Marking round seven of the World Enduro Super Series, Sweden’s Gotland Grand National lived up to its celebrated reputation as being both the world’s largest, and muddiest, Enduro race with Albin Elowson making waves en route to a debut victory.
From Friday evening onwards rain fell hard on the small island of Gotland, turning the once dry 22-kilometre course into a chronic mud bath as 3000 bikes churned away at the Swedish soil.
Obvious that it would be a race of attrition, the Swedish riders cast a shrew smile from the start line, well aware that their local knowledge and ‘home’ advantage would stand them in good stead during the three-hour race.
Executing his race plan to perfection, Husqvarna Sweden’s Albin Elowson delivered a near-flawless performance to claim an emphatic victory, while etching his name onto the Gotland Grand National winners list for the first time.
“I think this has to be one of the greatest moments of my career,” tells the 23-year-old Swede. “Everything about the race this year was so difficult – the weather, the track conditions and the quality of the world-class riders. To get it right and win like this is huge for me, it’s been a dream race.”
Albin positioned himself perfectly, taking control of the race lead on lap one of the six lap race. After an early battle with closest rival Robert Kvarnstrom (Yamaha), he managed to break away from his challengers and ride his own race.
“I got a decent start and tried to make some passes in the early chaos,” explains Albin. “I got a little arm pump but luckily that cleared. I had a good fight with Kvarnstrom but after the first pit stop I was able to open a small gap and managed to maintain that lead for the whole race.”
Maintaining clear vision was a concern for the majority of the 3000 riders in the muddy conditions, meaning managing clear goggles was unquestionably a priority…
“The mud was horrendous, so clean goggles were a must. I went through a lot of goggles, I think at least one pair each lap. Clear vision was key to this race – being able to see where you were going – it was impossible to ride properly without it.”
No stranger to the World Enduro Super Series, Albin also competed in round three’s Trèfle Lozérien AMV in France, riding to a very impressive 11th overall shortly after returning from injury.
“I really enjoyed Trèfle Lozérien,” recalls Albin. “I like the Classic Enduro format and was able to put in a good result despite still not being at 100 per cent due to an injury. Now it’s nice to come back to WESS fit and healthy for the Gotland Grand National and claim a result like this to show what I’m capable of.”
The 2018 World Enduro Super Series concludes with the eighth and final round at Red Bull Knock Out in The Netherlands on November 10.
Watch Gotland Grand National 26-minute Recap Program on Red Bull TV from November 5th.
Photo credit: Future7Media