Billy Bolt's latest exclusive blog for Enduro21 lands in the thick of SuperEnduro World Championship – hectic kits bags, battling with SuperEnduro tracks (and Taddy), plus why feeling good on the bike is everything.
Billy Bolt’s latest Enduro21 blog, episode seven, lands ahead of SuperEnduro World Championship round four in Budapest this coming weekend (February 1). Billy heads to Hungary with the championship leader’s red plate in a season which has seen him on top form in ultra-competitive races in Poland, Germany and Spain.
Mixing two-stroke and four stroke Husqvarnas, SuperEnduro training and preparations for the fast-approaching WESS Enduro World Championship season, Billy finds himself rained out of Spain and at training at altitude in the Pyrenees…
Hey everyone, I’m sending this blog from Andorra where I’ve been escaping the rain in Spain ahead of round four of the SuperEnduro World Championship this coming weekend.
I planned to be in Spain training between the third and fourth rounds but with severe rain and tornadoes (storm Gloria) it was absolute madness! I was in Girona at the beginning of last week and the whole town flooded, it’s gone mad!
Because of the rain there wasn’t any chance of constructive training towards SuperEnduro so I decided to come to Andorra for a few days in the snow to try and do something different. I got bored of watching it rain and going to the gym.
In fact the start of 2020 has been absolutely mental, hectic to be fare. I got back from South Africa on December 27 and since then I’ve only been at home for four days I think. I enjoy it like this, just slumming it out of a kit bag and getting on with it, riding the motorbike the whole time. I’m not complaining, I do like it to be hectic, but the logistics of flying here, there and everywhere does turn the kit bag into a bit of a mess. But it’s definitely a million times better than where I was last January.
The main priority for me right now is the SuperEnduro World Championship, obviously because we’re fighting for the championship. It’s a really big gap, six weeks, between the last two rounds of the 2020 championship which is not ideal at all, two or three weeks would be perfect, but it is what it is.
It is not going to do any harm to start the WESS preparations in that gap, we have to really. I enjoy the fact that we have two completely different championships, we’re quite lucky to be able to include different types of riding into our training in the sport of Enduro.
I don’t mind the mixture of training on different bikes – before the first round of the British Extreme Championship (Billy won that in the mud in January ahead of Jonny Walker and Taddy Blazusiak – E21) I only rode my 450 and then jumped on the 300 two-stroke I rode at Getzen last year. I think as long as you’re feeling good on the bike it doesn’t matter what you’re riding.
My next outdoor race will be the second round of the British Extreme Enduro Championship at Cowm Quarry on February 16. I hope the British fans come out to watch there. It was really nice to have that many fans at the first round to cheers us on. That’s one of the reasons I’ll be back for the second round. Loads of kids going mad, it was massive and really good to see.
Looking at the SuperEnduro rounds so far, it’s quite strange when you compare the races. In the Spanish round I was fastest in free practice and qualifying and I wasn’t quite happy with how I felt. Just before Superpole we made some quite big changes, not major, but in terms of what you’ll change during the day we went pretty large on the suspension, tyres and mousses, quite big changes and they helped during the race.
It’s not the norm to do it for a SuperEnduro race but with the track being so slippery it was the right thing to do so credit is due to my mechanic Lee and the team, they all worked really hard to get the bike dialled.
In Germany it was the complete opposite. I felt good and in practice and qualifying the times were good but then I think it was almost too good. I had the ideal line pretty much dialled in and I was faster than anyone else on the track but then it just didn’t happen in the race.
I made too many mistakes in Superpole and my head went from there. I spent all day riding perfect and when it came to a race, everything was a bit scrappy and I wasn’t prepared for that really. I did watch the races again and the first two I really gifted them away with two mistakes on the bridge, there isn’t anyone else to blame.
“Taddy is Taddy and if there’s anyone who’s going to fight until the end it is going to be him.”
