As the greatest rider SuperEnduro has ever known, Taddy Blazusiak bowed out in style by securing the overall victory at the opening round of the Maxxis SuperEnduro World Championship in Krakow, Poland.
- Blazusiak ends illustrious career with victory
- Defending champ Haaker second overall
- Straight from Roof of Africa Gomez took third
- Walker won Akrapovic SuperPole
- Ben Herrera topped Juniors
- Tauron Arena sold out 13,000 spectators
- New audience attendance record for the sport
Delivering the winning goods for the final time in his career, Blazusiak “raised the roof” of the Tauron Arena as he powered his KTM to the victory over Husqvarna’s Colton Haaker and Alfredo Gomez (KTM).
“I’m honestly lost for words - it’s been an emotional night,” told Blazusiak. “To end my career with the victory is more than I could ask for. I can’t thank everyone enough for their support over the years. Thank you so much.”
In the opening Prestige race, Blazusiak put his KTM out front early on, but a charge from Haaker saw him cross the finish line in second. However Haaker was then docked 10 seconds for overtaking on a yellow flag and Blazusiak inherited the win.
With the dice rolling in his favour, the Polish rider carved his way through the pack early in the reversed-start race two. Hindered only by a small fall, he rode on to secure his second win of the night setting up for a winning end to his illustrious career.
With Haaker escaping with the race lead, Blazusiak quickly slotted himself into second knowing it was more than enough to seal the deal. Crossing the finish line to a thundering applause from packed-to-capacity Tauron Arena, an emotional Blazusiak recorded a final and fitting victory.
“This sport means everything to me,” continued Blazusiak. “It has given me so much. To win here in my hometown is amazing, it’s hard to put into words. I’m going to miss racing, I love it. Thank you guys.”
Entering Poland as the defending world champion and newly crowned AMA EnduroCross Champion, all eyes were on Colton Haaker (Husqvarna) to see if he could continue his winning ways. An initial win in race one indicated that indeed he would keep winning but docked 10 seconds for overtaking on a yellow flag dropped him to second.
That unsettled him somewhat and a mistake riddled race two saw him place third. Regrouping, Haaker got back to winning form with victory in race three but it wasn’t enough to topple Blazusiak and he had to be content with runner-up on the night.
“Tonight was Taddy’s night - it was going to take something super human to beat him,” said Haaker. “I’m not unhappy with how I rode. I gave it everything tonight, Taddy just had that little bit more. Hats off to him, he is a legend - he deserved to end his career winning like this.”
Ending his night third overall was KTM’s Alfredo Gomez. Despite no training prior to Poland due to his extreme enduro commitments, Gomez was a model of consistency throughout the night - edging out Jonny Walker (KTM) by one-point for third.
“I came here straight from extreme enduro and didn’t train for SuperEnduro,” said Gomez. “I had no expectations and maybe that worked in my favour. I’m surprised and happy to be third. I’m looking forward to Germany now. Congratulations to Taddy - he’s the king!”
Missing the podium by one point, Walker ended his night fourth overall. Fastest in the Akrapovic SuperPole Walker looked favourite for top honours, but a collection of mistakes throughout the night hampered his progress and he had to settle for fourth.
Completing the top five in his debut SuperEnduro season was USA’s Mike Brown (Husqvarna). Stepping up to the Prestige class for 2016/17, Junior World champion Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM) rounded out the top six.
Always proving one of the most competitive categories in the series, the Junior class saw three different heat race winners but it was Chile’s Benjamin Herrera (TM) who ultimately secured the overall victory while also winning race two.
Improving throughout the night, South Africa’s Blake Gutzeit (Yamaha) overcame a bad start to his evening to eventually win the third and final race claiming the runner-up result.
Set to become a serious threat in the championship, SuperEnduro rookie Kyle Flanagan (Sherco) won the opening race of the night. Slipping to eighth in race two, he rebounded to third in the final heat to secure the third step of the podium.
Great Britain’s William Hoare (KTM) and Gethin Humphreys (Husqvarna) completed the top five.
In the FIM Europe class, Mike Hartmann (Husqvarna) got his title defence off to a winning start with the overall victory. Placing second in race one to Thomas Hostinsky (Husqvarna) and then taking victory in the second and final race gave him the top step of the podium.
Despite a race one win, third in race two dropped Hostinsky back to second overall on the night. With a 4-2 scorecard, Marcel Teucher (KTM) completed the top three.
The 2016/17 Maxxis SuperEnduro World Championship continues with round two in Riesa, Germany on January 7.
Results - SuperEnduro World Championship, Poland