Enduro

Home Win For Alfredo Gomez At 24MX Hixpania Hard Enduro

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Alfredo Gomez came out swinging in Sunday’s feature race The Lost Way to secure a memorable home win in front of his home crowd. Photo: Future7Media

Spain’s Alfredo Gomez has come out on top at round seven of the FIM Hard Enduro World Championship, claiming victory at the 24MX Hixpania Hard Enduro.

Billy Bolt took second to extend his championship lead over Manuel Lettenbichler, who completed the podium with third.

Always a danger man on home soil, Gomez came on form at just the right moment to secure a memorable win in the deciding The Lost Way race. With Bolt topping the proceedings on Friday and Saturday, many thought the British rider would keep that momentum rolling through Sunday, but hopes of a clean sweep failed to materialize.

With the 50 qualified riders facing a tough battle during the three-hour The Lost Way race, Gomez was up for the fight. Fast and clinical around the intense five-kilometre course, Gomez barely put a wheel out of place as he found his flow on the technical rocky climbs and steep quarry walls.

Despite a late push from Bolt, Gomez had enough in hand entering the final extreme loop. Beautifully mastering the last climb, the Spaniard crossed the finish line as the well-deserved winner.

For Billy Bolt, the Hixpania Hard Enduro got off to a winning start. Fastest in the Friday afternoon superenduro qualifier, he then went on to win Saturday’s Campoo X-Treme before finishing second in the 24MX Hixpania Hard Enduro. Photo: Future7Media

For Bolt, The Lost Way was filled with ups and downs. Although making good the Le Mans start, he failed to hit the rhythm he’d shown during the previous two days. Working his way up the leaderboard, he began to come on strong as the race entered the second half. But with Gomez comfortably out front, it was a gap he couldn’t close.

“I’m so happy to take the win here in 24MX Hixpania Hard Enduro, it’s definitely been a tough race, but it feels so good to do it in front of the Spanish fans,” Gomez said. “I saved some energy for today and it has certainly paid off. I took the lead on lap one and just felt good straight away. I managed to focus on myself and not make too many mistakes. It felt awesome to cross the finish line as the winner!”

For Bolt however, in the fight for this year’s championship honours, in finishing as runner-up, the Brit extend his lead over closest rival Lettenbichler, by two points.

“On the first two laps today I struggled a lot to be honest,” Bolt refelcted. “I found it hard to find my rhythm and ended up making too many mistakes, losing energy and time. At the refuelling I made a few adjustments to the bike and then the second half of the race went much better. I made a bit of a gap on Mani and even started to claw back some time on Alfredo ahead, but it was too little, too late. Full credit to Alfredo today, he was in a different league.”

Third placed Manuel Lettenbichler stayed within three minutes of second-placed Bolt for most of the race but with rain falling, and the track becoming more cut-up and slippery, it was tough for the 23-year-old to make up ground on the two riders ahead. Photo: Future7Media

Sitting second behind Gomez after the opening lap, Lettenbichler was in a strong position to take back the championship lead. However, Bolt was closing in and pretty soon the duo were locked in a battle for second. Not quite able to keep Bolt at bay, Lettenbichler slipped behind him, and as Bolt upped his pace in the closing laps, he had to settled for third.

“We were a little worried this morning coming into the main race because of all the rain we had overnight, but it’s turned out ok and the traffic wasn’t too bad out there,” Lettenbichler said “I wasn’t feeling 100 percent last week and I think my fitness definitely suffered today. Despite that, I think I rode a good race and I’m happy to finish on the podium again. The guys ahead were riding really well, and with today’s result it means I’m three points behind Billy going into my home race at GetzenRodeo, so there is everything still to play for. I’m really excited for that one, and I’ll give it my best as always.”

Behind the top three, the race was filled with plenty of drama as the overnight rain made an already tough course even harder. Sherco Factory Racing’s Mario Roman fought his way through for fourth. Entering round seven third in points, Wade Young lost ground to Bolt and Lettenbichler with fifth in Spain. Putting in a strong performance, Michael Walkner was sixth, while Britain’s Jonathan Richardson impressed, coming home seventh.

The 2021 FIM Hard Enduro World Championship concludes with the eighth and final round of the season at Germany’s GetzenRodeo on October 30.

Alfredo Gomez (C) topped the podium with Billy Bolt (L) and Manuel Lettenbichler. Photo: Future7Media

Results – Round 7: 24MX Hixpania Hard Enduro
1 Alfredo Gomez (Husqvarna) 2:35:49.125
2 Billy Bolt (Husqvarna) 2:37:04.784
3 Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM) 2:39:45.529
4 Mario Roman (Sherco) 2:45:59.409
5 Wade Young (Sherco + 2 laps
6 Michael Walkner (GASGAS) +3 laps
7 Jonathan Richardson (Husqvarna) +4 laps
8 Teodor Kabakchiev (Husqvarna) +4 laps
9 Matthew Green (GASGAS) +4 laps
10 Sonny Goggia (GASGAS) +4 laps

Championship Standings (After round 7)
1 Billy Bolt (Husqvarna) 87Points
2 Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM) 84Points
3 Wade Young (Sherco) 71pts
4 Mario Roman (Sherco) 61Points
5 Alfredo Gomez (Husqvarna) 53Points
6 Jonny Walker (Beta) 44Points
7 Michael Walkner (GASGAS) 38Points
8 Teodor Kabakchiev (Husqvarna) 29Points
9 Taddy Blazusiak (GASGAS) 26Points
10 Dominik Olszowy (Husqvarna) 24 Points

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