Privateers are the lifeblood in the heart of enduro. Jaume Betriu, Will Hoare and Rannar Uusna tell their stories of racing alongside some of the biggest names at some of the biggest events in 2018.
Away from the limelight shining on the factory teams, the talented privateers racing enduro deserve huge credit. Putting in all the effort to race the big events: the training, the prep, the travel…all at their own expense.
In 2018 we saw a new championship emerge, the World Enduro Super Series (WESS), which took in establish epic enduro events like Erzberg, Romaniacs, Trefle Lozerien and round seven upcoming, the Gotland Grand National.
A huge part of the WESS ethos is the fact amateurs and professionals compete side-by-side and these events have given chance for privateers in their thousands to race alongside the sport’s big names.
It’s all about the riders and equally all about enduro which is why, as a championship, WESS has attracted interest from a dedicated bunch of privateers keen to show their speed against riders like Graham Jarvis and Taddy Blazusiak.
Power to the privateer
Estonian Rannar Uusna, Great Britain’s William Hoare and Spanish National Enduro Champion Jaume Betriu are three privateers successfully dipping toes into WESS this year and taking the challenge to the top boys.
Competing in four rounds to date, 19-year-old William Hoare has achieved some notable success, most recently at rounds five and six. Despite being a self-supported privateer, his 15th place finish at Hawkstone Park Cross-Country and 21st at Red Bull Megawatt (without a front brake) is to be commended. Placing 50th in his debut Erzbergrodeo Red Bull Hare Scramble shows real potential and a youngster with a true Enduro spirit.
“I’ve managed to do four rounds of WESS this year but the last two at Red Bull 111 Megawatt and Hawkstone Park Cross-Country have been my best results yet,” says Hoare. “At Extreme XL Lagares I was ill on race day and wasn’t able to finish. It was my first time racing the Erzbergrodeo Red Bull Hare Scramble and I was pleased with 50th, reaching Checkpoint 19.
“I returned for the Red Bull 111 Megawatt and was really happy with how things went considering it was my first time there and I had a mechanical issue. My front brake stopped working on lap one resulting in some scary riding on the big sandy downhills. However, I feel like I showed my potential with 15th at Hawkstone Park Cross-Country.”
Betriu mixing disciplines
As a Spanish National Enduro Champion and former world championship campaigner, Jaume Betriu is naturally most at home in classic enduros. Squeezing in three rounds around his other commitments, the Spaniard enjoyed a wide spread of WESS racing with Classic Enduro, Cross-Country and Hard Enduro races.
“I was very interested by the mixed discipline format of WESS and decided to come and try it,” explains Betriu. “Unfortunately, with other championship commitments I was only able to do three rounds – Trèfle Lozérien AMV, Red Bull 111 Megawatt and finally Hawkstone Park Cross-Country. Trèfle Lozérien and Hawkstone Park were the type of races I know best but Red Bull 111 Megawatt was my first Hard Enduro.”
Deciding to try his first Hard Enduro race, the Spaniard signed up for Red Bull 111 Megawatt. Most comfortable in Saturday’s Sprint Enduro styled qualification, he finished an impressive 12th to ensure a front row start for Sunday’s main event. Easing his way into things, he impressed even himself on lap two by dipping inside the top 10 before a few costly errors shuffled him back to an eventual 14th.
“I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect,” admits Betriu. “The opening lap of the race was tough but then I found a good rhythm on lap two and gained some places back. But the last lap didn’t go to plan, I got tired and crashed a few times and finished 14th. But you have to take the first time as a learning year and now that I know what to expect I want to go back and finish inside the top 10, or better.”
Flying the flag for Estonia
Estonia’s Rannar Uusna has been a regular fixture in this year’s World Enduro Super Series. Attracted by the wide variation in events, and with each round offering something unique, Uusna has taken in all six rounds to date, often driving up to 1,400 kilometres to compete.
“The WESS appealed to me because it’s a little bit of everything in Enduro,” says Uusna. “You’ve got hard pack, sand and muddy terrain. One race is Hard Enduro, the next is Classic Enduro or a Cross-Country and I like that mixture because every race is always a different challenge.”
While the unpredictability of racing has bitten him on a couple of occasions, his never-say-die attitude has been impressive. After a strong qualification, a fuel issue plagued him throughout the Original Fast Eddy Cross-Country at Hawkstone Park for an eventual 16th. Now with two rounds remaining and both closest to his home, the Estonian is determined to end his 2018 campaign on a high.
“Overall, my season has been steady. I’ve collected points at every round except Red Bull Romaniacs where I had to stop on the penultimate day. My best result so far was 16th at Hawkstone Park. I enjoyed it even though I had some bike issues along the way, but I feel like my result could have been much better. The next round is Gotland and I’m looking forward to it because it is the closest WESS event to my home in Estonia and conditions will be similar.”
The World Enduro Super Series continues with round seven, Sweden’s Gotland Grand National, on October 26/27.
More information: iridewess.comPhoto Credit: Future7Media/Andrea Belluschi/Robert Lynn