Whether it’s hard enduro or SuperEnduro, Britain’s Billy Bolt is bringing a breath of fresh air and gusto to the scene. The 20-year old Rockstar Energy Husqvarna rider has enjoyed a terrific run in his rookie SuperEnduro season. Currently third in the series behind American Cody Webb and the legendary Taddy Blazusiak, Bolt has recorded two podiums and is keen to keep the momentum going for round four this weekend in Bilbao.
Billy Bolt: (smiling) “Actually that’s been commented on quite a few times. Like people telling me, with a name like that it’s destiny that you would become a motorcycle rider. Motorcycling is the only thing I wanted to do since, basically as long as I can remember! I think it all fell into place perfectly. I’ve always followed any kind of racing as a kid, whether it was the stars from the Trials World Championship, MotoGP, motocross, supercross, enduro or superbike. I looked up to many different top riders. In a sense I think to watch and learn from these guys is even helping me now to adapt to all different types of riding.”
SuperEnduro is such an exciting form of racing. And very different from any other form of enduro! How is then to line up together behind a gate and race bar to bar?
Bolt: “It’s pretty crazy! I’ve done trials all my life and made the jump to enduro only at the end of 2015. Before the first SuperEnduro I had only been at the start gate with other riders three or four times. Especially the last SuperEnduro race was wild, riders were flying off left, right and center. But it’s all good, I really like it!”
How much of a surprise are these great results you’re getting in your first SuperEnduro World Championship season?
Bolt: “I wanted to do SuperEnduro for a while because I felt like it was a series I could do really well in. And I trained hard before the season and training in Spain together with Taddy (Blazusiak) and Jonny (Walker) gave me a good base line. But the technical ability and speed are not the only things that matter. I’m pretty surprised myself how well I’ve adapted to the racing side of it! Because lining up with 13 other riders in a full arena is still something else. That’s why I always saw this as my learning season with the goal of maybe grabbing a podium by the end of it. So it’s cool to see that I’ve adapted quicker than expected.”
Why did you leave trials for enduro?
Bolt: “The opportunities in trials simply weren’t there for me. Ideally I would have loved to achieve more in trials before making the switch. Actually, for me to compete in motorsport has never been easy for my family. At times it’s been pretty difficulties. To get were I needed to be it’s been a big strain on my family at one stage. So I feel really lucky and privileged to be in the psotion that I am. I’m just going to keep on working hard and take it as far as I can. Even if I wasn’t a factory rider I still would be trying to make it work and I still would be at every race! I just love everything about riding and competing. Especially to come some where -being not that well known- and going all-in to get better is a great challenge.”
What’s been the hardest thing to do when you went from trials to enduro?
Billy Bolt: “To stop crashing! Just getting used to the bike more than anything. It takes a while to get the knack of it. I could ride a trials bike pretty fast but that doesn’t mean you can go fast on an enduro bike. Everyone who says that the riding is the same is a complete liar! To go fast takes time, you almost have to slow down to faster if yu know what I mean. Sure you can bounce off every tree and every stone but then you crash a lot. Luckily I had good people around me, chiseling away and getting me out of the bad habits.”
Who’s been the most influential person in your meteoric rise in the enduro world?
Bolt: “One of the main people was Julian Stevens. He worked a lot with Jonny in his early enduro days. I definitely wouldn’t be where I am now without his help. Another one is Paul Edmondson. He was actually there on the very first day I rode an enduro bike. Paul is still mentoring me to this day, he’ll come out and watch and coaches me in some trainings. There’s so much to learn from guys like him.”
Do you have a specific SuperEnduro obstacle that you’re fond of. Where you just know you’re going to make passes?
Bolt: “SuperEnduro is weird. Sure you have similar obstacles like a log matrix, rock section or tire jump that will be included everywhere but every track builder uses them differently. It’s never really the same. Also the tracks never really ride the same than what you would expect from doing the practice laps. I just like it when the track flows nicely and when you have good passing opportunities. When the track is made for good racing.
You’ll be racing the inaugural WESS, World Enduro Super Series, this year. Are there any events that stand out for you?
Bolt: “More than anything I’m looking forward to all of them! I think it’s fantastic to race in such a wide variety of conditions and places. For an extreme enduro rider Erzberg is -in my opinion at least- the biggest event of the year. Erzberg will always be a standout race, it’s the birthplace of extreme enduro! Than you’ve the very traditional type of event like the Trefle Lozerien and I’m very much looking forward to that as well. Even British amateur riders tell me how much fun they’ve had there and that it’s such an enjoyable experience. Maybe it sounds like a surprise to you but I’m even super pumped to go to the Knock Out beach race in Scheveningen! I went to the Weston beach race as a spectator, I loved it so much that I immediately regretted that I wasn’t riding there myself!”
The motocross GP season kicks off next week in Argentina, any guys you’re looking forward to see?
Bolt: “Definitely! I’m pretty patriotic so I pay a bit more attention to the British guys. I know Conrad Mewse well. We’ve trained together, we’re both under management of Jamie Dobb (ed. former 125cc motocross world champion turned manager) and we get along well. He didn’t have a great 2017 season but he’s been working super hard and he’s looking good in the MX2 class. Another rider I’m keen to see having great results is Ben Watson. Ben has a great opportunity now that he’s in a factory team. In the MXGP class I think we can expect the usual suspects with Jeffrey Herlings and Tony Cairoli. Hopefully it will be a good battle for the title!”
What about getting the SX riders tackling a SuperEnduro track and you guys can coach them?
Bolt: “(laughs) I’m up for it! I would be more than happy to have a go. I don’t think we would do all that well on a supercross track and they would be even worse on a SuperEnduro track but it sure would be good fun!”
Words by Tom Jacobs, photos by Future7 Media.