Wade Young Tops 111 Megawatt from Blazusiak and Bolt
Lettenbichler continues to hold WESS lead
Images by Future7Media
Sherco Factory Racing’s Wade Young claimed victory at Red Bull 111 Megawatt in Poland, Round 5 of the World Enduro Super Series. Securing his second consecutive WESS race win, Young claimed a memorable victory over Taddy Blazusiak and Billy Bolt in third.
Great Britain’s Nathan Watson (KTM) has set the pace at Poland’s Red Bull 111 Megawatt to top qualification for round five of the World Enduro Super Series. Relishing the deep sandy terrain of Europe’s largest coal mine, Watson led home a KTM Factory Racing 1-2-3, with teammates Josep Garcia (ESP) and Jonny Walker (GB) second and third respectively.
Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Billy Bolt (GB) was fourth fastest with home favourite Taddy Blazusiak (KTM – POL) completing the top five.
With 1000 competitors eager for action at round five’s Red Bull 111 Megawatt, the opening day of competition saw riders compete for a place in Sunday’s main event by battling it out on a 12-minute-long sandy Motocross special test and the world’s longest Endurocross track.
“It feels great to qualify fastest for round five of WESS. When I saw the sand quarry I knew I could put in some quick times as it’s the terrain I’m most comfortable in. The Motocross test was really good and even though it was rough on lap two it rode faster. There was better grip in the corners and you could really push hard. The Endurocross test was long, rough and tough, with some big jumps, too. Overall, it’s been a great day and hopefully I can continue this form for tomorrow. I’ve no real idea what to expect but I’ll give it my best shot. Hopefully I can get a good start and put myself into a good position on lap one and be there when it counts at the end.”
After a busy day of qualification on Saturday, the 500 fastest riders in this year’s Red Bull 111 Megawatt took to the start line in Europe’s largest coal mine for Sunday’s feature race. Faced with a demanding and physical 30-kilometre course that weaved its way around the quarry, the addition of hot weather and dusty tracks ensured a gruelling three-lap race for the world’s best Enduro riders.
In what was a dramatic turn of events, series leader Jonny Walker crashed out of the race on lap two of three, while Germany’s Manuel Lettenbichler overcame a slow start to place fourth and with it take control of the championship standings with three rounds remaining.
As pole sitter, Nathan Watson was quick to claim the holeshot when competitors blasted off the line at precisely 1.11pm. Leading through the Motocross and Endurocross sections, Watson slipped back one position when Walker found a way past his teammate as they entered the quarry. Spending the opening lap sizing each other and the terrain out, Walker controlled the race lead as Young, Blazusiak, and Bolt all shadowed him.
However, drama quickly struck as they headed into the mine section for lap two when Walker crashed in the dust. Young duly inherited the lead and it was a position he would hold until the chequered flag at the end of lap three, building a winning margin of over two minutes.
Wade Young – P1
“It was so important to manage this race well. I felt good, and to win here after winning at Red Bull Romaniacs is awesome. I’m so happy right now. I got myself close to the front and then ahead of Jonny when he crashed. I think we would have had a great battle – it’s not nice to see a rider crash out. I feel like I almost had a perfect race. At the start I saw the flag drop but I was a little behind, so I kept it flat out around the outside. A few riders fell, which put me about fourth. I had a few little crashes myself but I managed to settle things down and use my speed to good effect. I put it together and felt strong. It’s awesome to get the win.”
Behind him the fight for the remainder of the podium places proved close between Blazusiak, Bolt, Watson and Lettenbichler — who overcame a slow start. Fending off a late attack by Bolt, Blazusiak claimed the runner-up result in his home race.
Taddy Blazusiak – P2
“I’m super happy to be on the podium here, especially carrying an injury. I broke a finger at Romaniacs, and I have more or less no strength or movement in it. It’s been a tough season for me, so I know I just have to tough it out and, well, things worked out great here. Second is a great result for me. I had to take things carefully on the motocross section because I was struggling to keep my hands on the bars where it was so rough. I was second during the first lap and the guys ahead of my were really charging. I got a little arm pump but once that eased I started to push hard. I had a bit of a mishap coming into the pits on lap two, but the rest of the race went well. I feel like I’m starting to turn things around and to be able to get second here in Poland is awesome.”
