WESS 2019: Winning start for Walker at Extreme Lagares Endurocross

Race report from Friday night’s Endurocross qualifier races at Extreme XL Lagares, round one of the WESS championship.

 

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jonny Walker has taken the win on the opening day of competition at round one of the World Enduro Super Series at Toyota Porto Extreme XL Lagares.

The 2019 Lagares weekend got off to a spectacular start with a night of tightly-fought Endurocross races stretching across the afternoon and eventually running deep into the night for the 10 rider final.

 
Lagares Endurocross lap1 2019 560
 

Among the entry of almost 300 competitors, over 50 Pro riders went head-to-head during a series of qualification heats and semi-finals to reach the final race.

Showing their best during the evening, Jonny Walker (KTM - GB), Taddy Blazusiak (KTM - POL), Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM - GER), Graham Jarvis (Husqvarna - GB), Josep Garcia (KTM - ESP), Alfredo Gomez (Husqvarna - ESP), Wade Young (Sherco - RSA) plus home favourite Diogo Vieira (Yamaha) took to the start line of the six-minute plus two lap race.

 
jonny.walker Wess 2019 Rnd1 Extreme Lagares 2825 560
 

Late night final brings KTM 1-2-3

Lettenbichler was fastest out of the starting gate in the final with Garcia, Blazusiak and Walker in hot pursuit the pressure was on.

Blazusiak made a dive for the lead at the end of lap one but a mistake in the slippery rock garden on lap two allowed Walker to jump past both Blazusiak and Lettenbichler and into the lead.

Walker commanded the rest of the race, resisting late attacks from Blazusiak to claim victory on day one in Portugal. 

 
Lagares Endurocross Walker 2019 560
 

Significantly, the win also marked Walker’s first major win over his rivals since crashing out of the World Enduro Super Series in Poland in September of last year. 

By contrast, reigning WESS champion, Billy Bolt had a tougher time at his first race back after serious leg injuries and did not make it beyond the semi-final stage.

Behind Walker, Blazusiak chased his teammate across the line for second, while Lettenbichler took third. Gomez pushed hard to place fourth and close to the podium with Garcia a strong fifth.

The Toyota Porto Extreme XL Lagares, round one of WESS, continues with Saturday’s Urban Prologue in Porto.

 
Lagares Endurocross podium 2019 560
 

Friday Endurocross results:

  1. Jonny Walker (KTM - GB) 7 laps, 1:11.823
  2. Taddy Blazusiak (KTM - POL) 8:44.299
  3. Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM - GER) 8:46.859 
  4. Alfredo Gomez (Husqvarna - ESP) 8:46.604 
  5. Josep Garcia (KTM - ESP) 9;05.133
 
Photo credit: Future7Media/Andrea Belluschi
 
 
 
 
Byline jp ISDE 2018 Enduro21
Jon Pearson
Enduro21 Editor and Bike Tester
jon.pearson@enduro21.com