Taddy Blazusiak opens 2018 SuperEnduro season on a high
Cody Webb and Billy Bolt complete Krakow overall podium
Taddy Blazusiak has made a triumphant return, taking victory at the opening FIM SuperEnduro round in Poland, taking second across the three races, to edge out Cody Webb and Billy Bolt, who didn’t show the same consistency.
The six-time world champion showed he’s lost none of his speed despite a year’s absence to claim the overall win in Krakow. Announcing the SuperEnduro series opener as his return from retirement, Blazusiak hammered home a 2-2-2 scorecard in front of his home crowd to end the night as the overall winner.
With near-perfect starts, Blazusiak initially took the lead in each of the night’s three races. Due to a lack of competitive time on the bike, Taddy slowed towards the end of the motos. But by holding on for second, his trio of runner-up positions were enough to secure the top step of the overall podium.
“It’s an amazing feeling to come back and win, especially in my home town of Krakow. To be honest, I played it smart tonight. After being away from racing for a whole year I knew the intensity of SuperEnduro was going to be tough – it’s so difficult to prepare for, no matter how hard you train. I was suffering with arm-pump today but I think the secret is being comfortable with being uncomfortable. Before my retirement, I won everything that I wanted to win, so to be able to come back for another go gives me the chance to enjoy my racing. The next round in Riesa is the only other round I have ridden already, the rest will all be new so that makes a nice challenge. I came back to enjoy my racing and now I’m going into the next round with the red plate — I couldn’t be happier.”
Offering Blazusiak the closest challenge in Poland, Webb joined him on the podium as runner-up. Claiming two race wins, Webb showed he was more than a match for Blazusiak. However, a bad race two put paid to him wrestling the overall victory away from the Polish rider.
“It’s awesome to be back racing in Europe again. I had some amazing battles out there tonight. The second race didn’t go so well, the reversed start caught a lot of us out. I managed to claw my way back to fifth, but it wasn’t quite enough. I rode great in the other two races, even after making a couple of mistakes. I had some great battles with Taddy, it’s good to see him riding so well. I had the speed to reel him in, so that’s nice to know. I’m happy to be back and looking forward to fighting for the rest of the series.”
Despite having never previously raced indoors, Billy Bolt immediately showed he had what it takes to challenge the world’s best by ending the 2018 SuperEnduro World Championship opener on the third step of the podium.
On an unpredictable and challenging track, Bolt gelled well with the conditions to go on to finish fifth in the opening final. In race two Bolt put in his best performance of the night, riding to victory. Picking up fourth place in race three, he finished third overall.
Making his Husqvarna debut in Poland, Alfredo Gomez finished a strong third in race one, before several mistakes hampered his progress throughout the night and the Spaniard eventually finished fifth overall.
“I’m really happy with how it’s gone today. On the whole, a race win and finishing on the overall podium is really encouraging. In the first race I was suffering from arm pump a little and wasn’t able to push like I wanted to. The second race was good but in the third I was tiring a little, but it wasn’t too bad. You can never really prepare for the intensity of SuperEnduro, no matter how hard you try to push yourself in training. I’m looking forward to round two, I just want to keep doing what I’m doing, enjoy the racing and enjoy the experience. It’s amazing to race in front of the fans like this, their cheering really motivates you to give that little bit extra.”
Returning to competition having sat out much of the AMA EnduroCross Championship in the USA due to an elbow injury, reigning two-time SuperEnduro World Champion Haaker didn’t enjoy the best of nights in Poland.
Although starting strongly by topping the SuperPole hot-lap, multiple crashes through each of the three races saw Haaker end his night sixth overall.
“It’s not been the perfect start to the series for me. That first turn had a pretty gnarly obstacle and I got caught up in the first two races. I had to fight my way back from nearly last in both races and although I was riding well there wasn’t enough time. I won the Superpole, so I know my pace is there. I’ve not raced since September, so I am a little race-rusty, too. I’ve got some things I can build from so hopefully I can come back stronger.”
“It was not my best day today. The first heat went well, but there was a bit of a mess from the start in the second. Then in the third heat I crashed in the log section and lost all my confidence. I’ll work on my pace and try to build some feeling with the bike before the next round in Germany.”
For Jonny Walker, the series opener in Poland did not get off to the best of starts. Third in race one, Walker then found himself victim of a first corner pile-up in races two and three. He ended his night seventh overall.
“I didn’t feel comfortable at all tonight. My thumb was giving me some discomfort, but overall, the track didn’t suit me so well and I couldn’t get into a good rhythm. I’ll put it down to experience and move on.”
The FIM SuperEnduro World Championship continues with round two in Riesa, Germany on January 6th 2018.
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