Zlatibor, Serbia - 19 May, 2023 — Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Billy Bolt was a man on a mission today at round one of the FIM Hard Enduro World Championship, winning Offroad Day Two in Serbia. Following what proved a closely fought battle, after almost four hours of Hard Enduro racing Bolt took the win by just six seconds. Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Manuel Lettenbichler still leads the overall Xross Hard Enduro Rally classification thanks to his runner-up finish to Bolt.
Billy Bolt charges hard to win Offroad Day Two at Xross Hard Enduro Rally
Manuel Lettenbichler maintains overall lead with one day remaining in Serbia
Matthew Green takes the Hard Enduro Junior victory on day two
After yesterday’s wet and wild day in the Tara mountains, competitors faced much improved weather conditions for Offroad Day Two at round one of the FIM Hard Enduro World Championship. A new 100-kilometre-long course took riders into the Tara mountain range for the Xross Hard Enduro Rally. While the drier weather helped, the tracks were still heavy with mud and extremely slippery in places.
Fast riding from Bolt on day two
Following his 43-minute penalty for a navigational error yesterday, Billy Bolt (Husqvarna) was on a mission to make amends today. Starting 10th on the road didn’t faze the Brit and he was quick to make inroads into his rivals. Fastest in the first timed sector, Bolt was making good time in traffic. Working his way up the leaderboard, he pushed hard after the midday service. Topping the final sector, he took the day win and with it jumped from ninth to third in the overall classification.
Leading the field of riders away this morning, Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM) was also in a determined mood to try and make it two day wins in a row. The German bettered Bolt on the second timed sector before importantly setting the fastest time in the day’s longest sector as they arrived at service. Although keeping a strong pace in the latter half of the day, he just missed out to Bolt by six seconds. Nevertheless, finishing clear of closest rival Mario Roman (Sherco) by over eight minutes, Lettenbichler extends his overall lead at round one to 25 minutes with just one more day to go.
For Sherco Factory Racing’s Mario Roman it was another consistently strong day at the office as he battled his way through the slippery riverbeds and mountain climbs. The Spaniard was second to start this morning and set the quickest time on the second timed sector. A mistake towards the end dropped him back from the leading duo, but he still had enough in hand to take third.
Three-way battle for fourth
While the top three were clear out front, the battle from fourth to sixth was tight with just under three minutes separating them. After a tough outing yesterday, FMF KTM Factory Racing’s Trystan Hart regrouped well. The Canadian is still finding his feet in Hard Enduro Rally, but showed that when things come together his speed is there. Fourth today lifts him to a strong fourth in the overall classification.
ECONT Bulgaria’s Teodor Kabakchiev ended his day in fifth, while GASGAS’ Michael Walkner was just one minute behind in sixth. However, Walkner will be disappointed having slipped from third to sixth in the standings.
Change of leader in Juniors
In the FIM Hard Enduro Junior World Championship supported by KLIM there were plenty of changes with a new race leader emerging. Rigo Racing’s Matthew Green was pushing hard and it showed.
The young South African put in a very impressive ride to end his day as fastest Junior with eighth overall. With one day to go, he’s the new leader of the Junior category. Robert Crayston (KTM) is second overall, with Marc Fernandez (KTM) third.
Billy Bolt (Husqvarna): “I pushed hard from the off this morning and settled into things quite quick. I was passing riders and knew that I was running well in the overall. I never saw Mani all day, but once I had got past Mario I knew that I had a chance of the win. To take it by six seconds is pretty cool, it shows how hard we were all pushing.”
Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM): “After the service it was much faster than I expected. It was hard to judge the pace as I was first on the road, so I just rode to a level I was comfortable with. In the end the times were close with Billy winning by six seconds. But my overall lead is good, and I still feel strong heading into the final day.”
Mario Roman (Sherco): “More and more I’m pleased with my riding. I felt strong all day. When Billy caught up to me we rode together for a long time. Unfortunately, I made a mistake and he got away.”
Results: Round 1 - Xross Hard Enduro Rally
Offroad Day 2
1. Billy Bolt (Husqvarna) 3:51:43.84
2. Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM) 3:51.49.27
3. Mario Roman (Sherco) 4:00:35.23
4. Trystan Hart (KTM) 4:03:52.98
5. Teodor Kabakchiev (KTM) 4:05:28.23
6. Michael Walkner (GASGAS) 4:06:27.89
7. Wade Young (Sherco) 4:13:49.38
8. Matthew Green (KTM) 4:19:02.60
9. Alfredo Gomez (Rieju) 4:20:20.50
10. Graham Jarvis (Husqvarna) 4:22:45.85
Overall Classification (After Day 2)
1. Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM) 7:05:55.04
2. Mario Roman (Sherco) 7:30:57.97
3. Billy Bolt (Husqvarna) 7:40:27.61
4. Trystan Hart (KTM) 7:41:01.38
5. Teodor Kabakchiev (KTM) 7:42:53.54
6. Michael Walkner (GASGAS) 7:43:07.53
7. Graham Jarvis (Husqvarna) 8:02:08.75
8. Alfredo Gomez (Rieju) 8:13:55.86
9. David Cyprian (KTM) 8:19:51.74
10. Will Hoare (GASGAS) 8:32:14.76