KTM Factory Racing’s Manuel Lettenbichler came good to win Day Two of the Xross Hard Enduro Rally and take over the race lead at round two of the FIM Hard Enduro World Championship in Serbia.
Despite only returning to competitive action at round two following a six month knee injury, Lettenbichler is not only back in the mix, but on winning pace. The German took a clear win on Day Two by almost eight minutes to put his KTM at the head of the standings. Day One winner Teodor Kabakchiev (Team Bulgaria powered by ECONT) was again on top form to finish in second, with Sherco Factory Racing’s Wade Young third.
Manuel Lettenbichler claims victory on Day Two in Serbia
Lettenbichler takes the overall race lead with one day remaining
Matt Green tops Junior classification on Day Two
After showing plenty of promise on Day One, Manuel Lettenbichler clicked things up another gear on Day Two. As the fourth rider to begin, he went on full attack mode in the morning’s opening special stage – the longest of the day at almost two hours and 30 minutes – where he stopped the clocks over nine minutes faster than his rivals. Day One winner Kabakchiev was also riding hard and although he didn’t have an answer for Lettenbichler, he was second fastest and over one minute quicker than AG Racing Team 89’s Alfredo Gomez in third.
A short, but tough stage awaited riders for the second of the day’s three special stages. This time it was Hard Enduro legend Graham Jarvis (Jarvis Racing Team Husqvarna) who mastered the terrain best. David Cyprian (KTM) rode strongly to place one minute and 20 seconds behind Jarvis in second, with Day One runner-up Michael Walkner (GASGAS) third. Arguably the stage’s most impressive result came from Junior rider Suff Sella (AG Racing Team 89), who placed fourth.
Jarvis was again on song for the day’s final hour-long stage, and was determined to make up for lost time from the morning. Embracing some of the toughest sections of the day, Jarvis took the stage win by 28 seconds from Young, with Kabakchiev third and Lettenbichler fourth. However, the time set by Jarvis would not be enough to overhaul Lettenbichler for the Day Two win.
Overall Race Lead Changes Hands
With Lettenbichler taking top honours on Day Two, he also put his KTM out front in the overall classification with just one day of racing remaining. Right when it matters most, Lettenbichler is suddenly now in the driving seat to win round two of this year’s FIM Hard Enduro World Championship.
However, the German knows there’s still an awfully long way to go with another four hours plus of racing remaining. He holds a narrow six-minute and 13-second lead over Kabakchiev, who is hunting down his debut FIM Hard Enduro win.
With Jarvis also looking back to his legendary best, and only seven minutes behind Kabakchiev, he too could pull off a surprise result tomorrow. Dropping from first to fourth, Day Two was a bad one for Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Billy Bolt. However, he has one chance left to race his way back onto the podium. Everything is still to play for.
Green Extends Junior Lead
In the FIM Hard Enduro Junior Cup, a consistently strong ride from Rigo Racing’s Matt Green saw him secure his second win of the Xross Hard Enduro Rally on Day Two. The South African put in the groundwork on the opening special stage to open up a comfortable advantage. Despite repeated attacks from Sella, Green added to his overall race lead by 20 minutes.
Manuel Lettenbichler: “When you’re in a race you always somehow lift your game. To lead today and pull a gap over the other guys was insane. Today had some super gnarly sections, mixed with fast sections too. It’s been a hard day, so I hope I have a bit left in the tank for a solid day tomorrow.”
Teodor Kabakchiev: “It was extreme today. The last part was super-fast and I was hoping there wouldn’t be a surprise tough section at the end. We’ve one day to go and I’m second overall, which is incredible. It would be a dream to make it onto the podium.”
Wade Young: “I hurt my back yesterday and so today I had to make some small adjustments to feel more comfortable on the bike. It helped for sure, and I was able to ride better and stay in contention all day.”
Graham Jarvis: The riding has been incredible so far. Lots of variety in the terrain and I’m enjoying it. I felt good today, hopefully I can feel good tomorrow!”
Results – FIM Hard Enduro World Championship, Round 2
1. Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM) 4:16:46; 2. Teodor Kabakchiev (KTM) 4:21:57; 3. Wade Young (Sherco) 4:23:12; 4. Graham Jarvis (Husqvarna) 4:24:50; 5. Alfredo Gomez (GASGAS) 4:35:42; 6. Billy Bolt (Husqvarna) 4:41:08; 7. David Cyprian (KTM) 4:41:14; 8. Michael Walkner (GASGAS) 4:43:17; 9. Wil Hoare (GASGAS) 4:52:15; 10. Dominik Olszowy (GASGAS) 5:01:18…
Overall Classification (After Day Two)
1. Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM) 8:18:59; 2. Teodor Kabakchiev (KTM) 8:25:12; 3. Graham Jarvis (Husqvarna) 8:32:16; 4. Billy Bolt (Husqvarna) 8:43:25; 5. Wade Young (Sherco) 8:45:58; 6. Michael Walkner (GASGAS) 8:47:25; 7. Alfredo Gomez (GASGAS) 9:00:39; 8. David Cyprian (KTM) 9:01:07; 9. Will Hoare (GASGAS) 9:15:43; 10. Matt Green (GASGAS) 9:40:43…