Notebook, rider quotes and awesome image gallery from round one of the 2020 SuperEnduro World Championship in Krakow, Poland.
Rewind a year and the winner of the opeing round of the 2020 SuperEnduro World Championship in Krakow, Billy Bolt, was in a very different place: “Twelve months ago I was sitting in a hospital bed watching this race happen without me, now I’ve won it and go to Germany with the points lead - I can’t ask for better than that!”
Rewind a further season and Bolt was in his rookie year, learning with every round and showing clearly the indoors naturally suited his physically strong and ‘go for it’ riding style. Winning the last GP of 2018 showed his talent but Bolt entered the Tauron Arena on Saturday knowing he could win but not knowing if he could do it: “I’m over the moon to come away from round one with such a good performance and the championship lead.” Explains Billy.
“I knew coming here I wouldn’t be the favourite in Taddy’s home stadium but I just focused on what I could do. The track itself was so tricky, the dirt was unpredictable and a lot of the obstacles slippery, especially the rocks.” Says Bolt reflecting on the typically physical Polish track conditions.
“Fastest in SuperPole was a great confidence boost. It was a big battle with Taddy in race one - we changed the lead a lot but it worked out in my favour. For the final race things just clicked right. I found the groove I wanted and the laps times came to me.” Bolt posted the fastest race time of the night in moto three, finishing over 20 seconds ahead of Blazusiak.
Taddy Blazusiak accepted finishing second for the first time in four years with grace and certainly an eye on the long game in this unpredictable championship. With one heat win and a pair of second places, the most successful SuperEnduro Champion in history has been on the wrong end of lady luck when it came down to championship shoot-outs in recent years so knows only too well that 55 points for second is not a bad way to start the 2020 season. “Of course I’d love to have won but finishing second overall with a race win is a very strong start to the championship.” Said Taddy fresh off the podium.
“All night my pace was fast and I was able to fight for the race lead. In race one I led a bunch of times, but just wasn’t able to make it stick.” Adds Blazusiak. “The track tonight was really demanding and very tough to get right. Putting a clean run of laps together was nearly impossible. In race two I got out front early and that helped massively. I could pick the lines I wanted to use and was able to pull away enough to be comfortable. The final race was good but I crossed that fine line too many times and lost touch with Billy. I’ll take second tonight and aim to get more wins on the board next time in Germany.”
Two-stroke good for Gomez
Equally happy with his first round result was Alfredo Gomez, relying on two-stroke power in the face of so many four stroke rivals. The experienced Spanish rider can also count on some bad luck in recent years in terms of injuries, one of which was inflicted last season when a first corner clash with Colton Haaker injured his elbow.
But three P3s on the night in Krakow were every bit the usual dogged results we expect from Alfredo. Unable to match the outright speed of his teammate was the only negative for Gomez: “Coming here my goal was to finish on the podium, so I’m happy with that but would have liked to have been closer to the leaders.”
Alfredo says it wasn’t the best of nights for him: “It was a difficult track to get right. In training I crashed and that knocked my confidence. But racing is always different and I did my best to fight forward. Races one and two were good but coming off the start line in race three I got a kick from another rider and lost a lot of places as a result. To recover to third after that was a good job.
“Leaving here third in points is a great start to the championship and I think as we work to develop the bike we can improve some more.”
Fast but too many mistakes for Walker
Coming back into the indoor World Championship for this season and a title contender we expected much from Walker and he delivered with superfast laptimes.
His speed in qualifying put both him and Bolt well clear of the field but one lap does not make a results in this game. We’ll let JW22 explain: “I felt like I had the pace for a podium result tonight if there were less mistakes.
“I knew coming into this round, after a year away from SuperEnduro, that it was going to take a bit of time to settle back into things. With fastest in timed training and second quickest in SuperPole I showed my speed is definitely there.
“I managed to get a wheel in front on a few occasions too, but too often hit the dirt on what was an unpredictable track. Next week I have another operation on my wrist, but following that I should be back to form for round two and ready to improve on tonight.”
Injuries and bike problems
The break between now and round two on January 4 will be good for Walker but also some of the riders capable but not quite shining as bright as we expected – notably Pol Tarres and Will Hoare. Tarres, the 2019 SuperEnduro P5 finisher, rode with busted tendons in his right thumb, which is not ideal in this environment!
The reigning Junior World Champion, Will Hoare, showed his pre-season training was hitting the right notes with super-fast times in qualifying practice. Immediately establishing himself among the front runners with P3 behind Jonny Walker and Billy Bolt, Hoare was faster than the King of Krakow, Taddy Blazusiak. Sadly for Will bike problems with KTM 350 EXC-F nipped any ambitions he may have had for a result in Krakow.
Cullins flies the Stars and Stripes
Ty Cullins had a baptism of fire across the three Junior class finals. He was clearly the fastest rider out there all through practice, qualifying and for the most part the races. But being fast in this sport doesn’t always convert to race results as Walker and Hoare proved.
A comfortable race one win turned to a narrow second in race two before an exhausting third in moto three as the brutal track caught up with everyone. The three podium riders – Cullins, Teodor Kabakchiev and Leon Hentschel – are seperated by just two points and Hentschel will have other ideas on home soil in Germany on January 4.
Photo Credit: Enduro21/Andrea Belluschi/Robert Lynn Jon PearsonEnduro21 Editor and Bike Testerjon.firstname.lastname@example.org