With the opening round of the 2022 FIM Hard Enduro World Championship locked in our sights, there’s a wealth of talent hungry for success at Minus 400.
A new season always brings heightened excitement, lots of anticipation, and plenty of pre-championship energy, and this year is no exception. Eight rounds lie ahead in this year’s fight to become the 2022 FIM Hard Enduro World Champion, but it’s at the Dead Sea in Israel where everyone with title ambitions is hoping to leave their mark
Injured during 2021 at Red Bull Romaniacs, Graham Jarvis makes a welcomed return to racing at Minus 400. Arguably the greatest Hard Enduro rider of all time, Graham - despite his age - is a serious contender to deliver a special result next week. Once again going up against much younger competition, Graham, as always, will use his experience and race savvy to do all that he can to start the 2022 FIM Hard Enduro World Championship on the box.
As the defending FIM Hard Enduro World Champion, Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Billy Bolt will naturally start off as title favourite. The Brit is on peak form right now having just defended his FIM SuperEnduro World Championship crown. Indoors nobody came close to matching Billy’s pace, and you can be sure he will want to keep things that way outdoors too. Although Minus 400 will be new to all, Billy has proven himself in the past to be a fast learner, winning the first ever running of the Abestone Hard Enduro in 2021. It will be tough to rule the champ out of a winning ride next week.
South African Wade Young has had a relatively quiet winter grinding out the training at home in preparation for Israel. The Sherco rider is a fan of long and physically demanding style courses and with Thursday’s Minus 400 Main Event featuring a 75-kilometre-long course that increases with difficulty, that’s when we expect Young to make his mark on the race. A race winner in 2021 at Hero Challenge, along with finishing on the final championship podium alongside Bolt and Manuel Lettenbichler, Wade will be eager to get 2022 off to a strong start.
Always a crowd favourite wherever he lines up, Vision Track Beta’s Jonny Walker will be a rider to watch for. Consistently strong during his 2021 campaign as a privateer with Beta Motorcycles, Walker looks to have built on that pace during the winter by finishing as runner-up to Bolt in SuperEnduro. With a silky-smooth riding style and now well-suited on his Italian two-stroke, Walker will be pushing every step of the way to end round one on the podium.
Alfredo Gomez makes an eagerly anticipated debut with his new privateer team AG Racing Team 89 in Israel. The Spaniard has switched his programme up during the off-season and similar to Walker is running his own setup. Riding GASGAS machinery, it will be exciting to see how he’s settled into this new role.
Suff Sella will be one rider fired up for success in Israel. A home round for the 18-year-old, Suff will be eager to show what he can do on familiar terrain. A rider with good technical ability and willing to dig deep when the going gets tough, you can be sure he’ll be doing all he can to figure at the sharp end of the results.
Spain’s Mario Roman has enjoyed a busy off-season, focusing solely on his Hard Enduro riding. With success in his national series, along with a win at the notoriously tough Ales Trem event in France, Roman is bustling for success in Israel. The dry, dusty, and slippery Dead Sea terrain should play into the hands of the Sherco rider.
Austria’s Michael Walkner was a rider that went from strength-to-strength during 2021. Delivering numerous impressive rides, the relative newcomer to the elite of Hard Enduro found his feet and his confidence while racing against the best riders in the world. Highly talented, Walkner will be targeting a top-five result.
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