The 2022 FIM Hard Enduro World Championship reaches the halfway point of the season this weekend with Red Bull Abestone in Italy. In what have proved to be three explosive and exciting rounds so far, we’ve yet to see anyone truly dominate and run away with things at the top of the series standings.
At the head of the championship it’s Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Billy Bolt who leads the way, but with only five points separating the top three and a further 14 points separating the top six, it’s all to play for this weekend as the battle for this year’s title ramps up…
Billy Bolt – Husqvarna Factory Racing
As the defending FIM Hard Enduro World Champion, Billy Bolt will be pleased to see his name at the top of the standings. However, it may also be somewhat of a surprise to the Husqvarna rider. In truth he’s been unable to show his true best due to multiple injuries but displaying some serious Hard Enduro spirit has unquestionably paid off. Winner of Red Bull Abestone in 2021, Billy will aim to make it a repeat victory this weekend.
Mario Roman – Sherco Factory Racing
Mario Roman hit the ground running for 2022 by winning round one and he’s not let off the gas since. He showed considerable grit and determination to finish 10th in Serbia with a broken toe. With a runner-up result at Red Bull Erzbergrodeo, he’s proven himself as a serious contender in this title fight. The Spaniard is riding as good as he’s ever done and will be a threat in Italy.
Manuel Lettenbichler – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
Despite missing the season-opener in Israel due to injury, Manuel Lettenbichler has raced his way back into the title fight thanks to a pair of wins in Serbia and Austria. He’s riding a wave of supreme confidence right now and appears to have the most momentum on his side. A close second to Billy here last year, Lettenbichler is racing to win at Red Bull Abestone.
Alfredo Gomez – AG Racing Team 89
Although yet to hit the podium in 2022, Alfredo Gomez has enjoyed a relatively quiet but productive start to his championship campaign. He appears to be well-settled and comfortable on his new GASGAS machinery too. No doubt targeting a podium result, a top-three finish will strengthen his form heading into the second half of the season.
Wade Young – Sherco Factory Racing
South Africa’s Wade Young holds down fifth overall but has yet to really make his mark. A navigation error prevented a potential podium result in Israel, while Serbia and Austria didn’t go his way. He’ll hope to turn things around this weekend, ahead of his favoured Red Bull Romaniacs at round five.
Graham Jarvis – Jarvis Racing Husqvarna
Graham Jarvis entered round three’s Red Bull Erzbergrodeo as the championship leader. But receiving outside help for a technical issue saw that lead unravel, despite putting in a heroic ride at the time. Reeling those lost points, the Hard Enduro legend will naturally be chasing redemption this weekend.
Michael Walkner – GASGAS Factory Racing
Young Austrian Michael Walkner is having a coming-of-age this season. Consistently putting his GASGAS up at the sharp end of the leaderboard has given him a wealth of confidence. At round three he showed he has the pace and heart to battle with the best in the world. It’s only a matter of time before he claims a debut podium result. Red Bull Abestone could be his day.
Teodor Kabakchiev – Team Bulgaria powered by ECONT
Bulgaria’s Teodor Kabakchiev is another young gun rustling the feathers of Hard Enduro’s established elite. His season highlight to date was a debut FIM Hard Enduro podium at the Xross Hard Enduro Rally. With the speed and talent to mix it with the best, Teodor is hungry to return to the top three.
Matthew Green – Rigo Racing
New for 2022 is the Junior Hard Enduro category. Aimed at offering a platform for young and up-and-coming talent to perform on, we’ve seen Matthew Green rise to the fore. Winner of both of the opening rounds of the Junior class in Serbia and Austria, Matthew also achieved his debut finish of the Red Bull Erzbergrodeo for a very impressive eighth. With his confidence high, expect even more from the young South African this weekend.
Round four of the FIM Hard Enduro World Championship takes place at Italy’s Red Bull Abestone on July 8-10.
Championship Standings (After round three)
1. Billy Bolt (Husqvarna) 45pts; 2. Mario Roman (Sherco) 43pts; 3. Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM) 40pts; 4. Alfredo Gomez (GASGAS) 34pts; 5. Wade Young (Sherco) 32pts; 6. Graham Jarvis (Husqvarna) 30pts; 7. Michael Walkner (GASGAS) 29pts; 8. Teodor Kabakchiev (KTM) 27pts; 9. David Cyprian (KTM) 24pts; 10. Dominik Olszowy (GASGAS) 21pts…