Billy Bolt Triumphs At Extreme XL Lagares 2018 | Dirt Rider

Billy Bolt Triumphs At Extreme XL Lagares 2018

Cody Webb took sixth place in Portugal

Extreme XL Lagares Hard Enduro

The Extreme XL Lagares Hard Enduro was perhaps the most anticipated off-road event of 2018, drawing the top extreme racers in the world. The three-day contest began with intense qualification action on Friday’s endurocross course and Saturday’s Urban Prologue, after which 252 competitors from 20 nations took to the start of Sunday’s main race.

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Britain’s Billy Bolt topped the best hard enduro racers in the world at this weekend’s Extreme XL Lagares in Portugal—the opening round of the inaugural World Enduro Super Series. Pushing Bolt to the finish, Jonny Walker finished second followed by Germany’s Manuel Lettenbichler.

“Winning Extreme XL Lagares is a fantastic way to start the World Enduro Super Series,” Bolt said. “With this being my first time competing in the race, I honestly wasn’t sure how it would go. It’s such a demanding and technical event that it requires a lot of past experience to fight for the victory. So to end it on the top step of the podium is even a little more than I expected. Friday and Saturday’s racing were really good, to be fair. It was nice to win the endurocross following such a close battle. The Porto Prologue was crazy. I’d never ridden anything like it before and even though I watched all the videos, they just didn’t do the scale of the course any justice. Skimming past spectators while flat out up cobbled streets was an unbelievable feeling.

Billy Bolt

Rockstar Energy Husqvarna’s Billy Bolt won Friday’s endurocross competition after passing Red Bull KTM’s Jonny Walker on the final lap. Germany’s Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM) took third.

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“For Sunday’s race I knew I was in a good position starting third,” Bolt continued. “With Jonny Walker and Cody Webb up ahead it gave me something to chase. I settled in well and surprised myself by catching and passing Cody early on. Jonny was riding great on lap one and I couldn’t close the gap, but once we started lap two and caught the back markers I was able to gain ground and by three-quarters distance I was in the lead. I knew the overall result was based on corrected time so I kept charging to the finish line. With Extreme XL Lagares forming round 1 of WESS it’s great to be leading the championship at this early stage.”

Kevin Gallas

On Saturday, the fastest 10 riders from the endurocross race lined up for the Prologue Super Final. Timing the start perfectly, Walker exited the tricky first corner in front with Bolt, Kevin Gallas, and Wade Young all hot on his heels. Walker entered the cobbled streets in the lead and, despite the best efforts of Bolt, the KTM rider held firm to take a well-deserved win.

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Taddy Blazusiak

Poland’s Taddy Blazusiak (KTM) was one of the later riders to start Sunday’s final race due to a poor qualification result. Working his way through traffic at a considerable rate, the Polish star fought his way from outside the top 40 on lap one to become a possible race winner—on corrected time—as riders began lap two. In the end, Blazusiak could not make up the deficit and had to settle for fourth.

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Billy Bolt

Bolt used a last lap surge to pass Walker on time to claim the win. “I started third today and tried to find a comfortable pace early on. The riverbeds were incredibly slippery but I just took the course as it was and remained focused on a long race ahead of me,” Bolt said. “On the second lap I pushed on and worked the back markers to my advantage and caught Jonny as a result.”

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Billy Bolt

Walker finished second behind Bolt. “Billy just had that extra bit of pace toward the end,” Walker said. “My opening lap was great and I managed to build a six-minute advantage over everyone. But as the first rider on the course that played against me on lap two when I had a lot of traffic to deal with. But I guess that’s how it goes sometimes.”

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Manuel Lettenbichler

Manuel Lettenbichler was pleased with third. “I was riding strong all weekend and coming into the main race I knew I could produce a surprise result, so to finish third at round 1 of WESS is amazing. It’s honestly the biggest result of my career to date.”

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Graham Jarvis

Graham Jarvis battled with Lettenbichler and Cody Webb over positions inside the top five. Lettenbichler ultimately finished third, with Jarvis finishing fifth behind Blazusiak. Webb ended his day in sixth.

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Cody Webb

After the race, Webb talked about his sixth place finish. “On the first lap we hit the water section and I soaked myself straight away—that cost me some time,” Webb said. “I rode with Billy for a good distance, but I made a couple of silly mistakes that took me right off the course. It was so slippery and that took me by surprise a little, I have ridden in mud before but these rivers are something else. Things clicked a little better on the second lap and I made some time up on Graham. I have learnt so much and I know that next year when I come back I will have a better idea of when to conserve energy and when to push.”

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Pol Tarres

Pol Tarres picks his way through a mossy rock garden en route to 10th.

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Extreme XL Lagares Results

Position Rider Brand
1 Billy Bolt Husqvarna
2 Jonny Walker KTM
3 Manuel Lettenbichler KTM
4 Taddy Blazusiak KTM
5 Graham Jarvis Husqvarna
6 Cody Webb KTM
7 Wade Young Sherco
8 Paul Bolton KTM
9 Travis Teasdale Beta
10 Pol Tarres Husqvarna

2018 World Enduro Super Series Point Standings

Position Rider Brand Points
1 Billy Bolt Husqvarna 1,000
2 Jonny Walker KTM 850
3 Manuel Lettenbichler KTM 770
4 Taddy Blazusiak KTM 690
5 Graham Jarvis Husqvarna 610
6 Cody Webb KTM 570
7 Wade Young Sherco 530
8 Paul Bolton KTM 490
9 Travis Teasdale Beta 460
10 Pol Tarres Husqvarna 430

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