riding my 250 4-stroke again so I am looking forward to that, too. Although the race is a little shorter than last year, it’s still going to be very tough. There are a lot of good riders there, but I feel fit and confident.”
Finishing as runner-up at his own signature race in Poland, Taddy Blazusiak showed great pace on the fast, technical track. The multiple Superenduro and Endurocross champion is well known for his out-and-out speed and aggressive style – both should suit the Hawkstone event perfectly.
Taddy Blazusiak: “Megawatt went really well for me – it was great to be back on the podium and the result has given my confidence a boost. I’m looking forward to Hawkstone Park now, it’s definitely going to be a challenge, but that’s what enduro is all about. I have had some success at cross-country before so I’m hoping to do well in the UK.”
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jonny Walker will not be competing at round six due to the injuries he sustained in Poland. The British rider is recovering well following surgery to his hand and arm and aims to be back on his bike as soon as possible.
WORLD ENDURO SUPER SERIES – 2018 SCHEDULE
Rnd 1. Extreme XL Lagares (Portugal) May 11-13
Rnd 2. Erzbergrodeo (Austria) May 31-June 3
Rnd 3. Trèfle Lozérien AMV (France) June 8-10
Rnd 4. Red Bull Romaniacs (Romania) July 24-28
Rnd 5. Red Bull 111 Megawatt (Poland) September 8-9
Rnd 6. Hawkstone Park Cross-Country (England) September 22-23
Rnd 7. Gotland Grand National (Sweden) October 26-27
Rnd 8. Red Bull Knock Out (The Netherlands) November 10
Photo: © Future7Media – KTM Media Library