As has been the custom for many years, the new season of the FIM Maxxis SuperEnduro World Championship started in Poland. This year, like last year, it was the Tauron Arena in Krakow which hosted the event complete with a crazy atmosphere... let’s look back on the super-charged Round 1!
While they did not beat the 2016 spectator record (13,000), Tomasz GAGAT and his promotional agency Sport Up still filled the arena, with 11,500 seats sold. This year the Tauron Arena could accommodate 12,000 people to celebrate the return of their hero Taddy BLAZUSIAK (PL - KTM). But the surprise announcement of his return was not the reason for such a big crowd. Indeed, Sport Up admitted that 90% of the tickets had already been sold two weeks before the event. Without doubt, Poland is one of the major countries for SuperEnduro!
Upon his arrival in Poland, nobody questioned the talent and technique of the young Billy BOLT (GB - Husqvarna), but nobody predicted he would fight for the final podium either. And yet, the Brit made a strong impression for his very first SuperEnduro by beating BLAZUSIAK in the second heat and earning himself a race win! Add to that a 5th place in the 1st heat and a 4th in the final heat and BOLT placed himself firmly on the final podium in the Prestige category... he was also the top Husqvarna rider ahead of GOMEZ (E) and HAAKER (USA). This Rookie has plenty more surprises in store for us, it seems. Likewise, in only his second year in Prestige, Manuel LETTENBICHLER (D - KTM), put together three superb races in Poland and is now 4th in the Championship.
Live Press Conference
For this first round, and for the five Grand Prix which make up the season, ABC Communication have set up an opening Press Conference on a Friday afternoon at 17.00, to be broadcast live on Facebook… for the season opener, BLAZUSIAK, HAAKER, GOMEZ, Jonny WALKER (GB - KTM), Cody WEBB (USA - KTM) and Alex SALVINI (I - Beta) were present to discuss their thoughts on the upcoming season. A nice initiative from the promoter to bring the fans closer to the riders. See you on Facebook at 17.00 CET on Friday 5 January for the press conference of the German GP!
WEBB No Longer “Soft”!
Everyone remembers Cody WEBB's quote in his first season: “I'm too soft, I have to learn to be meaner!” It was in Finland, where he had left the door open for Taddy BLAZUSIAK to make a block pass, which deprived the Californian of his first victory in SuperEnduro. Having seen a glimpse of a more “dirty” WEBB in 2016 during the final in Madrid, we have found this season an even tougher version, who is no longer afraid to use his elbows in order to get a major victory - as evidenced by his strong attack on BLAZUSIAK on the last obstacle of the last heat;”Cody is not soft anymore! "
APOLLE Leading in European Cup
Many onlookers questioned Tim APOLLE's (D - Husqvarna) choice to race in the European Cup when he is still young enough to ride in Junior. But it is clear that it was a decision well made, given his performance Saturday night. Indeed, the German left no chance for his competitors, especially in the absence of Marcel TEUCHER (D - knee injury). APOLLE will lead the way coming into Bilbao for the next European round. He is followed by the amazing Latvian Andris GRINFELDS (KTM) and the Polish Mariusz STEFANIAK (KTM), while Adrien JACON (F - KTM) and Jonathan PEARSON (GB - KTM) complete the Top 5.
EnduroGP in the Spotlight!
During the off-season, no fewer than 5 EnduroGP riders announced their participation in the full SuperEnduro season. And while Victor GUERRERO (E - Yamaha) was unable to qualify for the main event, the other four riders were making an impact in Krakow. Indeed, Cristobal GUERRERO (E - Yamaha) and Alex SALVINI (I - Beta) achieved solid performances, integrating into the Top 10 of the category, while Danny MCCANNEY (GB - Gas Gas) was happy to be back with his old team, achieving a good 4th place in the second heat and 7th overall under the watchful eye of his new manager Giovanni SALA. But the best performance came from the youngest of the EnduroGP influx: Matteo CAVALLO (I - Beta Boano). He thought of only competing in the first round... but what a round! He sits in second place in the under-23 standings, just one point behind Kyle FLANAGAN (RSA - Yamaha), and earned himself a first race victory in the third heat... this lead him to declare to Alain BLANCHARD after the podium: “Well, now I will have to come to Germany!”