Enduro

Billy Bolt Crowned World Enduro Super Series Champion At Red Bull Knock Out

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2018 champion Billy Bolt with runner-up Manuel Lettenbichler and Nathan Watson. Photo: Future7Media
History has been made as Billy Bolt is crowned the inaugural World Enduro Super Series at the eighth and final round, Red Bull Knock Out in The Netherlands.

Becoming the World Enduro Super Series‰Ûª inaugural champion, Bolt claimed the top step of the championship podium ahead of Germany‰Ûªs Manuel Lettenbichler and Brit Nathan Watson.

With series winner Bolt well-known for his Hard Enduro skills, runner-up Lettenbichler the championship‰Ûªs best placed privateer and third placed Watson a motocross turned enduro racer, the final WESS podium well-reflected the championship‰Ûªs diversity and enduro spirit.

In what was the sixth edition of the Dutch Beach Race, Watson stormed his way to a debut win on the Scheveningen shoreline, taking victory over home favourite Glenn Coldenhoff and Belgium‰Ûªs Yentel Martens.

After seven rounds of Hard Enduro, Classic Enduro and Cross-Country racing, the first season of the multi-discipline Enduro series drew to a spectacular and action-packed close at the infamous Red Bull Knock Out Beach Race. With 1000 competitors taking to the start line for the one-hour morning qualifier - won by Watson - 750 riders earned their place in the two-hour Final.

Eager to impress in front of his home crowd, MXGP regular Coldenhoff set the early race pace, with Watson, Martens, Camille Chapeliere and Britain‰Ûªs Todd Kellet in tow. During the opening half of the race, Coldenhoff set a blisteringly fast pace and appeared to have all under control.
Brit Nathan Watson took the final round win and a championship podium. Photo: Future7Media
However, the opening of the extreme X-Loop for the final hour dramatically changed the flow of the race and Watson - putting his Enduro skills to good use - fought his way into the lead. Continuing his fast pace during the final laps, and with the track at his roughest, Watson stormed ahead to claim a 90-second margin of victory over Coldenhoff, with Martens coming through for third.

In the battle at the head of the World Enduro Super Series, all eyes were on title contenders Bolt and Lettenbichler, who were inside the top 20 of the 750 competitors. Positioning themselves out of trouble early on, the duo were closely matched with Bolt holding an important advantage.

However, two crashes by Bolt put him on the back foot during the closing stages of the race. Needing a lap to regroup he began to make headway, using the technical X-Loop to his advantage. Pushing clear of Lettenbichler and working his way up to 12th, the Husqvarna rider crossed the finish line as the newly-crowned champion.

Despite giving his best effort, Lettenbichler was unable to get the better of Bolt in the deep Dutch sand, finishing a creditable 15th to take the runner-up result in the 2018 World Enduro Super Series. In the fight for the final step of the championship podium, Watson‰Ûªs round eight victory saw him leap past teammate Josep Garcia (KTM - ESP) - who placed 16th - to secure third overall.

"To become the ultimate enduro champion is huge - I can‰Ûªt believe it yet and it‰Ûªs going to take a while for this moment to sink in," Bolt said.

"The race itself was crazy. I had two huge crashes and hit the ground hard, but apart from that I enjoyed it. It was tough making your way past all the other competitors ‰ÛÒ there were bikes everywhere. Also, the track conditions changed so much every lap and then the tide came in on the start straight, reducing it to half its width. I knew I needed to stay out of trouble as much as possible. And despite two crashes of my own making I pretty much did that.

"Overall, it‰Ûªs been such a long season, with so many different races. Winning round one at Extreme XL Lagares feels a life time ago. To race everything from Hard Enduro, Classic Enduro, Cross-Country and now Beach Racing and come out of it all as the ultimate enduro champion is amazing.‰Û
The Red Bull Knock Out always has plenty of action. Photo: Future7Media
For Manuel Lettenbichler second was a superb effort for the German privateer.

"It‰Ûªs been an amazing year and to end it as the championship runner-up is beyond my pre-season expectations," Lettenbichler said. "I knew Billy was good in the sand, so my plan here was to try and keep him behind me and do my best to claim as many points as possible.

"I wasn‰Ûªt sure how things would be after hurting my thumb at the Gotland Grand National. But the adrenalin has kept the pain away today and I‰Ûªm really happy with my ride. Overall, I have had some strong podiums and I really feel like I have come into my form and that I‰Ûªm riding at the top of my game. To end WESS as the series‰Ûª runner-up is amazing, but now I have to come back even stronger next year and take Billy‰Ûªs title. Congratulations to him, it‰Ûªs been a great year battling with him.‰Û
Inaugural champion Billy Bolt
Results - Red Bull Knock Out, WESS Round 8
1. Nathan Watson (KTM - GBR) 24 laps, 2:01:43.785
2. Glenn Coldenhoff (KTM - NED) 2:03:14.001
3. Yentel Martens (Husqvarna - BEL) 2:07:35.255
4. Camille Chapeliere (KTM - FRA) 23 laps 2:03:48.396
5. Todd Kellet (Husqvarna - GBR) 2:05:51.526
6. Jamie McCanney (Yamaha - GBR) 2:06:02.401
7. Lars van Berkel (KTM - NED) 2:06:57.553
8. Axel van de Sande (Yamaha - BEL) 2:07:19.272
9. Jeffrey DeWulf (Yamaha - BEL) 2:07:57.178
10. Sven van der Mierden (Husqvarna - NED) 22 laps 2:04:34.56

World Enduro Super Series Final Championship Standings
1. Billy Bolt (Husqvarna - GBR) 4800 points
2. Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM - GER) 4470 points
3. Nathan Watson (KTM - GBR) 4103 points
4. Josep Garcia (KTM - ESP) 4010 points
5. Taddy Blazusiak (KTM - POL) 3675 points
6. Paul Bolton (KTM - GBR) 3377 points
7. Wade Young (Sherco - RSA) 3220 points
8. Graham Jarvis (Husqvarna - GBR) 3010 points
9. Jonny Walker (KTM - GBR) 2900 points
10. Lars Enockl 2272 points

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