1000 competitors are heading for Poland’s Red Bull 111 Megawatt this coming weekend for round five of the World Enduro Super Series – but who’s going to win?
Three-time Megawatt winner Jonny Walker surely starts as favourite this weekend as current WESS championship points leader. But Walker has some serious competition in the giant, Polish mine not least from Manuel Lettenbichler and Billy Bolt sitting close behind in the points. That’s not to mention the local hero Taddy Blazusiak fired up and ready to take a WESS win at Megawatt.
With the summer break complete, the World Enduro Super Series readies itself for the second half of the championship. A high-intensity four rounds in 10 weeks beginning this weekend in Poland will takes a different shape as the series takes on cross-country, epic Swedish enduro and a Dutch beach race.
Now in its fifth edition, Red Bull 111 Megawatt offers a unique twist on Cross-Country racing – requiring competitors to display elements of speed, technical riding, fitness, head-to-head racing and race craft in order to be successful.
Staged over two days, Saturday sees 1000 amateur and professional riders vie for a place on Sunday’s all-important start line. Two special tests — Motocross and Endurocross — will be raced twice with the fastest 500 making the grade for Sunday’s main event.
On Sunday riders race three laps of a demanding 30-kilometre long course that weaves around Europe’s largest coal mine. Filled with large sandy climbs, near-vertical drop offs, gigantic sandy moguls and a multitude of high-speed Enduro trails, it pushes riders to their physical and mental limits.
Victorious in Poland for the last three years, championship leader Walker has made the Red Bull 111 Megawatt his own. Ferociously fast around the Belchatow mine, the British rider is yet to claim a win in this season’s WESS but has been the model of consistency. The KTM rider knows maximum points at round five will set him up perfectly for the remaining rounds.
With three podium visits in four races, 20-year-old privateer Manuel Lettenbichler is knocking on the door of his debut WESS victory and growing in stature with every round. With 185 points separating him from Walker, a win in Poland could turn the standings on its head at this crucial part in the series.
Classic Enduro and Cross-Country specialists Josep Garcia and Nathan Watson are two riders who will have been waiting for this second half of the WESS season to begin. With the tough Extreme races under their belts the run from here on in could easily see the KTM pairing taking victories and rise up the ranks. Watson is a renowned sand specialist and though Megawatt contains many elements, he’ll certainly be a challenger in the sandy mine conditions.
Similarly Garcia has the skills and the breadth of his abilities are well-known. Watch these two…
Round four winner Wade Young will also be a strong contender in Poland. The South African, sits fourth overall in the championship and is certainly a podium contender.
So too is his Sherco Factory Racing teammate, Mario Roman. The Spaniard has two second places at Megawatt, narrowly shadowing Walker across the finish line both times. Fit and healthy again after his injuries sustained at Red Bull Romaniacs, Roman will be hoping for third time lucky.
Graham Jarvis is another rider looking to add to his 2018 win tally in Poland. Third in last year’s edition of the race, he’s shown he is capable of finishing on the podium and will be eager to make amends for his disappointing non-finish at Romaniacs.
So too will home favourite founder of Red Bull 111 Megawatt, Taddy Blazusiak who won the first edition of the race back in 2014, beating Walker straight up. Ready to kick start the second half of WESS in the best possible way, a win by Blazusiak would be memorable and hugely popular on Polish soil. Currently fifth overall in the championship, Paul Bolton is another rider never to be counted out. Likewise, Travis Teasdale, Lars Enockl and Rannar Uusna will all be fighting hard for a top 10 finish.
Red Bull 111 Megawatt Schedule:
Saturday, September 8 Qualification
10:00-14:00 — Round 1
14:30-18:30 — Round 2
Sunday, September 9 Cross-Country races:
9:45 - Final B (qualifiers 501-750)
1:11pm - Final Race (qualifiers 1-500)
Photo Credit: Robert Lynn and Andrea Belluschi/Future7Media, Lukasz Nazdraczew/Red Bull Content Pool