Enduro21 trackside notes and rider quotes from the penultimate SuperEnduro World Championship round of 2020 in Budapest, Hungary – is a 16 points lead enough for Billy Bolt or can Taddy Blazusiak claw it back?
Before the final round of the 2020 SuperEnduro World Championship in Hungary on Saturday night, we posed points leader Billy Bolt the question: “Is this your championship to lose?”
“It’s clear in each round that my speed hasn’t been in question and I’ve been the fastest guy on the track.” Billy answered. In the first three rounds Bolt’s results see-sawed with the opening GP win in Poland he then dropped the ball in Germany at round two with mistakes in the three motos and a GP where he “let it get to his head too much.”
Bolt bounced back in Spain for round three with another emphatic display fastest in every session. At the end of moto one in Hungary on Saturday night, when a clearly angry with himself Billy handed his bike to mechanic Lee Edmondson and stormed to his pit, you’d have been excused for expecting another night of things getting to this head to much.
But a calm and collected Bolt arrived at the start line for race two and promptly set about making a mockery of the reverse grid to be up front with Jonny Walker by the end of lap one – at the time it was hard to see how the hell they had done it.
“I came here wanting to show a new me. Often I make mistakes and rush things too much on track, but I’ve been working hard to be smooth, fast and importantly patient. Admittedly in race one I made too many errors and a better result than third slipped away, but I regrouped for the rest of the night. I picked the right moments to attack and was able to win both races comfortably.” Bolt explained fresh off the podium.
So is it Billy’s championship to lose now? “Taddy is Taddy and if there’s anyone who’s going to fight until the end it is going to be him. But I’ll be ready and get my head down during the next weeks to be in the right place physically and mentally for Poland.” Says Billy in the post-race press conference.
Blazusiak has history
He’s right though, you can never count a legend out. Although Taddy Blazusiak didn’t look his usual confident self in Hungary, it is as well to remember some key facts here: the final round on March 14 is in Lodz, Poland and Taddy always, but always pulls extra punches in front of his home crowd.
Secondly, we have been here before. The previous two seasons have seen the title leader arrive with sizeable points leads only for it all to come down to the last moto – 12 points last season for Colton Haaker but notably in 2018 when Cody Webb arrived for the final three motos 17 points ahead Blazusiak.
The history books show that Webb took the 2018 title to his credit, but on the night nerves clearly got the better of Cody and but for a broken rear shock in race two, Taddy could have won.
Despite Taddy not being on his game in Hungary, it definitely ain’t over till it is over: “I feel like I made the wrong decisions regards set-up during practice. I expected the track to develop in a different way than it did and that made it harder for me to race on.
“I was off my game in the first two races and when I got to the front in race three, I couldn’t be consistent in my riding and made mistakes. Unfortunately, that’s how racing goes sometimes, but I’ll go to Poland hoping to do all I can to win. It’s my home race, I’ve got five weeks to prepare, be ready and go for the title.”
Walker quickest out the blocks
One rider who was looking like his confident self in Budapest was Jonny Walker who established a marker in the Hungarian dirt from the opening seconds of first practice.
When the FIM bods checked watches and declared the track open, most of the Prestige class were still in the pits putting boots and helmets on. Except Walker who was ready and ripped out onto the track as first rider, instantly looking like he meant business.
The speed and the aggression were there from the start and though it wasn’t long before Bolt and the boys joined him, Walker had already laid down a couple of laps on a largely empty track.
Jonny transferred that to a moto one win: “I’d been waiting for a ride like I had in race one for a while now. Things just sort of clicked and came together and I was able to make it count for the win.
“I got a strong start and put myself into the lead on lap two and was never properly challenged. It was brilliant to get a race win under my belt again.
“For the rest of the night my speed was there, but that break just didn’t come. But to back race one up with a pair of second place finishes is very good. I enjoyed myself a lot on the track.”
Interestingly it was good to see there were no team tactics involved as Walker took places and points away from his teammate Blazusiak on the night. In Walker’s words Taddy “showed me his front wheel a few times” as the pair fought for the same pieces of track but Jonny clearly wasn’t in the mood for yielding.
“There’s still a lot to play for at the final round. We’re going to Lodz which is a stadium I’ve enjoyed a lot of success at in the past, so I’ll be fighting hard to end the series on a high for sure.” Added Walker.
Confident Kabachiev takes hold of Junior title race
Arguably the best racing on the night was in the Junior class, in particular in the third of three motos which saw title contenders Teodor Kabachiev and Leon Hentschel battle back and forth for the win.
The lead changed multiple times in a contest which had the 8000-plus crowd on their feet and was only decided late in the race when Hentschel dropped it in the rocks and allowed Kabachiev to run away with his third win of the night. Crucially that put the tall Bulgarian into the lead in the points standings.
Looking like the favourite in this close Junior contest heading to the final round in Poland next month, Teodor says it is the fitness and training which is paying off: “Yeah, really I am so happy to be taking three wins here and the position it puts me in but it is all the effort I have put in which is bring the results. We’ve been working hard for this and it is paying off.”
Easily a rival to Cody Webb in terms of being the tallest rider in SuperEnduro history, Kabachiev was cheered home by a bank of Bulgarian fans in the Budapest stands: “I tried to be consistent in all races but tonight it was proof that you have to be fast and not make mistakes and it can work for you. I can’t wait for the last round in Poland.”
Neither can we Teodor. The SuperEnduro World Championship resumes on March 14, Poland.
Photo Credit: Enduro21/Andrea BelluschiJon PearsonEnduro21 Editor and Bike Testerjon.firstname.lastname@example.org