Wels, Austria - 12 May, 2023 — It’s go time! The FIM Hard Enduro World Championship gears up for its eagerly awaited series opener in Serbia, the Xross Hard Enduro Rally. With seven rounds scheduled for 2023, the four-day race that begins next Wednesday is set to put the world’s best Hard Enduro competitors through their paces from the very start of the series.
FIM Hard Enduro World Championship begins in Serbia
World’s best Hard Enduro competitors set to do battle
The Xross Hard Enduro Rally takes place across four days
Serbia’s only world championship level motorsport event
The Xross Hard Enduro Rally has been steadily growing in Hard Enduro stature since its first edition in 2014. When it joined the FIM Hard Enduro World Championship it became the first world championship level motorsport event to be held in Serbia.
An instant hit with competitors and fans alike, the Xross Hard Enduro Rally delivers with epic single track riding, adventure, and incredible Serbian landscapes that the competing Pro, Expert, Hobby, and Amateur riders all have to navigate.
Originally starting out as a ‘small’ event on the Kopaonik mountain, the event has grown and expanded to include the additional Mount Tara and Mokra Gora mountains, with Zlatibor becoming the new central location for the race. With the AKRAPOVIC prologue on Wednesday May 17th getting racing underway, each of the following three race days feature time-trial style racing over three unique 100-kilometre long courses. With the added difficulty of GPS navigation, it serves as a true Hard Enduro Rallye.
Manuel Lettenbichler heads a bumper entry list of top talent
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Manuel Lettenbichler enters round one as the defending FIM Hard Enduro World Champion. Despite missing the 2022 series opener due to injury, Lettenbichler made his return in style by winning round two at the Xross Hard Enduro Rally. Going on to clinch four more victories, he ultimately wrapped up the title in style. There’s no doubt that in 2023, the German will want to win again in Serbia, an event he already rates highly.
Sherco Factory Racing’s Mario Roman pushed Lettenbichler all the way for the title in 2022, only to narrowly miss out. The Spaniard is on top form, having won numerous off-season races. At 48-years young Graham Jarvis is still a major threat for the top step of the podium in Hard Enduro. Third in the Xross Hard Enduro Rally last year and winner of Red Bull Romaniacs, the Jarvis Magpul Racing team privateer certainly favours the long, GPS style races.
Returning to Serbia in 2023, Team Bulgaria powered by ECONT’s Teo Kabakchiev will be fired up for a strong performance. The young Bulgarian carded a debut podium there last year and regularly excels in these multi-day races.
Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Billy Bolt makes his return to the FIM Hard Enduro World Championship. Already crowned a 2023 FIM World SuperEnduro Champion, Bolt is clearly back to his best, ready to fight and win back the Hard Enduro title he last held in 2021.
The Pro class features a rich talent pool of riders for round one. Reiju’s Alfredo Gomez, Trystan Hart (KTM), Michael Walkner (GASGAS) and Wade Young (Sherco) are just some of the sport’s main players that can also deliver a podium performance in Serbia.
Stepping up to the senior ranks for 2023, is 2022 Junior World Champion Matthew Green (Rigo Racing). The South African put in some notable overall performances last year and will hope to make good on that at round one.
Paul Bolton to coach the next generation of riders
For 2023, the FIM Hard Enduro Junior World Championship supported by KLIM will host a KLIM Junior Camp in Zlatibor, Serbia before racing gets underway. With tutor Paul Bolton on hand to offer guidance and expertise, the goal is to best prepare riders ahead of the championship opener.
New for 2023 will be the Women’s Hard Enduro Performance Award supported by GASGAS. The award will be given to one female rider at all rounds of this year’s championship, with the clear goal of encouraging more female competitors to participate in Hard Enduro.
The 2023 FIM Hard Enduro World Championship gets underway with round one in Zlatibor, Serbia on May 17-20.