The opening round of the FIM Hard Enduro World Championship saw Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing as Billy Bolt win at Extreme XL Lagares – but due to heavy overnight rain, officials took the decision not to award championship points. In what proved to be a shortened version of the event following eleventh-hour Covid restrictions forced sweeping changes to the original event schedule, Bolt took a convincing Endurocross victory with teammates Graham Jarvis and Alfredo Gomez placing third and fifth respectively.
Originally scheduled to include three different races – an Endurocross, Prologue, and Main Race – this year’s running of Extreme XL Lagares had to be dramatically cut down to just an Endurocross qualifying session on Saturday, followed by three pro class Endurocross finals on Sunday. With heavy rain having a hugely negative impact on proceedings for Sunday, the decision was made not to award FIM Hard Enduro World Championship points, but that the day’s schedule would continue.
Setting the pace around the Endurocross track, Bolt came out swinging during Saturday’s qualification to top the time sheets. Frustratingly, heavy overnight rain saw track conditions severely deteriorate come Sunday’s racing, but Bolt continued to shine.
Winning the opening two races in style, the Brit overcame a crash on the first lap of the final race to recover to second. In doing so, his three combined results were more than good enough for him to claim the overall event win.
Despite initially not favouring the Endurocross format, Graham Jarvis proved exceptionally consistent on his Husqvarna TE 300i, using all of his experience to skilfully race his way around the slippery track. Securing a trio of fourth place results, Jarvis secured a well-deserved third overall.
Also delivering a consistent ride, highlighted by fifth in race one, Alfredo Gomez raced his way to a solid fifth overall, wrapping up a solid performance from Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing at Extreme XL Lagares.
Billy Bolt:“It’s been an eventful start to the season, but to get a win here in Portugal is still a good feeling. I felt ready for the original format of Extreme XL Lagares – I’d put in the ground work and wanted a good result. But after the news late on Thursday that the format was changing, I just wanted to make the best of the situation we were all in. Anytime you get on track you want to be the fastest and I managed that almost all weekend. I topped the Saturday qualification and got two wins from three starts today. Overall, I’m feeling good on the bike and looking forward to getting this championship started properly now.”
Graham Jarvis:“I think I surprised myself and a few others with third overall today – not bad for an old guy! To be honest I wasn’t expecting too much with the change to Endurocross only but wanted to test my fitness during those long races. My winter prep seems to be good and I felt strong all day. I’d love to have got into the mountains here, but it is what it is – hats off to the organisers for making something happen.”
Alfredo Gomez:“Not getting to race like we originally intended was tough for ourselves and the organisers. I know how much work they put into this race, and judging by the sections we walked, it would have been amazing. Finishing top five overall today was good.”
Results – 2021 FIM Hard Enduro World Championship, Round One
1. Billy Bolt (Husqvarna) 8 laps, 24:42.416; 2. Taddy Blazusiak (GASGAS) 25:31.549; 3. Wade Young (Sherco) 25:42.698; 4. Graham Jarvis (Husqvarna) 26:11.515; 5. Mario Roman (Sherco) 26:27.732; 6. Alfredo Gomez (Husqvarna) 26:43.059…
1. Billy Bolt (Husqvarna) 24:25.707; 2. Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM) 24:34.618; 3. Dominik Olszowy (KTM) 25:26.162; 4. Graham Jarvis (Husqvarna) 25:28.667; 5. Wade Young (Sherco) 25:37.090; 6. Alfredo Gomez (Husqvarna) 25:46.548…
1. Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM) 8 laps, 25:15.010; 2. Billy Bolt (Husqvarna) 25:30.575; 3. Alfredo Gomez (Husqvarna) 25:38.212;4. Graham Jarvis (Husqvarna) 26:19.611; 5. Wade Young (Sherco) 27:07.924…
1. Billy Bolt (Husqvarna) 57pts, 2. Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM) 45pts; 3. Graham Jarvis (Husqvarna) 39pts; 4. Wade Young (Sherco) 37pts; 5. Alfredo Gomez (Husqvarna) 35pts…