The 2019 Hixpania Hard Enduro was held across three days, and made up Round 4 of the World Enduro Super Series.
Graham Jarvis took the overall win on Sunday, tied on 44-points with Alfredo Gomez. Mario Roman won the Sunday event.
Leaving Round 4, Jarvis holds a 120-point lead over Lettenbichler, with Mario Roman a further 30-points behind. Afredo Gomez and Billy Bolt complete the top five.
Getting this weekend’s three-day race underway in spectacular style the medieval town of Aguilar de Campoo in northern Spain was treated to some world-class Enduro racing. In the heart of the town square, a short-but-challenging Superenduro course was laid out for the 350 competitors, all of which entertained thousands of spectators who lined the trackside.
Home favourite Alfredo Gomez made a winning start to Spain’s Hixpania Hard Enduro, with victory in Friday’s SuperEncierro Prologue. Making it a 1-2 for Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing, Billy Bolt joined his teammate on the podium for second, while Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jonny Walker completed the top three.
Building on Friday’s SuperEncierro Prologue, day two at the Hixpania Hard Enduro saw the 350 competitors compete in a challenging Cross-Country race. A tough 50-kilometre loop marked out around the town’s nearby lake, it saw the pro riders in the Knight category complete three energy-sapping laps.
Putting in a strong and commanding ride on the second day of racing at Hixpania Hard Enduro, Afredo Gomez once again triumphed in front of his home crowd to claim victory in the three-lap Cross-Country. In what proved to be an excellent day for Husqvarna, Gomez was followed home by his teammates Graham Jarvis and Billy Bolt in second and third respectively.
Saturday Campoo X-Treme Top 5
Alfredo Gomez (Husqvarna – ESP) 4:40:48.790
Graham Jarvis (Husqvarna – GB) 4:41.14.980
Billy Bolt (Husqvarna – GB) 4:43:34.070
Mario Roman (Sherco – ESP) 4:45:31.614
Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM – GER) 4:49:34.667;
Sunday Mitas Lost Roads
In the final hotly contested battle, it was Mario Roman who narrowly beat Jarvis for the win in Sunday’s Mitas Lost Roads Hard Enduro race, securing him an overall podium result of third. Event leader Alfredo Gomez placed fifth in Sunday’s race, slipping to second in the event’s overall classification.
The third and final day of racing saw the 70 riders who qualified through from Saturday’s Campoo de X-Treme race tackle the tough and demanding Lost Roads Hard Enduro. During the two-hour 30-minute race, a short-course laid out around a challenging quarry and surrounding forest pushed competitors to their limits.
A Le Mans style start saw riders race on foot to their bikes, which were located in a cave. Roman was first to enter with Taddy Blazusiak hot on his heels. The duo swapped and changed the race lead during the opening two laps as everyone settled into the rhythm of the race.
Knowing that only a top-two result would suffice if rival Gomez were to place fifth or better, Jarvis determinedly worked his way towards the front of the field. With one hour to go both Jarvis and Roman had broken clear of Manuel Lettenbichler in third. Battling closely, they entered the final lap wheel-to-wheel.
Roman managed to edge clear slightly as they entered the finishing arena, however a mistake on a downhill allowed Jarvis to momentarily regain the lead. But Roman was eager to impress his home crowd and fought his way back in front to power up the final climb for the final day’s race win.
Although losing the battle, Jarvis ultimately won the war, with second place enough to give him the overall Hixpania Hard Enduro win and with it move to the top of the championship standings.
Graham Jarvis – P1 Overall
“What an event and it’s crazy to think I’m leading the WESS now. I’m not going to get too excited just yet though and my plan is to take each race as it comes. Romaniacs is going to be the game changer – hopefully I can at least finish it this year. It was a tough race today I was still tired from yesterday – it was fast but there were still some technical bits. I think everyone was really feeling it and I know I was on the limit today.”
Entering the final day of racing having won the previous two days, Gomez was unable to respond to the attack by Jarvis. Admitting to struggling early on, he could only finish fifth for the runner-up result.
Alfredo Gomez – P2 Overall
“I tried to push as hard as I could today, but just ran out of strength in the last half of the race – no power at all. All I could do was to keep on going, try not to crash and stay on the bike. It was great fun racing out there with all the home fans cheering. I’m sorry I couldn’t bring home the win for them but overall, I am happy with how the race has gone and I gave it my all. Congratulations to Graham, he did it again.”
Putting in a strong ride on Sunday for fourth, Billy Bolt ended his weekend fourth overall. Charging his way to third in Sunday’s Lost Roads, Lettenbichler completed the overall top five. The World Enduro Super Series continues with round five at Red Bull Romaniacs in Romania on July 30 – August 3.
Mario Roman – P3 Overall
“It feels amazing to take the win in the final race. I had such a tough time yesterday on the Cross-Country, crashing six times and bending my handlebars. Despite that I still pushed hard and managed to finish fourth. Today, I wasn’t thinking too much about points, I just wanted to take the win. Graham was really strong and all the others were right up there at the beginning. Halfway through I was thinking it’s not possible to keep going for another hour-and-a-half, but I kept going and we did it. I don’t know how many fans came out to watch the race and cheer on the riders, but to hear them all shouting my name made it possible to keep going and finish the race, so thank you very much to them.”
Billy Bolt – P4 Overall
“I’m so happy with my result today I really wasn’t expecting to do so well. I didn’t get a good start and was down in ninth for the first few laps. I was really feeling it and after hurting my shoulder yesterday I just had no power at all today. I tried to stay mistake-free and avoid having to muscle the bike around too much. I was making a good pace and started picking off the riders in front. I saw Alfredo towards the end and really went for it to catch and pass him. There’s still a lot of work to do to get somewhere close to where I was last year, but I’ve definitely achieved a lot of personal goals this weekend.”
Jonny Walker – P6 Overall
“I’m happy with my riding over the course of the weekend, but my result isn’t where I want to be. I made a stupid mistake yesterday and bent my handlebars, that cost me about seven minutes. I rode well after that and tried to save my wrist as best as I could, five hours on the bike was a long time though. I started off well today but after about an hour-and-a-half I started to struggle a bit. When you’re going up and down hills like that it’s so tough on your arms and I ran out of strength. With a bit of a rest now before Romaniacs I’ll try to work on my strength and come back stronger.”
Taddy Blazusiak – P7 Overall
“I have gone through a lot of pain this weekend but I saved some points and my result isn’t too bad considering. I have got a few weeks to heal now as I’m sure I won’t have done my finger any good. Luckily there is a good break before Romaniacs at the end of July.”
Josep Garcia – P9 Overall
“The event has been ok – I’m happy to take good points from the weekend and it’s always good to race in front of your home crowd. Yesterday’s cross-country went well and I finished inside the top 10 so today I was able to start in the cave, which was good fun. There were some sections in yesterday’s race and today that were perhaps a little too extreme, I think there needs to be the correct balance for all riders. We have Romaniacs next and I have a year’s experience now so at least I know what to expect. I’ll keep working hard with my training and hopefully get a good finish next round.”
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