The dust has almost settled on a SuperEnduro season packed with awesome action, supreme skills and decisive DNFs – here are our top 10 moments of the 2019 World Championship.
The 2019 SuperEnduro World Championship season has been a three rider battle between Cody Webb, Colton Haaker and Taddy Blazusiak from the first corner to the dramatic last one. With the trio exchanging podium positions from Poland to Bilbao it was ultimately Colton Haaker who finally secured his third world crown in the final fittingly jaw-dropping moto.
Indoor enduro racing is never without its moments of supreme skills and certainly rarely without incident either. The three main title contenders give no quarter and sure made it a vintage one to watch.
Here are our top 10 moments of yet another awesome season indoors…
1 Taddy still king of Poland.
Taddy Blazusiak proved once again that his home race in Poland gives him superpowers. Taddy won in front of a hugely partisan crowd in Krakow for the third year in a row. Age is proving no barrier for the Polish six-time SuperEnduro World Champion as he continues to be a challenger not just for victories but also the championship. 2019 was certainly no exception.
2 First corner carnage in Germany.
The tight tracks indoor always create a tight turn one but the first heat of the night in Germany caused a pile-up with consequences for Alfredo Gomez.
A tangle between Blazusiak and Haaker heading for the same square metre of track (not for the last time this season) had a knock-on effect and sent Alfredo to the ground, dislocating his elbow and putting him out of action in Germany and out of championship contention. Fast starting Alfredo was the only rider other than the fast three to take a win all season in heat three, Poland.
3 Podiums don’t come easily in SuperEnduro.
The second moto, reverse grid start format always throws up a bit of excitement and in Madrid at round three it played its part well. Cody Webb was able to avoid carnage and win the heat but behind him Taddy and Colton played podium ping-pong – with Pol Tarres aiming for his first rookie podium plugging away into the mix despite them.
Not for the last time this season (there’s a pattern emerging here) the race went to the last corner where a mistake from Haaker allowed Blazusiak a sniff of third. Both riders went for the same square metre heading up the final tyre jump and boom! A bike bomb went off.
In the collision and confusion Haaker got third while Blazusiak’s bike launched the wrong side of the timing beam, scoring him a costly DNF in the points chase. Taddy took an injury but still rode the final moto – both riders were lucky not to be more seriously hurt.
4 Madrid the championship decider for Cody?
In the final heat of the night at the GP of Spain, Cody Webb ran out the wrong side of lady luck when his chain snapped mid-race while he was running second. Despite his best efforts to repair it, the reigning champ narrowly ran out of time and suffered a costly DNF. Take that highly likely 17 points (at least) to the total championship points tally and things could have been very different. Ifs and buts don’t win trophies but it was certainly a decisive moment.
Meanwhile Haaker had two wins on the night and took the championship leader’s red plate.
5 Blazusiak powered by Duracell.
Like you’d ever doubt the staying power of Taddy! Despite not being 100% fit from the injuries gathered in Madrid (he twisted a knee in the final moto in Madrid), Blazusiak took his second overall win of the season in Hungary.
It was impressive watching the old dog defending a race lead in the final moto with both Haaker and Webb hounding him like mongrels lap after lap, it was a determined and cool performance from Taddy.
Webb finished second and Haaker’s points advantage in the championship stood at 12 with a round to go.
6 Will Hoare was the man in Juniors.
By the halfway point in the season we’d gotten used to seeing William Hoare dominating the Junior class. Often the most spectacular and unpredictable races on the night to watch, Hoare bucked the Junior trend winning nine out of twelve races after Madrid.
The Brit won three more in Hungary, taking the title with one round to compete. The last time a rider won a title with a full round remaining was in 2014 when Giacomo Redondi won on a Beta.
7 Tight tracks playing their part.
Tight tracks are surely a feature of indoor racing but a common issue all year has been tracks the riders weren’t always happy with (see No.2 above)
“Too often the track played a role in affecting results.” Cody Webb told us. “Poor dirt, track design, too tight – it all causes unnecessary chaos and affects the results.”
The final round in Bilbao was another good example where a log section caused utter chaos in opening motos until it was chain sawed out the way. At other tracks the choice of line was limited making overtakes difficult. It sure ain’t an easy job designing and building tracks but this is the world championship.
8 Fastest laps tell a story.
A smooth rider is a fast rider the old guys will tell you and Cody Webb proved the master of smooth in bagging the Superpole award winner in 2019 with three of the five Superpoles contested. Colton took the other two.
If it ultimately came down to a two-horse race then the fastest laps across the season were proof of that. Six fastest race laps apiece to Colton and Cody compared to Taddy’s three. No other riders came close.
9 Points mean prizes.
If standing on the top step of the podium means prizes then Blazusiak and Webb were the riders with the spoils. Both won the most overall nights in 2019, two each at Poland and Hungary, Germany and Bilbao respectively.
But getting on the podium in every race mean points means prizes then in this championship year Haaker’s consistency paid off. The fact that Colton walked away with 15 podiums and suffered no DNFs was the determining factor in him taking the 2019 title.
10 Take a deep breath…the final round in Bilbao.
In a few dramatic moments in the final race, the points pendulum swung from Colton Haaker to Cody Webb and back again in Bilbao. A controversial last corner block move by Alfredo Gomez helped a faltering Colton Haaker take the world title, caused fury with Cody, the fans cheered and WTF’d in equal measure, Alfredo got disqualified and subsequently social media melted.
Team tactics is common in other motor sports but it rubbed many enduro fans used to watching this individual sport up the wrong way. It sure rubbed Cody the wrong way: “I was pretty angry at it all after that, anyone would be in that situation because it wasn’t how a champion rides and it wasn’t how championship are won. It’s not racing.”
Ultimately there can be only one winner and the results will show Colton Haaker became SuperEnduro World Champion for the third time in 2019. Three elements we did miss were Billy Bolt, Jonny Walker and Manni Lettenbichler in the mix and we hope we’ll see them back next season.
If the last lap, last corner shenanigans tainted things for some, it shouldn’t detract from an impressive three horse race all season which was always entertaining and impressive to watch. Roll on next season.
Photo credit: Future7Media/Andrea Belluschi + Robert Lynn Words: Jon Pearson/Igor AguadoEnduro21 Editorialjon.firstname.lastname@example.org