Ready to kick off his 2018 World Enduro Super Series campaign, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Billy Bolt is keen to show that youth is every bit a match for experience in this year’s title chase. At just 20 years of age, Bolt heads the charge when it comes to Enduro’s bright young talents, hungry to steal a march on some of the sport’s more established stars.
Following a successful education in Trials, Bolt switched to Enduro and specifically Hard Enduro two years ago. Testing the waters during 2016, he instantly turned heads with some standout performances that led to a coveted factory ride with Husqvarna Motorcycles for 2017. Securing top eight results at Erzbergrodeo Red Bull Hare Scramble, Red Bull Romaniacs and Red Bull 111 Megawatt, Bolt feels that this year it’s time to shine.
“I’m excited for WESS to begin,” tells Billy. “I really want to show what I’m capable of in Enduro. I’ve worked hard over the winter months to prepare for this championship — I think I can surprise people with what I can do.”
Confident in his abilities, Billy understands that this is still only year two of his professional career and that there is always more to learn…
“In Hard Enduro I feel like I’m still learning,” continues Billy. “It’s really only year two for me as a professional rider, so in a way I’m still the apprentice. But I like being in this situation. As a rider I’ve got to grow, but I know I can challenge for the podium too.”
The Erzbergrodeo Red Bull Hare Scramble is one such race the Husqvarna rider has set his sights on a top three result. He claimed a stunning fifth in his debut there in 2016 and then backed it up with eighth in 2017, despite a broken toe.
“I really want to have a good go at the Erzbergrodeo Red Bull Hare Scramble this year,” says Billy. “It’s one of the biggest races of the year and a special place for both atmosphere and racing. It’s the race that made Enduro famous.
“I finished fifth there in 2016 — it was my first race on an enduro bike too. Preparing for it in 2017 I broke my toe. I probably shouldn’t have raced because I needed to wear a bigger boot and was in pain putting my foot on the floor, but somehow I got eighth. Now, with another year of racing under my belt, I know I can be much more prepared for it. Of course there are a lot of good riders but I don’t see why a podium isn’t possible.”
But the British rider doesn’t want to be known purely as a Hard Enduro specialist. Although that’s where the bones of his skill set lies, for him Enduro is about being an all-round rider. Faced with the opportunity to race Classic Enduro, Cross-Country and Beach Racing in WESS, the 20-year-old is busy broadening his abilities.
“When I started riding Enduro I didn’t just want to be a trials rider who rode a dirt bike over rocks in only Hard Enduro,” asserts Billy. “I wanted to learn how to ride an enduro bike properly, that’s why I race Classic Enduro and Cross-Country events back home. I think it’s a good thing for my riding and my career. Racing different terrain will only improve you as a rider.”
“In WESS the races are so varied that all you can do is try to train specifically as you approach each one of them. Nobody can be 100 per cent ready so it’s going to be a real challenge. I think I stand as good of a chance as anyone of racing for this title — it’s going to be an interesting year for sure.”
The opening round of the 2018 World Enduro Super Series begins with the Extreme XL Lagares in Portugal on May 11-13. Photos Marcin Kin/Husqvarna Images
WORLD ENDURO SUPER SERIES – 2018 SCHEDULE
Rnd 1. Extreme XL Lagares (Portugal) May 11-13
Rnd 2. Erzbergrodeo Red Bull Hare Scramble (Austria) May 31-June 3
Rnd 3. Trèfle Lozérien AMV (France) June 8-10
Rnd 4. Red Bull Romaniacs (Romania) July 24-28
Rnd 5. Red Bull 111 Megawatt (Poland) September 8-9
Rnd 6. Gotland Grand National (Sweden) October 26-27
Rnd 7. Red Bull Knock Out (The Netherlands) November 10