For anyone who knows me from past racing you’ll put the mistakes in Germany down to a mental thing but I don’t think it was that. The fact I didn’t win Superpole with a track that suited me so well and having so much more speed than anyone else affected me.
But it is what it is and I learned a lot from it. Definitely took a lot from the race side of things and race management – it’s a learning experience and a shame that I gave so many points away but it was a good response in Spain on a track which really shouldn’t have suited me, I think I made the best out of the conditions.
Can I win the championship? I believe I can. It has been clear in each round that my speed hasn’t been in question and I have been the fastest guy on the track each time. I’m going to continue working to keep it like that.
I learned a lot from Germany about race management and that is only going to help moving forward. Obviously Taddy is Taddy and if there’s anyone who’s going to fight until the end it is going to be him. There still a lot of racing to go but I’m feeling good and really happy with the position I’m in, the bike and the team so I’m ready to give it my all.
Between this blog and the last there was obviously Christmas and then the Dakar Rally and with that the sad news about Paulo Goncalves. At the last round of SuperEnduro we held a minute’s silence for Paulo in the arena which was definitely a touching thing. It is sad and tragic but in a weird way it is one of the things that unites everybody, organizers, crowd and riders.
I did follow the Dakar quite a bit and I know some of the guys racing there – my friend Jamie McCanney was there. Jamie had a rough first week but he turned it around. It definitely appeals to me and I wouldn’t say no if I had the opportunity to give it a go. I would have some other goes at Rally before that because I wouldn’t like to go there just to make the numbers. I would like to test before to see if it was something that I was going to be any good at, but I wouldn’t rule it out that’s for sure.
“I think the series does miss the American riders, Cody and Colton, they’re pretty strong riders and it’s a shame they’re not here.”
Training for SuperEnduro is a good fitness training base in general because you’re hitting such high intensities and intervals. It puts the heart through so much stress which in general improves fitness.
It doesn’t sound like a big test in life to hit the same line for six minutes plus a lap in a SuperEnduro race but it’s really hard to complete a race without making mistakes. It is such hard work on the body and it’s so physical. More often than not there are also riders with bikes here, there and everywhere and the tracks do deteriorate a lot too.
We’re hitting the logs and rocks so hard they start to move and deteriorate. They do get quite slippery in places if there’s a water feature on the track or if there’s moisture in the logs or the ground.
Also, arm pump can creep in at any moment and it is quite hard to avoid it. I tend to be on the more adventurous line and it makes it even harder physically and mentally. That was one thing I learned from Germany, to get a bit of practice on the safer line and try to not go every lap for the hero line.
I think the series does miss the American riders, Cody and Colton (Webb and Haaker), they’re pretty strong riders and it’s a shame they’re not here. But I think the series works without them and the racing is still very entertaining between us this year. I’m sure they’ll be back soon.
“I really enjoy racing and training for SuperEnduro through the winter because it gives you such a good base for the rest of the year.”
I think my current riding form is down to having the time on the bike and having a good set- up sorted. At the start of the WESS 2019 year we were straight off the couch with just two weeks of riding into a lot of racing and not a lot of time testing, tuning or anything like that.
We had races spread apart towards the end of 2019 and that meant more time testing getting ready for SuperEnduro this year. We found a lot of bike settings from the two-stroke outdoor bike translated to the indoor bike, plus a few differences that were definitely steps in the right direction.
What’s next? Well, there’s small matter of round four of the SuperEnduro World Championship this weekend in Budapest – it’s a new venue so I’m looking forward to that. I feel refreshed after a bit of skiing last weekend and ready.
After that I’ve got a test with the factory for our new, 2020 two-stroke as well, so I’ll be riding the two-stroke a bit and probably mixing it up with my 450, riding motocross. I’m keeping busy and, like I say, it sure beats where I was 12 months ago.
Till the next time.
Photo Credit: Enduro21/Andrea Belluschi + Tilde Tighe + Andrew Greenwood