Britain’s Billy Bolt (Husqvarna) has laid down the gauntlet at round three of the FIM Hard Enduro World Championship, producing the fastest qualification time at the Abestone Hard Enduro. Already looking at home in the Tuscan mountains, Bolt topped Saturday’s time sheets ahead of Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM) and Taddy Blazusiak (GASGAS).
After a nine-week wait between the opening round at Extreme XL Lagares and the Abestone Hard Enduro, this year’s FIM Hard Enduro World Championship has finally roared into life. Friday’s ELEVEIT Extreme Test gave competitors a chance to stretch their legs over a short but demanding extreme course. Bolt was immediately on point, laying down the fastest time to secure himself an early advantage heading into Saturday’s qualification.
Raced three times with the best time to count, the JUST1 Special Test was a 10-kilometre loop that mixed technical forestry tracks with some high-speed mountain top trails. The top 50 riders qualified through to Sunday’s LIQUI MOLY Super Final.
Keen to take that top qualifier spot, Bolt was a rider on a mission from the off. Setting the fastest time, he put himself out front and ahead of Lettenbichler, Blazusiak, Jonny Walker (Beta) and Wade Young (Sherco).
With the benchmark set, Bolt then shaved another four seconds off his time on run two, before squeezing another three seconds out on his third and final run to comfortably top the time sheets. With his best time coming on his second lap, Lettenbichler earned himself the runner-up result, while Blazusiak also claimed his best time on his second run, for third.
It was a closely fought affair though, with Walker finishing fourth, just one tenth of a second slower than Blazusiak. With his best time on lap three, Young took fifth, while Dominik Olszowy was less than one second behind in sixth.
Spurred on by home support, Sonny Goggia (GASGAS) was seventh quickest, while Travis Teasdale (GASGAS) placed eighth. The Husqvarna duo of Graham Jarvis and Alfredo Gomez rounded out the top 10, but will no doubt be a pair to watch for in tomorrow’s LIQUI MOLY Super Final when the going is set to get tough. Likewise, Sherco’s Mario Roman in 12th will be another rider to keep an eye on.
Sunday’s racing sees a morning three-hour MITAS Final for those who didn’t make the top-50, before round three of the FIM Hard Enduro World Championship at Abestone Hard Enduro concludes with the LIQUI MOLY Super Final in the afternoon.
Billy Bolt (Husqvarna): “It’s been a great start to the weekend – fastest in Friday’s timed practice and then quickest in all three runs today for the top qualifier. To be honest, I’m just enjoying things a lot here and the riding Abestone Hard Enduro has on offer is great. Tomorrow we get down to the business end of things. My goal is to win, but I know there’s 10 other guys capable of doing that too!”
Round 3: Abestone Hard Enduro – JUST1 Special Test qualifier
1. Billy Bolt (Husqvarna) 8:13.86; 2. Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM) 8:26.71; 3. Taddy Blazusiak (GASGAS) 8:36.53; 4. Jonny Walker (Beta) 8:36.58; 5. Wade Young (Sherco) 8:43.10; 6. Dominik Olszowy (KTM) 8:44.03; 7. Sonny Goggia (GASGAS) 8:51.80; 8. Travis Teasdale (GASGAS) 8:54.58; 9. Graham Jarvis (Husqvarna) 9:01.58; 10. Alfredo Gomez (Husqvarna) 9:01.87…
2021 FIM Hard Enduro World Championship calendar
Round 3: Abestone Hard Enduro – Italy, July 9/10/11
Round 4: Red Bull Romaniacs – Romania, July 27/28/29/30/31
Round 5: Red Bull TKO – USA, August 13/14/15
Round 6: HERO Challenge – Poland, September 11/12
Round 7: Hixpania Hard Enduro – Spain, October 1/2/3
Round 8: GetzenRodeo – Germany, October 29/30