Filip Bengtsson tops 2000 riders to win 2019 Gotland Grand National ahead of EnduroGP rider Eero Remes with Robert Kvarnström rounding the podium.
The biggest enduro race in Europe, the 2019 Gotland Grand National made honoured its traditional mudfest status for the 2000+ riders racing on Swedish soil last weekend and it was Filip Bengtsson who went “vini vidi vici” and conquered his first Gotland, winning ahead of Eero Remes and Robert Kvarnström.
This year's Gotland looked like it wasn’t going to be as muddy as the previous editions on Friday with the youths and amateurs riders able to race under perfect conditions, but then the rain made its appearance during the night leaving a slippery and muddy track for the main Saturday race.
As the Elite class took off it was the Swedish motocross rider Isak Gifting who got the holeshot but Robert Kvarnström quickly stole first place from him and the duo battled during the first two laps.
Last year’s winner, Albin Elowson and Mikael Persson were forced to retire on lap one, Elowson got hit by a big rock on his shoulder and Persson suffered a crash that took him out of the race.
Bengtsson was in fifth on the first lap but a strong charge saw him take the lead from Gifting on the second lap. From there on he put his head down to open a one-minute gap over Kvarnström and Gifting, who were fighting for second.
On the sixth lap Eero Remes came from behind taking second place from Kvarnström and began closing up on Bengtsson, who suffered a big crash at that point in the race.
Entering the seventh and final lap, Remes continued pushing but he run out of time and Bengtsson took the win in his first-ever Gotland Grand National.
History was made this year as it was the first time that there’re six different winners in six editions and the second time three newcomers take victory three years in a row, something that didn’t happen since the first editions of the race in the 80s.
Hanna Berzelius took the win after a hard-fought race with Emilia Reimander, who lead the opening fourth laps. Berzelius now has two starts and two wins under her belt. Hedvig Dahlberg rounded the women’s podium.
2019 Gotland Grand National results:
Entries for the 2020 edition are already open so if you fancy a (probably) muddy weekend of enduro racing with 2000 other riders in Sweden then head to the link below.
More information and full results: Nordicsportevent.com
Thanks for help with words and photos: Kalle Lundestedt/Race Magazine