Hard Enduro

Manuel Lettenbichler Takes Victory At FIM HEWC Season Opener

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Manuel Lettenbichler got his 2024 FIM Hard Enduro Championship (HEWC) campaign off to a winning start, dominating proceedings at the Valleys Hard Enduro in the UK. Following

The opening round of the FIM Hard Enduro World Championship saw Manuel Lettenbichler take a commanding win at the Valleys Hard Enduro.

Teodor Kabakchiev and Mario Roman completed the podium in second and third.

The FIM Hard Enduro Junior World Championship supported by KLIM saw Mitch Brightmore start his title defence off with a victory in Wales.

Round one of the FIM Hard Enduro World Championship saw riders take to the start line on Sunday for the feature Race. After two exciting days of racing on Friday and Saturday, Sunday’s three-lap Hard Enduro would decide the outcome of the season opener at Valleys Hard Enduro.

As the defending champion and winner of Friday and Saturday’s racing, Manuel Lettenbichler was the red-hot favourite for victory on Sunday. And he didn’t disappoint. Fast off the line, the KTM rider quickly worked his way into the race lead and was never headed.

Teodor Kabakchiev finished 3 minutes back in second place.

Despite the hot and dusty conditions, Lettenbichler found his rhythm and opened up a strong lead. A mid-race charge by Teodor Kabakchiev saw that gap reduce slightly. But as they began the third and final lap, Manuel upped his pace even further and took a very commanding three-minute margin of victory.

“It wasn’t easy out there,” Lettenbichler said. “The pace was so fast and the intensity was high. It was difficult to find a rhythm but being able to build a gap helped. However, on the final lap, Teodor began to close in and I had to pick it up again. It’s great to take the win at round one and get the championship started in such a strong way. I’m really happy and now looking forward to the next round at Red Bull Erzbergrodeo in two weeks.”

Behind Manuel, the battle for the remainder of the podium positions was ever-changing. Initially, it was Jonny Walker who held second place on lap one. But the Kabakchiev and Mario Roman closed in and overhauled the Brit.

Kabakchiev looked strong on the technical climbs and wasn’t suffering in the heat. The Bulgarian did appear to have Lettenbichler in his sights on lap two but couldn’t bridge the gap he needed. Distancing himself from Roman, he crossed the finish line as the runner-up.

Once up into third, Roman wasn’t able to keep the pace of his teammate. Managing a comfortable gap over Walker in fourth, the Spaniard did enough to take third and claim his first podium result of the season.

After a solid start, Walker just missed out on a potential podium result with fourth, while Will Hoare completed the top five. Wade Young was sixth.

In the FIM Hard Enduro Junior World Championship supported by KLIM, it was defending champion Mitch Brightmore who took the win. The young Brit was kept honest by his younger brother Ashton, who followed him home for eighth.

After an incredible start to the 2024 FIM Hard Enduro World Championship, round two takes place at Austria’s Red Bull Erzbergrodeo on May 30-June 2.

Results: FIM Hard Enduro World Championship, Round 1
1 Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM), 3 laps, 2:06:57.11
2 Teodor Kabakchiev (Sherco), 3 laps, 2:09:58.79
3 Mario Roman (Sherco), 3 laps, 2:11:15.38
4 Jonny Walker (Beta), 3 laps, 2:15:18.25
5 Will Hoare (RIEJU), 3 laps, 2:18:35.60
6 Wade Young (GASGAS), 3 laps, 2:19:45.73
7 Mitch Brightmore (GASGAS), 3 laps, 2:21:56.68
8 Ashton Brightmore (GASGAS), 3 laps, 2:23:53.84
9 Francesc Moret (KTM), 3 laps, 2:24:21.13
10 Alfredo Gomez (RIEJU), 3 laps, 2:25:08.67

FIM HEWC Championship Standings (After round 1)
1 Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM) 23pts
2 Teodor Kabakchiev (Sherco) 19pts
3 Mario Roman (Sherco) 15pts
4 Will Hoare (RIEJU) 13pts
5 Mitch Brightmore (GASGAS) 11pts
6 Wade Young (GASGAS) 11pts
7 Alfredo Gomez (RIEJU) 9pts
8 Marc Riba (KTM) 8pts
9 Matthew Green (KTM) 7pts
10 Vaclav Nedved (KTM) 6pts

FIM HEJWC supported by KLIM (After round 1)
1 Mitch Brightmore (Husqvarna) 22pts
2 Ashton Brightmore (Husqvarna) 20pts
3 Robert Crayston (KTM) 16pts
4 Richard Moorhouse (Beta) 13pts
5 Jame Moore (KTM) 11pts…

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