2022 Red Bull Abestone results: Third HEWC win in a row for Mani Lettenbichler
Mani Lettenbichler claims his third Hard Enduro World Championship win in succession at the Red Bull Abestone, round four of the season after another battle with Billy Bolt in Italy – Mario Roman fights from 13th to finish third.
Abestone Hard Enduro, main race in a nutshell:
- As the clock ticked up to 1pm, fastest qualifier Billy Bolt led an A-list of 30 riders away from the top of the mountain for what they all expected was going to be a hard day’s work at round four of the HEWC season in Italy.
- Bolt predicated earlier in the weekend that “not many people will finish” and so it proved with just four official finishers clocking inside the five hour time limit.
- The course snaked its way up, down and around the Val di Luce with hard section after hard section in the steep-sided valley and taking in massive rock gardens and long riverbeds.
- The race result was cast pretty early with Bolt and Manuel Lettenbichler, like last year here, quickly gapping the rest of the field after the first assent of one of the hardest sections, ‘Minestrone’.
- Lettenbichler took the lead of the race away from Billy around the 45 minutes mark on lap one and from that point on always looked like he was in control as the pair stretched clear. “I’m so stoked to get the three wins in a row but it was so, so hard, I could never relax” said Mani at the finish after maintaining his 100% winning record for every race he’s entered this season.
- “I’m pretty happy with the result,” said Billy after his second place. “I actually crashed just after letting Mani past and never quite pulled the couple of minutes gap back,” explained Bolt. Suffering on the downhills (with his long-standing wrist injury), the gap stretched in the last half a lap to around nine minutes at the flag.
- Mani and Billy were well clear of third placed Mario Roman but he had reasons for that. Last night’s qualifying results played a hard deck of cards for the Sherco team and Mario started with a six-minutes time disadvantage and “a lot of high quality riders to overtake.” It was 10 in total by the finish for the Spaniard who added, “for sure things could have been different”. For our money, for what that is worth, Mario clocked the best ride up arguably the hardest rock section, Minestrone, and clearly wasn’t handing in the towel despite feeling he’d had a raw deal.
- Last of the official finishers, Alfredo Gomez had a solid fourth place after running a fairly lonely third for a good chunk of the race. “In Serbia we were fighting to be in the top 10, now we are fighting for the podium…we are getting there.” Said the best-placed privateer rider today.
- It was another emotional finish for by far the best junior, Matty Green. He had to fight off a charging Graham Jarvis for fifth place: “my team told me Graham was coming in the last lap and I gave it everything I had, I’m so happy, I just can’t believe it.” Said the South African.
- Graham? He was the last rider to cross the Abestone line and claim an official finisher’s flag from race organiser, Michele Bosi, although he (like Matty Green) was already timed out past the five hour mark. “There was just no let-up” said the legend which just about sums up everyone’s race.
- Subject to official approval, today’s fourth round results should make things interesting at the top of the points standings. Billy has 62, Mani 60 and Mario 58.
2022 Abestone Hard Enduro results:
B-final (amateur morning race) results:
Photo Credit: Future7Media | Andrea Belluschi