Billy Bolt came out swinging at the long-awaited FIM SuperEnduro World Championship opener in Lodz, Poland, earning a deserved overall win and a healthy early championship lead.
Quickly reminding everyone why he is the defending world champion indoors, Bolt topped the night’s SuperPole hot lap before going on to win all three of the Prestige class finals and secure overall victory. Returning to the SuperEnduro series for the first time since winning the title in 2019, Manuel Lettenbichler took the runner up spot ahead of AMA EnduroCross champion Colton Haaker taking a close third overall.
On a technical track, which was made all the more tricky due to numerous sand sections, Bolt was instantly up to speed and eager to impress. Easing his way through the first test of the night – the SuperPole hot lap – he blitzed the course to top the timesheets by almost two seconds.
When it came to the first gate drop of the championship Bolt wasted no time in muscling his way to the head of the field, going on to clinch victory by six seconds over Lettenbichler and Hakker. With the start order reversed for race two, Bolt started last but was already into second position by lap two. A crash dropped him off the rear wheel of race leader Haaker, but within just a handful of laps he’d found his way to the front once more. However, a third crash knocked him back to second once again before a heroic final lap effort saw him wrestle victory from Haaker just a handful of corners from the finish line.
Determined to bring his night to a positive close, Bolt claimed the holeshot in the third and closing final. Well and truly mastering the tough conditions, he put in eight solid laps, easing away from the rest of the field to win by over 26 seconds over Lettenbichler and Jonny Walker. Claiming a clean sweep in Poland, Bolt now heads the championship standings by 15 points.
“It’s been a brilliant start to the championship,” Bolt enthused. “Winning all three races and taking SuperPole as well – it’s great to be back indoors. I hadn’t got as much bike time coming into this round as I would have liked, and it showed a little in the beginning of the night. My timing was a little off and I was making myself work for it out there. We got things dialled in better for race three. The track came a bit easier to me and I could hit my lines consistently. Winning tonight has definitely given me more motivation to push hard during this six week break until round two.”
Manuel Lettenbichler was happy with his second overall after fighting injury going into the round.
“That was tough! I’m super happy that everything went well for me because I hurt my wrist two weeks ago and I wasn’t sure that I would be able to ride,” Lettenbichler said. “Thankfully, all the work we put in to get it as good as we could and it paid off and to finish second overall is great. I’m actually a little surprised how well things went. Finishing second in both the first and third finals was awesome. You know, coming back to this kind of racing, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it’s really been a lot of fun.”
Colton Haaker was satisfied with third and feels bedded in now after the long layoff and ready for the remainder of the championship.
“I’m pretty pleased with third tonight,” Haaker said. “It was tough out there and I wasn’t 100 per cent sure where I was going to slot into things. For sure race two was the highlight of my night. When I got that good start and a clean track in front of me, I was riding more how I wanted too. It’s good to get a SuperEnduro race back under my belt again because I haven’t done one since 2019. Now I know where things are at, I’ll build on it for round two, for sure!”
Sometimes it just doesn’t go to plan! Unable to catch a break, hometown hero Taddy Blazusiak had a night full of drama and was unable to turn his raw speed into a podium result, finishing the night in fifth overall.
“I guess things didn’t come to me in the finals like I wanted. I felt really good, the speed was there, my bike was awesome, my fitness and shoulder were really good as well, and then I just kept crashing. If it wasn’t my mistake, it was another rider falling or making a mistake in front of me, or landing on top of me. I guess luck just wasn’t on my side tonight,” Blazusiak said.
The FIM SuperEnduro World Championship continues with round two in Jerusalem, Israel on January 20th.
Results – 2021 SuperEnduro, Rnd1 Poland
- Billy Bolt (Husqvarna) 63pts;
- Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM) 48pts;
- Colton Haaker (Husqvarna) 43pts…
Prestige Race 1
- Billy Bolt (Husqvarna) 8 laps, 7:59.138;
- Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM) 8 laps, 8:05.506;
- Taddy Blazusiak (GASGAS) 8 laps, 8:05.506;
Prestige Race 2
- Billy Bolt (Husqvarna) 7 laps, 7:07.571;
- Colton Haaker (Husqvarna) 7 laps, 7:11.008;
- Jonny Walker (Beta) 7 laps, 7:13.970…
Prestige Race 3
- Billy Bolt (Husqvarna) 8 laps, 7:42.958;
- Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM) 8:09.108;
- Jonny Walker (Beta) 8:19.583…