Round two of the FIM Hard Enduro World Championship gets underway at the Xross Hard Enduro Rally with Billy Bolt topping the prologue time sheets. The Husqvarna Factory Racing rider fended off a strong contingent of riders to win the AKRAPOVIC Straight Rhythm over AG Racing Team 89’s Alfredo Gomez and Sherco Factory Racing’s Mario Roman.
Billy Bolt wins AKRAPOVIC Straight Rhythm prologue
Alfredo Gomez and Mario Roman finish second and third, respectively
Racing begins in earnest on Thursday with the first of three 100-kilometre-long days
The second stop of the FIM Hard Enduro World Championship roared into life in Serbia with the Xross Hard Enduro Rally’s AKRAPOVIC Straight Rhythm prologue. A street course with multiple man-made Hard Enduro obstacles saw competitors go head-to-head as they battled each other to progress through a series of heats.
A morning qualifier to establish the running order saw Billy Bolt set the fastest time of the 16 competitors who advanced through to the evening’s race program. Keeping his pace on point, Bolt steadily worked his way through each heat to reach the final.
In similar fashion, Alfredo Gomez – second fastest in the morning qualifier – was also riding well on his GASGAS and managed to dispose of each rival to face off against Bolt for the final. As the two fastest riders of the evening it was always going to be a hard battle to call. But Bolt had a little extra up his sleeve, managing to keep the Spaniard at bay and come out on top.
For Gomez however, it was a good evening’s work that saw the Spaniard finish second as he got his Xross Hard Enduro Rally off to a strong start. Behind the leading duo it was Mario Roman who placed third, with Graham Jarvis and Wade Young completing the top five.
With the prologue complete, the Xross Hard Enduro Rally begins in earnest with tomorrow’s opening day of racing. A 100-kilometre-long Enduro day awaits the 150-strong contingent of riders.
Billy Bolt: “I’m delighted to pick up the win tonight. Although it’s only the prologue, and we’ve three big days to come, it’s always good to see your name at the top of the time sheets. It was a fun course and nice to put a show on for the spectators that came out to watch. Tomorrow’s riding will be unknown to most, but I’m excited to get going.”
Alfredo Gomez: “I enjoyed that tonight. The format was cool, and it was good battling with different riders in the heats. I knew for the final Billy would be tough to beat and if I wanted to win, I needed to take a little extra risk. I tried a new line on the tyres but it didn’t pay off and I lost the battle. But I can’t complain too much, second is a good start and there’s still a long way to go!”
Round two of the FIM Hard Enduro World Championship takes place at Serbia’s Xross Hard Enduro Rally on May 18-21.