- Extreme XL Lagares
Spain’s Alfredo Gomez showed himself to be the rider to beat on day two of the World Enduro Super Series opener. Proving to be the Urban Enduro master, the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing rider claimed victory in the spectacular Porto Prologue.
In an all-out battle for supremacy on the cobbled streets of Porto, Gomez led home a stacked field of over 50 Pro riders, with Taddy Blazusiak (KTM – POL) and Billy Bolt (Husqvarna – GB) joining him on the podium in second and third respectively.
After Friday’s action-packed Endurocross kick-starting round one of WESS with Jonny Walker (KTM – GB) taking the win, the 300 competitors in this year’s Toyota Porto Extreme XL Lagares headed to downtown Porto for the infamous prologue.
Porto Opens Its Heart To Enduro
In the heart of the world heritage city’s bustling tourist district, the world’s best Enduro riders were treated to a tough and technical Endurocross arena that was linked to the city’s narrow cobbled streets. Thousands of spectators lined the sides of the race course adding to the incredible atmosphere in Porto.
With the Hobby, Veteran and Expert riders first to tackle a shortened version of the track, it was the Pro class riders who turned up the heat around the narrow, cobbled streets. Already a multi-time winner of the prologue, Gomez once again showed his rivals who’s the boss by topping the qualification.
Gomez Puts In A Masterclass On The Cobbles
With pole position secured for the final, Gomez didn’t disappoint and immediately put his Husqvarna out front. Commanding the cobbled climbs, he eased away from the chasing pack to take the win.
Behind him the battle for the remainder of the podium was played out between Blazusiak, Bolt, Walker and Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM – GER). Holding firm despite a few mistakes, Blazusiak grabbed second.
Walker Takes A Bath
In a showdown for third, Bolt held off a late attack from Walker to complete the top three. In his bid for the podium, Walker misjudged the floating bridge and ended up in the river. With Walker taking an unplanned bath, Lettenbichler capitalised to take fourth, with Wade Young (Sherco – RSA) fifth.
Round one of WESS at Toyota Porto Extreme XL Lagares concludes with Sunday’s Hard Enduro main event.
Alfredo Gomez: “The start was key to winning the prologue final. I managed to get into the lead and was able to control the pace. I’m not sure why but I always enjoy riding it – I think it’s because you are so close to the spectators on the track. Tomorrow will be the real test. I’d really like to come away with the win – I feel like I can do it, we’ll just see how things go.”
Billy Bolt: “I was having a good run in my prologue qualification but on the final decent through the streets I clipped a spectator who got too close to the race track and that really unnerved me. I was pleased with third after that. Looking forward to tomorrow, I guess we’ll just have to see how the opening lap goes. I’m riding good but I just don’t know where my fitness is in a race situation coming off the injury bench. To be honest, a podium result would be like a win.”
Wade Young: “I’m pleased with how things went in the prologue. It’s always a tricky one – get a good start and you can win, don’t and it’s a steady race. I feel like fifth was steady. But Sunday is where it really counts and I’m on the pace and have prepared well for it. I won in 2017, so I know what it takes to get the job done. I’ll be going all out for victory.”
Results – Toyota Porto Extreme XL Lagares – Porto Prologue
Pro Class Qualification
Alfredo Gomez (Husqvarna – ESP) 4:38.75; 2. Taddy Blazusiak (KTM – POL) 4:49.88; 3. Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM – GER) 4:50.99; 4. Wade Young (Sherco – RSA) 4:52.24; 5. Billy Bolt (Husqvarna – GB) 4:53.52; 6. Jonny Walker (KTM – GB) 4:54.58; 7. Diogo Vieira (Yamaha – PRT) 4:57.00; 8. Mario Roman (Sherco – ESP) 5:00.51; 9. Graham Jarvis (Husqvarna – GB) 5:03.71; 10. Travis Teasdale (KTM – RSA) 5:04.71…
Pro Class Final
1. Alfredo Gomez (Husqvarna – ESP)
2. Taddy Blazusiak (KTM – POL)
3. Billy Bolt (Husqvarna – GB)
4. Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM – GER)
5. Wade Young (Sherco – RSA)
Photo credit: Future7Media