Spain’s Alfredo Gomez (Husqvarna) has come out on top at round seven of the FIM Hard Enduro World Championship, claiming victory at the 24MX Hixpania Hard Enduro. Making it a Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing one-two, teammate Billy Bolt took second to extend his championship lead over Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Manuel Lettenbichler, who completed the podium with third.
Always a danger man on home soil, Gomez came on form at just the right moment to secure a memorable win in the deciding The Lost Way race. With Bolt topping the proceedings on Friday and Saturday, many thought the British rider would keep that momentum rolling through Sunday, but hopes of a clean sweep failed to materialize.
With the 50 qualified riders facing a tough battle during the three-hour The Lost Way race, Gomez was up for the fight. Fast and clinical around the intense five-kilometre course, Gomez barely put a wheel out of place as he found his flow on the technical rocky climbs and steep quarry walls.
Despite a late push from Bolt, Gomez had enough in hand entering the final extreme loop. Beautifully mastering the last climb, the Spaniard crossed the finish line as the well-deserved winner.
For Bolt, The Lost Way was filled with ups and downs. Although making good the Le Mans start, he failed to hit the rhythm he’d shown during the previous two days. Working his way up the leaderboard, he began to come on strong as the race entered the second half. But with Gomez comfortably out front, it was a gap he couldn’t close. However, in the fight for this year’s championship honours, in finishing as runner-up, Billy extend his lead over closest rival Lettenbichler, by two points.
Sitting second behind Gomez after the opening lap, Lettenbichler was in a strong position to take back the championship lead. However, Bolt was closing in and pretty soon the duo were locked in a battle for second. Not quite able to keep Bolt at bay, Lettenbichler slipped behind him, and as Bolt upped his pace in the closing laps, he had to settled for third.
Behind the top three, the race was filled with plenty of drama as the overnight rain made an already tough course even harder. Sherco Factory Racing’s Mario Roman fought his way through for fourth. Entering round seven third in points, Wade Young (Sherco) lost ground to Bolt and Lettenbichler with fifth in Spain. Putting in a strong performance, GASGAS Factory Racing’s Michael Walkner was sixth, while Britain’s Jonathan Richardson (Husqvarna) impressed, coming home seventh.
The 2021 FIM Hard Enduro World Championship concludes with the eighth and final round of the season at Germany’s GetzenRodeo on October 30.
Alfredo Gomez (Husqvarna): “I’m so happy to take the win here in 24MX Hixpania Hard Enduro, it’s definitely been a tough race, but it feels so good to do it in front of the Spanish fans. I saved some energy for today and it has certainly paid off. I took the lead on lap one and just felt good straight away. I managed to focus on myself and not make too many mistakes. It felt awesome to cross the finish line as the winner!”
Billy Bolt (Husqvarna): “On the first two laps today I struggled a lot to be honest. I found it hard to find my rhythm and ended up making too many mistakes, losing energy and time. At the refuelling I made a few adjustments to the bike and then the second half of the race went much better. I made a bit of a gap on Mani and even started to claw back some time on Alfredo ahead, but it was too little, too late. Full credit to Alfredo today, he was in a different league.”
Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM): “We were a little worried this morning coming into the main race because of all the rain we had overnight, but it’s turned out ok and the traffic wasn’t too bad out there. I wasn’t feeling 100 percent last week and I think my fitness definitely suffered today. Despite that, I think I rode a good race and I’m happy to finish on the podium again. The guys ahead were riding really well, and with today’s result it means I’m three points behind Billy going into my home race at GetzenRodeo, so there is everything still to play for. I’m really excited for that one, and I’ll give it my best as always.”
Results – Round 7: 24MX Hixpania Hard Enduro
1. Alfredo Gomez (Husqvarna) 2:35:49.125
2. Billy Bolt (Husqvarna) 2:37:04.784
3. Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM) 2:39:45.529
4. Mario Roman (Sherco) 2:45:59.409
5. Wade Young (Sherco + 2 laps
6. Michael Walkner (GASGAS) +3 laps
7. Jonathan Richardson (Husqvarna) +4 laps
8. Teodor Kabakchiev (Husqvarna) +4 laps
9. Matthew Green (GASGAS) +4 laps
10. Sonny Goggia (GASGAS) +4 laps
Championship Standings (After round 7)
1. Billy Bolt (Husqvarna) 87pts
2. Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM) 84pts
3. Wade Young (Sherco) 71pts
4. Mario Roman (Sherco) 61pts
5. Alfredo Gomez (Husqvarna) 53pts
6. Jonny Walker (Beta) 44pts
7. Michael Walkner (GASGAS) 38pts
8. Teodor Kabakchiev (Husqvarna) 29pts
9. Taddy Blazusiak (GASGAS) 26pts
10. Dominik Olszowy (Husqvarna) 24pts
2021 FIM Hard Enduro World Championship calendar
Round 1: Extreme XL Lagares – Portugal, May 7/8/9
Round 2: Red Bull Erzbergrodeo – Austria, June 3/4/5/6
Round 3: Abestone Hard Enduro – Italy, July 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 30