Albin Elowson took the Gotland Grand National, round seven of the World Enduro Super Series, by the scruff of its muddy neck and make it “one of the greatest moments of my career”.
The 2018 Gotland Grand National lived up to its celebrated reputation as being one of the world’s largest, and muddiest, Enduro races. With hard rain falling on the small island in the Baltic sea prior and during the race, a previously dry, 22-kilometre course turned into a chronic mud bath for 3000 bikes competing the iconic event.
It was cold and grim on the start line but Swedish riders were well-aware that local knowledge would stand them in good stead for the three-hour race ahead.
Husqvarna Sweden’s Albin Elowson played that home advantage card to perfection in claiming an emphatic victory to etch his name on the Gotland Grand National winners list for the first time.
“I think this has to be one of the greatest moments of my career,” says the 23-year-old Swede. “Everything about the race this year was so difficult – the weather, the track conditions and the quality of the world-class riders. To get it right and win like this is huge for me, it’s been a dream race.”
Albin took control of the race lead on lap one of the six lap race. After an early battle with closest rival Robert Kvarnstrom, he managed to break away to ride his own race.
“I got a decent start and tried to make some passes in the early chaos,” explains Albin. “I got a little arm pump but luckily that cleared. I had a good fight with Kvarnstrom but after the first pitstop I was able to open a small gap and managed to maintain that lead for the whole race.”
Maintaining clear vision was a concern for the majority of the riders in the muddy conditions, which meant managing clear goggles was a priority…
“The mud was horrendous, so clean goggles were a must. I went through a lot of goggles, I think at least one pair each lap. Clear vision was key to this race - being able to see where you were going - it was impossible to ride properly without it.”
No stranger to the World Enduro Super Series, Albin also competed in round three’s Trèfle Lozérien AMV in France, riding to a very impressive 11th overall shortly after returning from injury.
“I really enjoyed Trèfle Lozérien,” recalls Albin. “I like the Classic Enduro format and was able to put in a good result despite still not being at 100 per cent due to an injury. Now it’s nice to come back to WESS fit and healthy for the Gotland Grand National and claim a result like this to show what I’m capable of.”
The 2018 World Enduro Super Series concludes with the eighth and final round at Red Bull Knock Out in The Netherlands, November 10.
More information: iridewess.com
Photo credit: Future7Media