Crossing the finish line just seven seconds behind, Bolt took third, while Lettenbichler ended his race in fourth.
Billy Bolt – P3
“I’m really pleased with finishing on the podium. This was the race that I was least pleased with my performance last year, so to turn things around and finish third is great. I had a poor first lap – I crashed three times on the motocross section. It seemed to me like that section of the track was different to what we rode on during the qualifying. I felt good going into the last lap. I knew Watson and Lettenbichler were ahead of me but that if I could stay close to Watson coming into the extreme stuff it would be close. I managed to get ahead of both of them and just didn’t look back. We’ve got three tough races left, but this has definitely been good for me as far as the championship is concerned. I’ll keep working hard.”
Always in the mix for a podium result, young Brit Watson ultimately crossed the line in a confidence-boosting fifth.
“I’m over the moon if I’m honest. Maybe this isn’t exactly an extreme race, it’s not super, super tough, but it certainly wasn’t an easy one. I got a great start, got the holeshot, and lead through the motocross section. I was surprised by the speed everyone was able to ride at there, it seemed to be a lot drier and more slippery there. But I felt like I rode a solid race overall. I had one pretty big crash on one of the uphills, but I worked my way through the traffic well and kept plugging away for a top five. Leading the race for a while was great, but I missed some of the flag markers. Once I dropped back into dust from other riders it was so much harder, but I’m really pleased with my result.”
Riding steadily throughout, Spain’s Josep Garcia was sixth, finishing one-minute clear of South Africa’s Blake Gutzeit in seventh.
“It’s been a good race for me. I knew coming here experience would count a lot due to the nature of the coal mine but I feel I’ve put in a strong performance. Saturday was really fun and I enjoyed the motocross and endurocross test a lot. It was nice to show my speed there ahead of the next round at Hawkstone Park. In what was an extreme-style cross-country race my pace was good and my fitness was strong towards the finish too.”
Round two winner, Graham Jarvis — despite not favouring the sandy terrain — faired well to claim a top 10 result with eighth, with his teammate Alfredo Gomez ninth. Paul Bolton rounded out the top 10.
Graham Jarvis – P8
“I got a horrendous start. There was so much dust that I just played it safe and took my time during the first lap. I was battling for the lower places, so I was pleased that I was able to increase my speed on the second lap. I felt like I rode well all things considered. Things were definitely faster this year than previous years, there weren’t so many technical hill climbs, where I’d normally be able to make up some time. I knew I was losing time on the motocross section of the track, but like I said I’m pleased enough with the way it’s gone for me.”
Alfredo Gomez – P9
“It was so dusty, I felt like I was in someone’s dust the whole race. I tried to enjoy it as much as possible. I found a good rhythm and was battling with (Jaume) Betriu in the motocross section and Jarvis in the Enduro sections. I made a mistake on the only hard uphill on the last lap – I had to go a little off my line because of a rider ahead of me and I couldn’t make it to the top. Graham passed me there and made some time. For my second race back from injury I’m pleased with the way things went. It’s a busy time of the season now, so I’m looking ahead to the coming races.”
In total 178 competitors finished this year’s Red Bull 111 Megawatt. The World Enduro Super Series continues with round six at Great Britain’s Hawkstone Park Cross-Country on September 22/23.
Entering Poland with a 185-point WESS championship lead, Jonny Walker was hungry to extend his advantage having won Red Bull 111 Megawatt for the last three years. Leading Sunday’s race, he initially looked like the rider to beat. At the beginning of the second lap, Walker unfortunately crashed in the dust raised by lapped traffic and was forced to retire from the event.
The World Enduro Super Series continues with round six in Great Britain on September 22/23 at Hawkstone Park.
Results: 111 Megawatt, WESS Round 5
Wade Young (Sherco) 3 laps, 2:10:52.04
Taddy Blazusiak (KTM) 2:13:01.82
Billy Bolt (Husqvarna) 2:13:08.63
Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM) 2:14:15.07
Nathan Watson (KTM) 2:15:34.21
Josep Garcia (KTM) 2:17:54.59
Blake Gutzeit (Yamaha) 2:19:07.06
Graham Jarvis (Husqvarna) 2:19.37.07
Alfredo Gomez (Husqvarna) 2:20:45.11
Paul Bolton (KTM) 2:22:24.86…
World Enduro Super Series Standings (After 5 of 8 rounds)
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