World Enduro Super Series set for dramatic championship final round at Red Bull Knock Out Beach Race in Holland.
It’s crunch time for the World Enduro Super Series with Billy Bolt holding the points lead as riders head for the Red Bull Knock Out this weekend in Scheveningen, Holland.
All will be decided this Saturday, November 10, as this new enduro series makes another twist in its plot: the eighth and final round of the 2018 championship will pitch riders onto the beach at a Dutch coastal town for a typically tough northern European sand race.
At the top of the standings, Bolt holds a 275-point advantage over Manuel Lettenbichler, with Josep Garcia close behind in third.
A feature of the WESS championship is the size of entries and the Red Bull Knock Out is no different with 1000 competitors ready to battle at the sixth edition of this event.
The Knock Out event format sees two, one-hour morning qualifier races reduce numbers to 750 for a place in the afternoon’s two-hour main event. An added twist to Beach Racing sees the inclusion of a technically difficult ‘X-Loop’ during the final hour of racing.
Bolt sitting pretty
Billy Bolt has proved himself more than just a master of Hard Enduro in the WESS championship this year – consistency has been the key to points topping position with such diverse events in the calendar. Billy will look for another strong finish in the Dutch sand after recently dipping a toe into Beach Racing and finishing a very impressive third overall at Weston Beach Race in the UK.
Despite a late race crash during round seven at the Gotland Grand National, dropping him to 43rd, Manni Lettenbichler maintains second overall in the championship. ALettenbichler has come of age this season and is certainly capable of a strong result in The Netherlands.
Third overall and gaining ground on the leading duo during the second half of the season, Josep Garcia is within hustling distance of Bolt and Lettenbichler. Beating both championship rivals at rounds six and seven, Garcia reduced his points deficit in this year’s title chase – though he had hoped for better result in Gotland. That said, the sizeable entry at Knock Out could well play to the Spaniard’s advantage if he picks up valuable points while his rivals falter.
Lying just 25 points behind teammate Garcia in fourth, Taddy Blazusiak sadly will not race in Holland. The Polish legend exacerbated an already injured finger at round seven and looks set to become an unfortunate spectator at this weekend’s finale.
While Bolt, Lettenbichler and Garcia are favourites to decide the outcome of this year’s championship, Britain’s Nathan Watson (KTM) who starts with his sights set on a debut WESS victory. Sixth overall in the standings, Watson has been patiently waiting all season for the Red Bull Knock Out. Already twice a runner-up in the Dutch Beach Race, Watson is a contender for the podium and a win could also see him leap dramatically up the final classification.
Arguably one of the most versatile riders in the series, privateer Paul Bolton currently lies seventh overall heading to Holland, while Lars Enockl completes the top 10.
Wildcards in the mix
Notable wildcards ready to ruffle the championship contenders include MXGP rider and home favourite, Glenn Coldenhoff and Red Bull Knock Out winner in 2015, Axel van de Sande, is also well in the mix.
France’s Camille Chapeliere, Milko Potisek and Yentel Martens are all Beach Racing specialists who are sure to shine as will former MXGP champion, Steve Ramon who’s another former winner.
Todd Kellet – three-time winner of Britain’s Weston Beach Race – will also jump right into contention as will EnduroGP E1 World Championship runner-up, Jamie McCanney.
Red Bull Knock Out will be broadcast in a live show on Red Bull TV from 13.15hrs CET on Saturday, November 10. Available in four languages - English, German, French and Dutch - Jonny Walker and Antoine Meo will be guests for English and French speaking viewers.
Red Bull Knock Out Fast Facts
1000 riders will compete in Red Bull Knock Out
An estimated 150,000 spectators are expected
Over 2500 truck loads of extra sand are required to build the 5km course
A KTM X-Bow car will be awarded to the WESS overall champion
Red Bull Knockout 2016 Podium
Jeffery Herlings (KTM - NED)
Nathan Watson (KTM - GB)
Glenn Coldenhoff (KTM - NED)
Red Bull Knock Out Winners List
2016: Jeffery Herlings
2015: Axel van de Sande
2008: Steve Ramon
2007: Milko Potisek
2006: Marc de Reuver
World Enduro Super Series Standings (After round 7):
- Billy Bolt (Husqvarna - GB) 4420pts
- Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM - GER) 4145pts
- Josep Garcia (KTM - ESP) 3700pts
- Taddy Blazusiak (KTM - POL) 3675pts
- Wade Young (Sherco - RSA) 3220pts
- Nathan Watson (KTM - GB) 3103pts
- Paul Bolton (KTM - GB) 3092pts
- Graham Jarvis (Husqvarna - GB) 3010pts
- Jonny Walker (KTM - GB) 2900pts
- Lars Enockl (Gas Gas - AUT) 2272pts
More information: iridewess.com
Photo credit: Future7Media, Red Bull Content Pool