Bolt in contention of podium spot in Super Enduro Finale in Sweden – Preview
After four Grand Prix and twelve heat races, the season finale of the 2018 FIM Maxxis SuperEnduro World Championship will be held on Saturday 31st March at the Sparbanken Arena in Lidköping (Sweden)! And, for the first time in the history of the discipline, the FIM has given the big task of organising a grand finale to “Bergman Trading AB”, under the aegis of SVEMO (the Swedish motorcycling federation).
First SuperEnduro in Sweden!
For this long-awaited final, Staffan BERGMAN and his company have chosen the Sparbanken Arena Lidköping. This venue, with a capacity of 4,500 seats, was opened in 2009 and is home to the many local Ice Hockey teams (5 in total!) including the two most famous teams: the Villa Lidköping BK and the AIK Lidköpings. The Sparbanken Arena also hosts many concerts such as the Melodifestival in 2014 and the Eurovision selection.
The 4,500 seater stadium in Lidköping, a town in southwestern Sweden, is located less than 130 kilometers from Gothenburg, and will certainly be occupied by keen fans and a very warm atmosphere for the 8 races of the night. WEBB and BLAZUSIAK will try to offer the public a final anthology worthy of that known two years ago in Madrid or last year in Albi (France).
Can BLAZUSIAK overhaul?
The misadventures of Cody WEBB (USA – KTM) during the third race in Bilbao at the beginning of March completely revived the Prestige category! Because now the Californian is only 17 points ahead of… Taddy BLAZUSIAK (PL – KTM)! The “Polish Nightmare”, as he is often called, will have three races of 6 minutes + 1 lap to overhaul his KTM Factory teammate and get his seventh title in the discipline.
For his part, WEBB will have to show great mental strength to prevent the same scenario of two years ago in Madrid where he saw the world crown slip away from him in the final rounds…
On top of that, many other riders could come and play, effecting the title battle. Indeed, there are at least four key players: Billy BOLT (GB – Husqvarna), Jonny WALKER (GB – KTM), Colton HAAKER (USA – Husqvarna) and Manuel LETTENBICHLER (D – KTM).
They will all be particularly eager to score decent points as 3rd place in the championship is still up for grabs, although it’s been held by the impressive SuperEnduro “rookie”, BOLT, since the start of the season!
We will also have to keep an eye on 2017 Junior World Champion Blake GUTZEIT (RSA – Yamaha) who has been ramping up his performances throughout the season and will certainly want to join the Top 5.
Cristobal GUERRERO (E – Yamaha), Benjamin HERRERA (CL – Beta) and Diogo VIEIRA (P – Yamaha) will also fight hard to guarantee their place in the Top 10.
Finally, local stars Eddie KARLSSON (Sherco), Magnus THOR (Beta) and John NYSTRÖM (KTM) will try to put themselves in the spotlight in front of the thousands of spectators!
GALLAS to be crowned in the first race?
In the Junior class, the suspense is less because Kevin GALLAS (D – Husqvarna) is 56 points ahead of his first pursuer Emil JUSZCZAK (PL – KTM). The deal is simple, if JUSZCZAK wins the first final, the German will only need to finish 11th to be crowned Junior World Champion 2018!
Behind GALLAS and JUSZCZAK, the battle for third place should be more interesting… Indeed, Kyle FLANAGAN (RSA – Yamaha) is only 3 points ahead of the Chilean Diego HERRERA (TM) and 18 ahead of William HOARE (GB – KTM)…
The crowd will also to be pleased to see local riders Tobias KARLEN (Husqvarna), Per Kristian SVENSRUD (Gas Gas) and Anton ROSENDAL (KTM), who will all hope to impress.
Finally, in the European Cup, bad news comes from the Frenchman Adrien JACON (KTM) who was injured two weeks ago in training and is therefore uncertain of his attendance – he may not be able to fight for the chance of winning the 2018 title.
The battle for the gold medal will therefore be between Tim APOLLE (D – Husqvarna) and Latvian Andris GRINFELDS (KTM). And again, we should have suspense until the last race.
After two brilliant SuperEnduro season finales in 2016 and 2017, this 2018 campaign is just as open and unpredictable with two riders fighting for the title of World Champion. We are sure that the fans inside the Sparbanken Arena in Lidköping on Saturday evening from 18.00 onwards will be treated to an unbelievable show. So it’s time to take your bets…
Will it be WEBB or BLAZUSIAK to take over from Colton HAAKER?
If you cannot be there, don’t forget that you can enjoy all the thrills and spills via Live Streaming on EnduroTV, watch Round 5 of the 2018 season on superenduro.org from 19.00!
Feature image courtesy of SuperEnduro