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The four previous rounds of the 2018 SuperEnduro Championship have all delivered exciting, close racing and the final held at the Sparbanken Arena in Lidköping, Sweden was no different. Coming into the fifth and final round with a 17-point advantage over team-mate Blazusiak, Cody Webb had the championship in his sights.
The tight and technical Swedish circuit proved tricky even for the top-class field. But it was Taddy Blazusiak who tamed it best on the Akrapovic Superpole lap, posting the fastest time ahead of team-mates Jonny Walker and Cody Webb. In race one it was Taddy who excelled again, controlling the race from the front. Behind him, mistakes by Webb and Walker cost them valuable time, relegating the pair to fourth and fifth respectively.
The reverse-grid of race two threw up its usual surprises with KTM mounted Manni Lettenbichler taking the early lead. Taddy fought his way past Webb and up into second before an unfortunate technical issue forced the six-time SuperEnduro Champion to retire. Webb completed the race in third, giving the American enough points to claim the World Championship title.
With the title decided, race three would determine the further championship placings. Blazusiak again got off to a good start, chasing down Billy Bolt but eventually settled for the runner-up position. Jonny Walker rode an excellent race finishing third, enough to give the Brit second overall on the night.
Adding the FIM SuperEnduro World Championship to his 2017 AMA Endurocross title, Cody Webb is undisputedly the man to beat in indoor enduro. Despite a tough final round, the American was overjoyed with his first ever World title.
Cody Webb: “I am so happy, I can’t tell you what this means to me. Of course, I feel bad for Taddy, he was riding really well tonight. The championship has been great and for it to come down to the wire shows how high the quality really is – I have so much respect for every single rider in this series. I was riding really tight tonight – I think because of my nerves – and Taddy was pushing so hard. He had some bad luck tonight, but I’ve had a couple of bad rounds too. After having a year out of racing in Europe, to come back and be World Champion is amazing – this is definitely the most important title I have won so far. After my riding tonight, I know there are still some things I have to work on so I’ll go away now, regroup and prepare for the WESS this summer.”
To come back from such disappointment and challenge for the win in the final race shows the spirit of Taddy Blazusiak. Just months after announcing his return to competitive competition, Taddy was incredibly close to taking a seventh world title. The multiple world champion has vowed to come back and try again come 2019.
Taddy Blazusiak: “I am so disappointed. Words can’t describe how I feel right now. On the positive side, I know I was fast tonight, I was riding really well. I was feeling good on the bike, practice and Superpole went well and then in the first race, I was able to set a good, fast pace at the front. Going into the second race, I was only eight points down on Cody in the championship and I knew he had made a couple of mistakes in the first race. To be forced to retire like that is bad at any time, but to lose the championship like that is heart-breaking. I got back for the third race, but my heart wasn’t quite in it. To come back to racing and be so close to taking another world title is definitely encouraging though. I think my pace towards the end of the season was the best. I might have missed out this time, but I’ll be back next year to take my seventh championship.”
Riding consistently throughout the evening, Jonny Walker finished as runner-up and also claimed the overall Akrapovic Superpole title for the season. The former Erzbergrodeo winner will now look ahead to the outdoor season and the World Enduro Super Series.
Jonny Walker: “It was a tough night tonight – second overall with a 5-4-3 result shows just how tricky the track was and I think everyone found it hard. My pace definitely got better as the night went on and to finish as runner-up on the night is great. I won the Superpole award for the season, which shows my speed is definitely good enough, I just need to work a little on my consistency. With the WESS not far away now, I’ll start working on the outdoor races and the different challenges for the rest of the year.”
Results — FIM SuperEnduro World Championship, Round 5
Prestige Class — Overall
1. Billy Bolt (GBR), Husqvarna, 57 points
2. Jonny Walker (GBR), KTM, 41 pts
3. Taddy Blazusiak (POL), KTM, 40 pts
4. Manuel Lettenbichler (DEU), KTM, 39 pts
5. Cody Webb (USA), KTM, 38 pts
Prestige Race 1
1. Taddy Blazusiak (POL), KTM, 10 laps 7:22.231
2. Billy Bolt (GBR), Husqvarna, 7:26.764 +4.533
3. Colton Haaker (USA), Husqvarna, 7:29.421 +7.190
4. Cody Webb (USA), KTM, 7:32.650 +10.419
5. Jonny Walker (GBR), KTM, 7:50.702 +28.471
6. Manuel Lettenbichler (DEU), KTM, 7:55.344 +33.113
Prestige Race 2
1. Billy Bolt (GBR), Husqvarna, 10 laps 7:19.234
2. Manuel Lettenbichler (DEU), KTM, 7:27.188 +7.954
3. Cody Webb (USA) KTM, 7:40.248 +21.014
4. Jonny Walker (GBR), KTM, 7:55.227 +35.993
5. Colton Haaker (USA), Husqvarna, 7:31.958 +1 lap
Prestige Race 3
1. Billy Bolt (GBR), Husqvarna, 7:12.810
2. Taddy Blazusiak (POL), KTM, 7:27.718 +14.908
3. Jonny Walker (GBR), KTM, 8:00.623 +47.813
4. Manuel Lettenbichler (DEU), 7:15.765 +1 lap
5. Blake Gutzeit (ZAF), Yamaha, 7:26.143 +1 lap
Final Standings SuperEnduro 2018 after 5 of 5 rounds
1. Cody Webb (USA), KTM, 240 points
2. Billy Bolt (GBR), Husqvarna, 226 pts
3. Taddy Blazusiak (USA), KTM, 225 pts
4. Jonny Walker (GBR), KTM, 194 pts
5. Colton Haaker (USA), Husqvarna, 180 pts
Source: KTM – Photo: Future7Media