World Enduro Super Series 2018 – Round 6 – Hawkstone Park
Josep Garcia claims win across both days
Watson and Bolt claim minor podium positions
Images by Future7Media
Putting in a world-class performance, Josep Garcia stamped his authority on Saturday’s Sprint Enduro to secure a 35-second margin of victory over teammate Nathan Watson, while Billy Bolt edged out Spaniard Jaume Betriu by two seconds for third overall.
Garcia continued on Sunday putting in a dominant display of riding at the Hawkstone Park Cross-Country to claim a start-to-finish victory at round six of the World Enduro Super Series. Firmly stamping his authority on the proceedings, the rider continued on his winning performance to charge to the top step of the podium in Sunday’s Original Fast Eddy Cross-Country, securing his first win of the 2018 WESS series.
Hawkstone Park Cross-Country Day 1
Spain’s Josep Garcia (KTM) set the pace at round six of the World Enduro Super Series to secure the Fast Eddy Sprint Enduro win at the Hawkstone Park Cross-Country in Great Britain on Saturday.
Just two weeks after round five in Poland, Great Britain’s iconic Motocross circuit Hawkstone Park opened its gates for the sixth stop of WESS. Staged over two days, Saturday’s opening day of racing saw the 650 competitors entered stretch their race-legs on the sandy Motocross track and surrounding woodland for some fast and furious Sprint Enduro racing. With event organisers Fast Eddy Racing laying out two spectacular special tests – Motocross and Enduro – riders competed against the clock for a qualifying place in Sunday’s Original Fast Eddy Cross-Country.
Eager to show his speed, Garcia wasted no time in getting down to business. Immediately setting the bar high on the Enduro test, he blasted his way to an early 12-second lead over Bolt at the end of the opening test. Continuing his impressive pace, he controlled a lead of almost 29 seconds at the end of the third and final Enduro test over an improving Watson.
Moving on to the Motocross test and Garcia set the fastest time on the opening run. Watson answered back to top test two but with Garcia turning up the heat for the final run he pulled away to end his day as the clear winner.
After a disappointing opening test, Watson quickly found his feet and worked his way up the leaderboard for an eventual runner-up behind Garcia. Proving fast and comfortable on the technical Enduro test, Bolt held strong on the Motocross test to complete the top three. Despite pushing hard on the Motocross tests, Betriu was unable to gain enough ground back on Bolt and had to settle for fourth.
The fight for fifth was a closely fought affair between Taddy Blazusiak (KTM – POL), championship leader Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM – GER) and British wildcard Alex Snow (Honda – GB). With just six seconds separating the trio, Blazusiak took fifth with Lettenbichler sixth and Snow in seventh.
Sunday’s racing begins with a Youth and ‘Steady Eddy’ Cross-Country race in the morning before 250 competitors take on the Original Fast Eddy Cross-Country in the afternoon.
Hawkstone Park Cross-Country Day 1 – Fast Eddy Sprint Enduro
Josep Garcia (KTM – ESP) 26:35.130
Nathan Watson (KTM – GB) 27:10.418
Billy Bolt (Husqvarna – GB) 27:43.970
Jaume Betriu (KTM – ESP)
Taddy Blazusiak (KTM – POL) 27:54.442
Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM – GER) 27:55.715
Alex Snow (Honda – GB)
Jed Etchells (Sherco – GB) 28:40.370
Daryl Bolter (Husqvarna – GB) 28:52.215
Paul Bolton (KTM – GB) 29:14.262
Hawkstone Park Cross-Country Day 2
With scattered showers blowing through the iconic Hawkstone Park venue, the skies cleared for the start of Sunday’s two-and-a-half-hour Original Fast Eddy Cross-Country, much to the welcome relief of the 250 riders on the start line. After Saturday’s electric qualification event, Garcia took pole position and was quick to turn that advantage into a holeshot as the riders blasted off the start line.
With his nose in front, the Spaniard immediately set a blisteringly fast pace to distance himself from the chasing pack. Lap after lap the KTM rider edged further and further ahead from his closest challengers Watson and Bolt to charge his way to an eventual one-minute and 34-second margin of victory.
“I am really happy to win my first race in WESS. I felt really good in the race – I set off first and stayed in front the whole time. My team were great, they let me know how much of an advantage I had and so I was able to gauge the gap back to Nathan. I did have a couple of crashes but thankfully it was nothing too serious and I didn’t lose too much time. I’ve really enjoyed myself here at Hawkstone Park. It’s been an awesome weekend and to win both days is perfect. It’s given me added motivation for hopefully another good result at the next round.”
However, behind Garcia the battle raged on between Watson, Bolt and early contenders Taddy Blazusiak (KTM – POL) and Jaume Betriu (KTM – ESP) with British wildcard Alex Snow (Honda) and Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM – GER) close behind.
During the first hour both Watson and Bolt swapped positions as they broke clear of Blazusiak and Betriu. With a perfect pitstop, Watson jumped into second and it was a position he would control until the chequered flag. Despite keeping Watson honest throughout, Bolt had to settle for the final step of the podium, but in doing so also moved to the top of the championship standings.
“That was a great race. I got a good start and moved into second but then on the first lap a stone flew up and damaged my goggles, so I had to make an early pit stop. Billy caught me and was really fast through the stones – he was riding straight through the middle, but I was riding around them. I was gaining time back on the faster stuff and eventually got into a good rhythm and was able to move back into second. I didn’t have enough left to go after Josep, he was riding well today but overall I am happy with my result and it’s great to get my first WESS podium.”
“I knew my pace was good today but my plan was to just ride my own race and see where I finished. I knew Josep and Nathan would be fast so my goal was to stick to a steady rhythm and hopefully not be too far behind them. I caught up to Nathan at one point and was a little stronger in some of the sections. I started to crash a little bit though so just eased off a little and focused on claiming a safe third for the championship. The track was great, there was one rock-step that I was hitting quite hard and jumping – the crowd really loved it! The support from the fans was incredible – all the way around the track they were cheering and spurring me on. It’s fantastic to get my second podium in as many races and also take the lead in the championship. Of course there’s still a lot of racing left to go but this is motivation to keep working hard.”
While Watson and Bolt battled for the runner-up result, Blazusiak and Betriu similarly went head-to-head for fourth, with the KTM duo enjoying a race-long fight. Finding a bit more energy in the closing stages, Blazusiak was able to keep his pace high around the physically demanding sand circuit to secure fourth, with Betriu completing the top five.
Impressing in his debut WESS ride, Snow showed competitive pace amongst the series regulars. Unfazed, he charged his way to a well-deserved sixth. Enduring an up-and-down race, Lettenbichler’s progress was hampered by numerous crashes and he slipped down the running order to an eventual seventh.
Behind the top seven, Paul Bolton (KTM – GB), Graham Jarvis (Husqvarna – GB) and Alfredo Gomez (Husqvarna – ESP) rounded out the top 10.
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