Enduro

Manuel Lettenbichler Crowned 2023 FIM Hard Enduro World Champion With Round Five Victory

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Manuel Lettenbichler won the 2023 FIM Hard Enduro World Championship! Claiming a dominant victory at the Hixpania Hard Enduro in Spain. Photo: Future7Media

The penultimate round of the 2023 FIM Hard Enduro World Championship has seen Manuel Lettenbichler crowned world champion thanks to a winning ride at 24MX Hixpania Hard Enduro.

In what was his fifth consecutive victory this season, Lettenbichler successfully defended his FIM Hard Enduro world title in Aguilar de Campoo, Spain.

Sherco Factory Racing’s Mario Roman put in a strong ride to take second, while Billy Bolt completed the podium in third. Mitch Brightmore won the FIM Hard Enduro Junior World Championship class.

As the riders blasted out of the cave to start today’s ACERBIS Lost Roads race, it was top qualifier Billy Bolt who made good his starting position to claim an early lead over Sherco Factory Racing’s Wade Young. Lettenbichler was next away, with Michael Walkner in tow. Starting fifth, Roman was quickly on a charge and catching the leaders.

Unbeaten throughout the 2023 FIM Hard Enduro season so far, Manuel Lettenbichler made it five wins in a row with his victory at Hixpania to secure his second consecutive FIM Hard Enduro title. Photo: Future7Media

Putting his title nerves to one side, Lettenbichler blitzed the opening lap, reeling in both Bolt and Young to take up the race lead. Roman was feeling confident and worked his way into second position as they began lap two. Bolt was holding third, with Alfredo Gomez and Young close behind in fourth and fifth.

As the race wore on, Lettenbichler was beginning to edge ahead. A battle was raging between Roman and Bolt. Roman finally looked to have Bolt pushed back to third and as a result, the outcome of the title was now balanced in Lettenbichler’s favour.

After two hours and 30 minutes of tough racing, the riders entered the final series of steep climbs. With a seven-minute cushion over Roman, Lettenbichler scaled the quarry walls with ease to win his fifth consecutive HEWC race of the year and become the 2023 FIM Hard Enduro World Champion.

“There was a bit of pressure on myself to take the title here,” Lettenbichler explained. “I was nervous coming into the day, but managed to settle into the race and ride like I know I can. Winning the title was in my head, but also winning my fifth race in a row was playing on my mind, so to get it done in this perfect way is just amazing. It’s been a heck of a year so far, even better than I could have expected and I’m looking forward to my home race now in Germany. Finally, thank you so much to my team. They do an awesome job!”

Mario Roman hung onto second place. Photo: Future7Media

Building a gap over Bolt, Roman kept everything under control and crossed the finish line in second place, while Bolt rounded out the podium in third.

“I’m super stoked on how today went,” Roman declared. “The crowd were unreal. They were cheering me on the whole time. I did my best to push Mani, but he’s riding so good right now. We were on the limit of the riding, especially in the final climbs, but we made it good in the end. I’m so happy with this podium result.”

Billy Bolt said, “Overall it was good. I didn’t quite have the pace to fight for the win today, but it was still a solid result for the championship. It would have been nice to hold off Mani for another weekend, but he’s been having an incredible season. Congrats to him on this title!”

Finishing just 40 seconds behind Bolt, Young brought his Sherco home in fourth. Crossing the line just 28 seconds behind Young, FMF KTM Factory Racing’s Trystan Hart rounded out the top five.

In the FIM Junior Hard Enduro World Championship supported by KLIM, it was Mitch Brightmore who took the win. The Brit was enjoying a great ride as he mixed it with the top pro riders. Completing nine laps for seventh overall, Brightmore topped the Junior podium.

“The race really suited me,” Brightmore said. “I had a good starting position and was able to get with the top guys on the first few laps and that pulled me on. The course really benefitted my trials background and I enjoyed myself. It’s awesome to take the win in the Juniors.”

Behind him, it was a 1-2 for TTR Squadra Corse with Mitch’s younger brother Aston putting in a stellar ride to claim second on eight laps, while also finishing 10th overall. Rigo Racing’s Matthew Green completed the Junior podium in third. The standings now see Mitch Brightmore lead the Junior category by one point heading into the final round at 24MX Getzenrodeo in November.

The 2023 FIM Hard Enduro World Championship concludes with the sixth and final round at Germany’s 24MX Getzenrodeo on November 3-4.

Billy Bolt had to settle for third but still holds down second in the championship standings. Photo: Future7Media

Results: Round 5 – 24MX Hixpania Hard Enduro

ACERBIS Lost Roads
1 Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM) 11 laps, 2:53:00.378
2 Mario Roman (Sherco) 11 laps, 2:59:20.688
3 Billy Bolt (Husqvarna) 11 laps, 3:01:52.138
4 Wade Young (Sherco) 11 laps, 3:02:32.933
5 Trystan Hart (KTM) 11 laps, 3:03:01.418
6 Alfredo Gomez (Rieju) 11 laps, 3:11:29.692
7 Mitch Brightmore (GASGAS) 9 laps, 2:45:12.033
8 Teodor Kabakchiev (KTM) 8 laps, 2:32:15.875
9 Graham Jarvis (Husqvarna) 8 laps, 2:32:28.044
10 Aston Brightmore (GASGAS) 8 laps, 2:39:16.028

Championship Standings (After Round 5)
1 Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM) 107 points
2 Billy Bolt (Husqvarna) 81 points
3 Trystan Hart (KTM) 73 points
4 Teodor Kabakchiev (KTM) 57 points
5 Mario Roman (Sherco) 56 points

Junior Championship Standings (After Round 3)
1 Mitch Brightmore (GASGAS) 60 points
2 Matthew Green (KTM) 59 points
3 Richard Moorhouse (GASGAS) 35 points
4 Marc Fernandez (KTM) 32 points
5 Felix Bahker (Sherco) 31 points

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