Colton Haaker begins the defence of his SuperEnduro World Championship this Saturday in Krakow, Poland, but with a wealth of talent behind the starting gate it’s promising to be a cracking start to the series.

This season, the list of favourites for the title is a long one. Indeed, there are no fewer than five riders who have shown their ambition to win the world crown. 

SuperEnduro Prestige

Of course, reigning champion Colton HAAKER is the big favourite to retain the title, but he will have to be at his best to win a third championship in three years, with more competition than ever before.

Starting with the 2017 runner-up Alfredo GOMEZ (E), the new team-mate of the Californian Husqvarna rider, who finally tasted the joys of victory last season, will hope to bridge the gap which has so far separated him from the title.

We cannot overlook Jonny WALKER (GB - KTM), who seems to have worked hard during the off-season in order to attack in his quest for the crown which has eluded him for so many years.

But HAAKER's most dangerous rivals will likely be Cody WEBB (USA - KTM) and Taddy BLAZUSIAK (PL - KTM). The American has just won his third Endurocross title after many fierce clashes with HAAKER.

 

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Photo Credit: Robert Lynn/Future7Media
 

On the other side of the orange team, Blazusiak returns to action after announcing his retirement a year ago at the end of a "dream" evening in the Tauron Arena. No doubt the KTM rider has not come back to make up the numbers — he is here to win.

Behind this group, promising young talents Manuel LETTENBICHLER (D - KTM), Benjamin HERRERA (CL - TM), Billy BOLT (UK - Husqvarna) and Blake GUTZEIT (ZAF - Yamaha) represent the new wave of SuperEnduro contenders. 

Poland also marks the return of numerous EnduroGP riders led by Alex SALVINI (I - Beta), Danny MCCANNEY (GB - Gas Gas) and Victor and Cristobal GUERRERO (E - Yamaha).

Keep an eye on the outsiders also, such as Eloi SALSENCH (E - Beta) or Joan Pau SEGURA (E - KTM) who have already proved their credentials in this championship by finishing in the top 10 for two seasons.

 

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Photo Credit: Robert Lynn/Future7Media

SuperEnduro Junior

In view of his end of season form last year (3rd behind HERRERA and GUTZEIT) it would be tempting to say that Max VIAL (F - Husqvarna) is the great favourite in the Junior category. 

But, even though Frenchman has certainly progressed, he will have to face some top riders in 2018 such as Ignacio FERNANDEZ (E - Sherco), also very strong last year, Kyle FLANAGAN (ZAF - Yamaha), William HOARE (UK - KTM) and the German Kevin GALLAS (Husqvarna).

The world of SuperEnduro will also discover Matteo CAVALLO (I - Beta). Fourth in the Junior category in EnduroGP in 2017, the Italian has a lot of talent and a speed that will bring him close to the front.

Finally, note the strong contingent of riders from Northern Europe led by Mathias MARTINSEN (NOR-KTM) and Tobias KARLEN (SWE - Husqvarna) and Eastern Europe with Teodor KABAKCHIEV (BG - KTM), Norbert ZSIGOVITS (H - KTM) and Oskar KACZMARCZYK (PL - KTM).

 

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Photo Credit: Andrea Belluschi/Future7Media

European Cup

Finally, in the European Cup, after the withdrawal of Mike HARTMANN (D - Husqvarna) and Marcel TEUCHER (D - Husqvarna), the title race looks uncertain even if some favourites seem to stand out such as Jonathan PEARSON (GB -KTM), Adrien JACON (F-KTM) and Tim APOLLE (D - Husqvarna).

But riders like Matteo ROSSI (I - Husqvarna), Alex GRAU SANZ (E - Gas Gas) or Robin RSA HOLTMEULEN (NL - KTM) could also make their mark. The opening round of the FIM SuperEnduro World Championship takes place on Saturday December 9 at the Tauron Arena in Krakow (Poland) from 16:00.

Watch it live on EnduroTV from 19.00hrs on www.superenduro.org.