2019 Extreme XL Lagares Race Report

Mario Roman wins World Enduro Super Series opener in Portugal.

Mario Roman races down street in 2019 Extreme XL Lagares.
According to Mario Roman, the course grew more difficult as the race wore on. “The track was so much more difficult on the second lap and I knew I would be able to make up time on those tricky sections,” Roman said.Courtesy of Red Bull Content Pool

The 2019 World Enduro Super Series (WESS) kicked off this past weekend with the Toyota Porto Extreme XL Lagares, round 1 of the series in Portugal. WESS is designed to crown the "ultimate enduro champion" of the world, and Spaniard Mario Roman got off to a fast start in search of that title by claiming the win at the opener.

Wade Young climbs up rocks on his bike at the 2019 Extreme XL Lagares.
Wade Young finished second thanks to a late-race charge. “Toward the end people were starting to get tired and I was able to dig a little deeper and keep going,” Young said.Courtesy of Red Bull Content Pool

The Sherco factory rider made an amazing late-race charge to overcome teammate Wade Young of South Africa and German Manuel Lettenbichler to come away with the victory. Young and Lettenbichler rounded out the podium in second and third. The event kicked off on Friday and Saturday with EnduroCross action and the City Prologue race, which set the stage for Sunday's Hard Enduro feature race. More than 50 pro riders took to Sunday's track, which consisted of two laps on a rugged, super-technical two-hour course.

Manuel Lettenbichler races at the 2019 Extreme XL Lagares.
Manuel Lettenbichler lost some time on the first lap, but the organizers awarded that time back to him. “I had to stop to move a bridge on the first lap, so that cost me some time,” Lettenbichler said. “But thankfully they have awarded that back to me and I have come away with third.”Courtesy of Red Bull Content Pool

Thanks to his finishes in the EnduroCross and Prologue races, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Alfredo Gomez was the first to take to Sunday’s course, followed by Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Taddy Blazusiak. However, it wasn’t long before Blazusiak was able to overcome Gomez to take control of the lead. Lettenbichler also found his way around Gomez and settled into second.

Taddy Blazusiak races in the 2019 Extreme XL Lagares.
Taddy Blazusiak overcame adversity to finish eighth. “I’m happy with my ride today,” Blazusiak said. “It was really tough and very long. I got a rock in my eye when trying to pass a lapper and that put me off for a bit. It was just one of those tough days, but this is WESS and it’s all about collecting points when things don’t quite go your way.”Courtesy of Red Bull Content Pool

Midway into the race, Lettenbichler picked up the pace and moved around Blazusiak, opening up a five-minute advantage over Young, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Billy Bolt, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jonny Walker, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Graham Jarvis, and Roman in tow. Lettenbichler stretched his lead to six minutes at the start of lap two. However, Roman and Young were starting to pick up the pace, eventually reeling in Lettenbichler.

Jonny Walker goes down waterfall on bike.
Despite not being back to full fitness, Jonny Walker placed an impressive sixth with a total time of close to four and a half hours.Courtesy of Red Bull Content Pool

Midway into the second lap, Roman was able to take the lead, which he held until the finish. Young finished second, another four minutes behind. Lettenbichler claimed the final step of the podium with Jarvis and Bolt rounding out the top five, respectively.

“I feel amazing,” Roman said. “It’s so good to get the win. In 2016, I finished about a minute behind Alfredo [Gomez] and then two years in a row I had mechanical issues with my bike, but I always believed in myself and knew I could do it this year. On the first lap, I was in fifth or sixth and I couldn’t see the top two guys, but as the race went on, I started to feel stronger and was able to push 100 percent and pass the others one by one.”

Young was pleased with second, having come from as far down as sixth.

“It feels great to get second today,” Young said. “At one point, I was down in sixth and I was lacking some confidence after struggling in one of the rivers—that spent a lot of my energy. I came back strong though and I’m pleased with the finish.”

Lettenbichler was delighted with his start to the WESS series.

“I am so happy with my result and overall I had a really good race,” Lettenbichler said. “I didn’t realize at first the gap to the others was so big. I tried to stick to the same pace on the second lap, but Mario and Wade must have been flying. I think they probably pushed each other on the difficult stuff and were able to maintain a good speed when it got really tough. Graham also caught me at a few places, but I was able to stay ahead. It would have been nice to get the win, especially after leading for over half of the race, but whatever the result, I am happy with my riding and it’s been a good start to this year’s WESS championship.”

2019 Extreme XL Lagares Overall Results

Position Rider Brand
1 Mario Roman Sherco
2 Wade Young Sherco
3 Manuel Lettenbichler KTM
4 Graham Jarvis Husqvarna
5 Billy Bolt Husqvarna
6 Jonny Walker KTM
7 Alfredo Gomez Husqvarna
8 Taddy Blazusiak KTM
9 Travis Teasdale KTM
10 Jonathan Richardson Husqvarna

2019 World Enduro Super Series Point Standings

Position Rider Brand Points
1 Mario Roman Sherco 1,000
2 Wade Young Sherco 850
3 Manuel Lettenbichler KTM 770
4 Graham Jarvis Husqvarna 690
5 Billy Bolt Husqvarna 610
6 Jonny Walker KTM 570
7 Alfredo Gomez Husqvarna 530
8 Taddy Blazusiak KTM 490
9 Travis Teasdale KTM 460
10 Jonathan Richardson Husqvarna 430