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Lettenbichler & Brightmore take victory at Fim Hard Enduro Season Opener In Wales – Report and Highlights

Lettenbichler & Brightmore take victory at Fim Hard Enduro Season Opener In Wales – Report and Highlights

The opening round of the FIM Hard Enduro World Championship saw Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Manuel Lettenbichler take a commanding win at the Valleys Hard Enduro. Sherco Factory Racing’s duo of Teodor Kabakchiev and Mario Roman completed the podium in second and third.

The FIM Hard Enduro Junior World Championship supported by KLIM saw TTR Squadra Corse’s Mitch Brightmore start his title defence off with a victory in Wales.

  • FIM HEWC visits Wales for the first time
  • Manuel Lettenbichler takes commanding victory
  • Teodor Kabakchiev and Mario Roman complete the podium

Round one of the FIM Hard Enduro World Championship saw riders take to the start line on Sunday for the feature Race. After two exciting days of racing on Friday and Saturday, Sunday’s three-lap Hard Enduro would decide the outcome of the season opener at Valleys Hard Enduro.

As the defending champion and winner of Friday and Saturday’s racing, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Manuel Lettenbichler was the red-hot favourite for victory on Sunday. And he didn’t disappoint. Fast off the line, the KTM rider quickly worked his way into the race lead and was never headed.

 

Despite the hot and dusty conditions, Lettenbichler found his rhythm and opened up a strong lead. A mid-race charge by Sherco Factory Racing’s Teodor Kabakchiev saw that gap reduce slightly. But as they began the third and final lap, Manuel upped his pace even further and took a very  commanding three-minute margin of victory.

Behind Manuel, the battle for the remainder of the podium positions was ever-changing. Initially, it was Red Bull Beta’s Jonny Walker who held second place on lap one. But the Sherco pairing of Kabakchiev and Mario Roman closed in and overhauled the Brit.

Kabakchiev looked strong on the technical climbs and wasn’t suffering in the heat. The Bulgarian did appear to have Lettenbichler in his sights on lap two but couldn’t bridge the gap he needed. Distancing himself from Roman, he crossed the finish line as the runner-up.

Once up into third, Roman wasn’t able to keep the pace of his teammate. Managing a comfortable gap over Walker in fourth, the Spaniard did enough to take third and claim his first podium result of the season.

After a solid start, Walker just missed out on a potential podium result with fourth, while RIEJU Factory Racing’s Will Hoare completed the top five. Red Bull Leader Tread’s Wade Young was sixth.

In the FIM Hard Enduro Junior World Championship supported by KLIM, it was defending champion Mitch Brightmore who took the win for TTR Squadra Corse. The young Brit was kept honest by his younger brother Ashton, who followed him home for eighth.

After an incredible start to the 2024 FIM Hard Enduro World Championship, round two takes place at Austria’s Red Bull Erzbergrodeo on May 30-June 2.

Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM): “It wasn’t easy out there. The pace was so fast and the intensity was high. It was difficult to find a rhythm but being able to build a gap helped. However, on the final lap, Teodor began to close in and I had to pick it up again. It’s great to take the win at round one and get the championship started in such a strong way. I’m really happy and now looking forward to the next round at Red Bull Erzbergrodeo in two weeks.”

Results: FIM Hard Enduro World Championship, Round 1

1. Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM), 3 laps, 2:06:57.11
2. Teodor Kabakchiev (Sherco), 3 laps, 2:09:58.79
3. Mario Roman (Sherco), 3 laps, 2:11:15.38
4. Jonny Walker (Beta), 3 laps, 2:15:18.25
5. Will Hoare (RIEJU), 3 laps, 2:18:35.60
6. Wade Young (GASGAS), 3 laps, 2:19:45.73
7. Mitch Brightmore (GASGAS), 3 laps, 2:21:56.68
8. Ashton Brightmore (GASGAS), 3 laps, 2:23:53.84
9. Francesc Moret (KTM), 3 laps, 2:24:21.13
10. Alfredo Gomez (RIEJU), 3 laps, 2:25:08.67

FIM HEWC Championship Standings (After round 1)
1. Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM) 23pts
2. Teodor Kabakchiev (Sherco) 19pts
3. Mario Roman (Sherco) 15pts
4. Will Hoare (RIEJU) 13pts
5. Mitch Brightmore (GASGAS) 11pts
6. Wade Young (GASGAS) 11pts
7. Alfredo Gomez (RIEJU) 9pts
8. Marc Riba (KTM) 8pts
9. Matthew Green (KTM) 7pts
10. Vaclav Nedved (KTM) 6pts

FIM HEJWC supported by KLIM (After round 1)
1. Mitch Brightmore (Husqvarna) 22pts
2. Ashton Brightmore (Husqvarna) 20pts
3. Robert Crayston (KTM) 16pts
4. Richard Moorhouse (Beta) 13pts
5. Jame Moore (KTM) 11pts…

Words by FIM Hard Enduro – Images by @andreabelluschi / @future 7media