HERO Challenge set for Hard Enduro take over – Preview
The battle for supremacy in this year’s FIM Hard Enduro World Championship continues this weekend as the series heads to Poland for HERO Challenge. With just one point separating Germany’s Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM) and Britain’s Billy Bolt (Husqvarna), all eyes are on the dynamic duo to see who will gain the upper hand at round six.
In what’s turning out to be an incredibly close-fought championship battle, no one rider has yet to truly distance themself from the rest of the field. With each round to date offering its own unique character, the style of events in Italy, Romania, and the USA have respectively played into the hands of different riders. Adding further spice to the mix, Poland’s HERO Challenge is set to offer up another fresh challenge.
Offering a real mix of racing for competitors, the action begins with a qualifier on Saturday morning featuring motocross, enduro and superenduro elements. From there, the top 30 qualifiers line up in the nearby city centre for an evening superenduro race. Under artificial lighting, an intense course is set to produce some exciting racing.
Returning to the Dabrowa Gornicza race circuit for Sunday, the business end of the weekend features a tough and physically demanding three-hour extreme cross country race. Laid out across a 15-kilometre loop, it will be an all-out action affair.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Manuel Lettenbichler sits at the top of the championship standings, but only just. Nipping at his heels is Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Billy Bolt. One point behind, it’s all to play for. In the shorter and intense style of Hard Enduro races, both riders have battled right the way to the chequered flag, meaning this weekend’s outcome is too close to call!
However, the championship’s top-two won’t be alone in the fight for the top of the podium as Sherco Factory Racing’s Wade Young will be keen to shake things up. The South African always proves super strong in the physically demanding races and is sure to pile on the pressure when others begin to fade.
Vision Track Beta’s Jonny Walker is a rider with form in the soft, sandy terrain expected at HERO Challenge. With a silky smooth riding style helping him to save energy, Jonny is sure to go the distance in the main event, while also eyeing up a podium finish in the superenduro action.
Looking to deliver an impressive performance on home soil is GASGAS Factory Racing’s Taddy Blazusiak. A rider of legendary status, Taddy’s not short of spectator support in Poland. Although carrying a shoulder injury into the event, when the going gets tough, Taddy inevitably gets going!
Michael Walkner (GASGAS) and Bulgaria’s Teodor Kabakchiev (Husqvarna) are two riders knocking on the door of a breakthrough performance. Both have really stepped up to the plate so far in 2021 and are looking to take that next step.
Mario Roman (Sherco), Alfredo Gomez (Husqvarna), Travis Teasdale (GASGAS) and Matt Green (GASGAS) are all capable of putting in a surprise result too.
Round six of the FIM Hard Enduro World Championship takes place at HERO Challenge in Poland on September 11-12.
For more information, visit: https://herochallenge.pl/en/
FIM Hard Enduro World Championship standings (after 5 of 8 rounds)
1. Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM) 54pts
2. Billy Bolt (Husqvarna) 53pts
3. Wade Young (Sherco) 40pts
4. Mario Roman (Sherco) 37pts
5. Jonny Walker (Beta) 34pts
6. Taddy Blazusiak (GASGAS) 26pts
7. Alfredo Gomez (Husqvarna) 24pts
8. Michael Walkner (GASGAS) 21pts
9. Teodor Kabakchiev (Husqvarna) 19pts
10. Graham Jarvis (Husqvarna) 15pts