Enduro

Wade Young Wins HERO Challenge In Poland

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Wade Young was back on the top step of the podium at the HERO Challenge in Poland.

South African Wade Young has won the sixth round of the FIM Hard Enduro World Championship, HERO Challenge in Poland.

Making his mark in the sandy terrain of Dąbrowa Górnicza, Young led home Billy Bolt, with Manuel Lettenbichler finishing in close contention for third. Securing the runner-up result, Bolt becomes the new championship leader with two rounds remaining.

Leading into Sunday’s feature event, it was home favourite Dominik Olszowy who topped the Saturday morning qualifier, before Alfredo Gomez won the evening SuperEnduro in downtown Dąbrowa Górnicza.

That win from Gomez earned himself pole position for the three-hour race. But when the flag dropped, it was Lettenbichler who took the holeshot ahead of Gomez to claim an early lead in the race. As the 120 riders blasted off the start line, all the heavy hitters were quick to fight their way to the front.

Lettenbichler, Bolt, Olszowy, Gomez, and Jonny Walker were soon joined by Young. A gamble by the South African to pit one lap later than his rivals paid off and the Sherco rider was soon out front. Clearly enjoying the rough conditions, Young put in a clinical second half of the race to claim victory at round six.

“I’m so happy to pull off the win,” Young said “I felt really comfortable out there today. My start wasn’t ideal – I got a bit boxed off – but I stayed relaxed because I knew my pace was good. Once I got with the guys, I settled in. I gambled on riding an extra lap before pitting and that gained me some time too. In the second half my flow was good. I was hitting my lines, putting in my times and took it home for the win. It’s been an awesome day.”

Alfredo Gomez (89) was quick out of the gate but ultimately finished down in 7th.

Bolt gave chase to Young but wasn’t quite able to match his pace as the track deteriorated. Knowing that by keeping ahead of Lettenbichler he would become the new championship leader, Bolt stayed on script and steered his Husqvarna home for the runner-up result.

“It was physical out there for the three hours, I don’t have much left in the tank now!” Bolt said. “I would have loved to take the win, but second place is great for the championship and now puts me in the lead by one point. I was battling with Wade at about mid-distance. But I needed an extra pit stop and lost some ground. A crash then saw me lose sight of him, so I just tried to play it safe. I didn’t want to make any more mistakes and lose a position to Mani either. Hats off to Wade though, he deserved the win today.”

Lettenbichler came on strong during the final laps but wasn’t able to bridge the gap to Bolt and had to be content with third.

“I was stoked to get the holeshot. I felt pretty strong until about the fifth lap, but then began to fade a little,” Lettenbichler said. “It was so tiring. My race was good. Towards the end I managed to get a bit closer to Billy, so I made a push on. But by that stage when I tried to up my pace I started making mistakes and wasn’t able to get on his wheel to battle. It’s been good to stay on the podium every round now and although I lost the points lead, there’s only one point in it, so it’s still all to play for.”

For Olszowy, hopes of a home podium didn’t quite materialise. Despite showing great pace, a broken clutch perch forced him to make an unscheduled pitstop to repair the damage. Digging deep, he ended his race just over 50 seconds behind Lettenbichler for fourth. Mario Roman completed the top five.

The FIM Hard Enduro World Championship now heads to Spain for the seventh and penultimate stop of the series, Hixpania Hard Enduro on October 1-3.

Wade Young on top of the podium with championship leader Billy Bolt (Left) and Manuel Lettenbichler.

Results: Rnd6 – HERO Challenge, Main Race
1 Wade Young (Sherco) 7 laps, 3:03:01
2 Billy Bolt (Husqvarna) 7 laps, 3:06:48
3 Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM) 7 laps, 3:07:09
4 Dominik Olszowy (KTM) 7 laps, 3:08:01
5 Mario Roman (Sherco) 7 laps, 3:08:31
6 Jonny Walker (Beta) 7 laps, 3:13:51
7 Alfredo Gomez (Husqvarna) 7 laps, 3:14:38
8 Travis Teasdale (GASGAS) 7 laps, 3:16:35
9 Michael Walkner (GASGAS) 7 laps, 3:17:35
10 William Hoare (GASGAS) 7 laps, 3:20:52

FIM Hard Enduro World Championship standings (after 6 of 8 rounds)
1 Billy Bolt (Husqvarna) 70pts
2 Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM) 69pts
3 Wade Young (Sherco) 60pts
4 Mario Roman (Sherco) 48pts
5 Jonny Walker (Beta) 44pts
6 Alfredo Gomez (Husqvarna) 33pts
7 Michael Walkner (GASGAS) 28pts
8 Taddy Blazusiak (GASGAS) 26pts
9 Teodor Kabakchiev (Husqvarna) 21pts
10 Dominik Olszowy (KTM) 21pts

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