Husqvarna’s Colton Haaker claimed his third world title, with the 2019 FIM SuperEnduro World Championship crown his following the final round in Bilbao, Spain, where his main competition Cody Webb was able to claim the round win but not the title.
The Maxxis FIM SuperEnduro World Champion was actually decided in the final seconds of the final race, making for an exciting if contentious end to the 2019 season. A few corners from the end of the race, with Webb on course to win his second race of the night, Haaker made another mistake and lost positions, leaving Webb with enough points to win the 2019 title.
However Alfredo Gomez, teammate of Haaker, played a considerable role in the outcome of the season. The Spanish rider, playing to team orders, allowed Colton Haaker to finish third in the final, claiming the SuperEnduro World Championship title he had worked hard towards all year. Gomez was later disqualified for this action, although it was not explicitly against the rules. In a final shocking twist, Haaker suffered a huge crash over the finish line and lost consciousness, waking to find his team around him, congratulating him.
Colton Haaker – 2019 SuperEnduro World Champ
“I’m a little bit lost for words right now, it’s been an eventful night but to end it as the world champion is an incredible feeling. I can’t thank the guys at Husqvarna enough for the support they’ve given me, not just tonight but throughout the entire series. This title is very much a team effort as it is mine. Tonight was tough. I’m not quite sure yet what it was but it certainly wasn’t my best night on a bike. The track wasn’t good and I had some serious arm pump issues, which is something I never really get. I made so many mistakes in race one and was riding too tight. Then I got it together in race two and felt more like I should. It was all on the line for the final and I did what I needed to do on the first few laps. But then the arm pump kicked in again and I stalled my bike so many times. With about a lap to go I got things together again and put everything I had left into that lap and won the title. It wasn’t pretty, but it doesn’t matter, we’re world champions and it feels awesome.”
SuperEnduro Round 5 – Bilbao, Spain
Entering the closing round of the series as the championship leader, Colton Haaker held a 12-point advantage over his closest rival, with just three races and superpole points remaining in the 2019 championship. Although feeling unsettled on the extremely slippery and inconsistent course, Haaker still managed to power his FX 350 to the second fastest time in superpole, securing two valuable points.
In the opening race, a run of mistakes put the Husqvarna rider on the back foot early on. Finding his rhythm as the race progressed, Haaker worked his way up the leader board to secure a third-place finish. With the start order reversed for race two, he put in his best ride of the night, quickly taking control of the lead. Controlling the pace up front, he rode clear to claim victory.
With the outcome of this year’s championship fight coming down to the final moto, Haaker held the point’s advantage as they lined up at the start. A strong opening lap put him right where he needed to be, but a series of errors dramatically saw him slip back down the leader board. Putting in a fighting final lap, Haaker rode his way back into contention with help from Gomez and clinched the 2019 FIM SuperEnduro World Championship.
On the tight and extremely technical track in the Bizkaia Arena, defending SuperEnduro champ Cody Webb put in a superb performance to take the overall round win meanwhile.
Cody got his night off to the perfect start by posting the fastest time in the Superpole qualification lap, earning himself first gate pick and three valuable championship points in the process. With the first final restarted following a problem with the track, which caused the initial running to be red flagged, Cody tamed the tight, log-strewn course to claim his first win of the night.
In the reverse-grid second final, traffic was once again an issue. Nevertheless, Webb deftly made his way through the pack to take second place and with it a chance of fighting for the title in the third heat.
After the gate dropped for the final race of the night, Webb immediately made his way to the front of the field and began to stretch the gap over the second-placed competitor. Riding consistently and without mistakes, Cody crossed the line comfortably ahead of second-placed Blazusiak.
Unfortunately, despite his dominant performance in the race and on the night, Cody’s points haul wasn’t enough to claim the 2019 championship title – placing just four points behind at the end of the five rounds.
“Obviously I’m disappointed with the final championship result tonight, I felt I rode really good out there today and deserved the title. The night started off well with a good time in superpole and then in the restarted first final I took my time, rode smooth and took the win by a good margin. I am kicking myself now for the mistakes I made in the second final, I got caught up in traffic a few times, but still got second – I knew then I would have to really go for it in the last one. I got off the line well in the third final and set about catching Colton. After I got past him, I just stayed smooth and could see he was struggling. I’m happy because I did my best, won that third final and believe the championship should have been mine. It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but I’ll learn from it, and come back even stronger next time.”
Also enjoying a strong night in Spain, multiple SuperEnduro World Champion Taddy Blazusiak claimed top-three positions in all of the night’s three finals with two runner-up and one third place finish. At the close of racing, the popular Polish rider missed out on the overall runner-up spot by just two points.
Coming into the final round 27 points down meant challenging for the SuperEnduro title was always a longshot, but Taddy continued to fight right to the final corner. Blazusiak ultimately placed third in the championship with a sizeable 79-point advantage over the fourth-placed finisher.
“This was always going to be a tough one. I am happy with how I rode today and feel I did a good job. My pace over the whole season has been good, there have just been a few instances where luck simply hasn’t been on our side. I have had some amazing events this year, I obviously still have the speed – overall race wins in Hungary and Poland show that. The track here was tight and I feel the championship should be decided on more of a flowing track that lets us really race. But this is SuperEnduro, I know I can still improve in a couple of areas – Superpole for one is something I need to work on. I’ll come back swinging next year for the title, I would love to get a seventh!”
For Haaker’s teammate Alfredo Gomez the final round of the championship was an eventful one. Hoping to deliver his best in front of his home crowd, the Spaniard carded two fourth place results in the opening two races, and was later disqualified from the third race.
“I wanted to put in a good performance for my home fans tonight, but we had a really difficult track to deal with and it was so easy to make a mistake. I had two good rides in the first races and was pleased with things. Race three was a bit chaotic and I could also see that my teammate Colton was struggling, so I did my best to protect him and keep his title hopes alive. In the end he is world champion and I’m happy for him and the team. For myself I’m pleased with certain elements of my championship. A race win in Poland was fantastic. Of course my elbow injury in Germany was tough to deal with but I came back to finish on the podium in Madrid and I’m delighted about that. I feel like after the injuries of the past 12 months I’m out of the woods now and can focus on making a fit and healthy start for the World Enduro Super Series. My target is to try and win the hard enduro races, starting with round one at Extreme Lagares next month.”
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