“You’ve got to keep positive” – Paul Bolton looking forward not backwards after knee injury rules him out of the opening WESS rounds of 2019.
Sixth place finisher in the 2018 World Enduro Super Series, Paul Bolton says he was in the best shape of his life with just two weeks to go before the opening round of the 2019 season.
Competing in the fourth round of the 2019 British Extreme Enduro Championship, Bolts was on for a podium finish when a simple crash brought his race and his 2019 WESS hopes crashing down.
“This was our final shake-down ride ahead of the WESS and things had been going so well.” Explains Paul. “I’d been really enjoying the riding and the training lately and I was definitely enjoying the event at Helmsley. I’m fit, I’ve done loads of training, loads of training schools and we were basically all set to go to Portugal.”
So what happened? Bolton explains: “I was in second place on the final lap, about 20 minutes to the finish and happy there behind Travis Teasdale, who was flying.
“I landed the front wheel on the side of a tractor rut which forced the wheel to wash. My reaction was to stamp the foot down. Two inches to the right and I wouldn’t have blinked. It was a super-fast, easy section in fifth gear, so it was a really big impact on the knee.
“That pulled my leg in and over the top of the back wheel, eventually skidding me to a stop. I didn’t even fall off, just sat upright on the bike with my leg stuck over the back wheel. I rolled my bike back to free the leg and plonked the foot on the peg and rode to the van. The pain was intense and the noises I heard were not good – I knew it was game over.”
“I had a hot bath and a cup of tea and that didn’t cure it.” – Paul Bolton.
The schedule for the 2019 WESS championship is a bit hectic, May is pretty much WESS month with Extreme Lagares, Trefle Lozerien and ErzbergRodeo blocking out most the month before a break up to June 21-23 and Hixpania Hard Enduro.
“The first operation is next week, key-hole surgery to repair the ligaments and then another for reconstruction down the line. From there I need to literally take it step by step to get the best recovery time and be back later in the season.”
Talking to Bolts was a lesson in staying positive in the face of what could and should be considered by many to be a massive blow. “It could have been worse, really, I could have been looking at more of a Billy (Bolt) problem with the ligaments and nerve damage, but my knee braces saved a much worse injury. The specialist told me we could have been looking at permanent damage without the knee braces.”
As privateers, the Boltons have already ploughed through the huge amounts of effort needed to get their season sorted: “We’d just finished months of preparation getting bikes ready and preparing for the mad month of May – three races with three different set-ups! We were booked and ready to go next week. Mrs B (Lisa Bolton) had been working so hard getting everything organised.”
“I have two race bikes ready for the first few races, a 300 two-stroke and a 350 four stroke and had them both rally well set-up to suit the different events. I had them all prepped and ready and this was really just a shakedown of the 300. It just needed a wash and loading up for Portugal.”
This is dirt bike racing and these are the hits you take as a rider. But zero negativity comes across from Team Bolton: “You’ve got to keep positive. You can look at it negatively and say I’ve put in all that work for nothing or you can take the positives.
“I was really keen to give Erzberg a proper go this year. I felt like last year I finished with a bit of fuel left in the tank and I know the event so well by now I have a plan. But, we know where we need to be and we’ll just do the same for next year.
“The good thing is I know where I was at with all the training and the preparation. I was in good shape to give WESS the best shot. I know I can get to that place again and that is the positive.”
“Looking forward is the only way for it, not to worry about what could have been but what will be.”
Photo Credit: The Boltons/Ashleigh Blunt Photography Jon PearsonEnduro21 Editor and Bike Testerjon.email@example.com