Check out the highlights from the MXGP of Trentino where KTM are still dominating both MX1 and MX2.
The 2018 New Zealand Cross-country Championships will now very definitely go right down to the wire at the fourth and final round after several top riders experienced mixed fortunes at round three near Taupo on Sunday.
With two wins from two starts before Sunday’s third round of four, Taupo’s defending champion Brad Groombridge appeared to have everything under control.
But then came a huge dose of bad fortune for Groombridge on Sunday, the Suzuki man running out of fuel while leading on the 13th and final lap.
Groombridge was credited with ninth overall, as one of only a handful of riders to exit the timing zone before the three-hour race duration had elapsed and so one of only nine riders to actually start a 13th lap.
But his 1-1-9 score-card after three rounds of the series has put him second on the points table, behind new series leader Nathan Tesselaar, the KTM rider from Taupo who inherited the lead and won the day on Sunday. Tesselaar’s score-card for the series so far is 4-3-1.
Runner-up on Sunday was Coatesville’s Sam Greenslade (KTM), his first ride in the series, after only recently arriving back in the country following a year in the United Kingdom, and so he is not a realistic contender for the national title this season.
Third on Sunday was Raglan’s Jason Dickey (KTM).
Dickey and Hamilton’s Phil Goodwright (Husqvarna) should also be considered title contenders because, with only three of four rounds to be counted as riders discard their one worst result, it puts Dickey (0-2-3) and Goodwright (2-5-7) right in the hunt at Mosgiel.
Meanwhile, in the 90-minute junior grade race held earlier in the day, Hamilton’s Caleb Richardson (KTM) was the runaway winner, crossing the finish line 20 seconds ahead of Napier’s Bryn Codd (Yamaha), with Cambridge’s Michael Henry (KTM) claiming third, just eight seconds further back.
This finishing order caused a reshuffle also in the junior grade, with Codd taking over the top spot from Eltham’s Adam Loveridge (Husqvarna), who managed only seventh on Sunday.
However there is virtually nothing to separate Codd (3-3-2) from Loveridge (2-1-7), or even Raglan’s Coby Rooks (Honda, 4-2-6), Richardson (10-4-1), Henry (7-5-3) or Cambridge’s Callum Patterson (Yamaha, 1-20-4) once “discarded” results are taken into account.
The fourth and final round of the series is set for farmland near Mosgiel on May 12.
Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com
ALL THE DATES AND ALL THE DETAILS
New Zealand Enduro is having a bit of a shake up for 2018 with Justin Stevenson at the helm as NZ Enduro Commissioner. The five-round series will cover the middle of the North Island, as well as visiting a new venue in the South Island, just out of Murchison, near the tiny ‘town’ of Maruia. Originally a six-round series, one South Island round had to be dropped due to land access, meaning the best four-out-of-five rounds will count towards the class titles. However, as per normal, ALL-Rounds will count towards the outright title, which is more about bragging rights than an official NZ title.
As an added bonus to the National Series, there are three off-shoots this year in the form of the North Island, Central and the Southern Series. It can get confusing as some events will count towards more than one individual series but have a look at the dates on the flyers to see which events or even series suits you best. There are plenty of Enduro events this year to choose from so don’t be shy to get out and try them for yourself.
Check out the latest DRD magazine for an Enduro 101 article about how Enduro works and how easy it is to enter and compete. If you love long trail rides and like riding fast too, then you should try an Enduro on for size.
With some exciting racing over the five-round series, it was Webb and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Taddy Blazusiak who were separated by 17-points going into the closing event of the championship. Blazusiak set a blistering pace for the Akrapovič SuperPole lap in qualifying and won the opening race of the night in impressive style, closing down on the points gap to fellow KTM-rider Webb and certainly turning up the heat on the championship battle.
Unfortunately, after an initial battle between the two contenders, a technical issue ruled Polish-star Blazusiak out of the second moto, and Webb took third position, which was enough to award the KTM-star the World Championship title with a race to spare aboard his KTM 350 EXC-F. On the night Jonny Walker finished runner-up on the podium and fourth in the standings, with six-time SuperEnduro World Champion Blazusiak, who only recently returned to racing following a short retirement, taking a podium third for third overall in the championship.
Adding the FIM SuperEnduro World Championship to his 2017 AMA EnduroCross title, American-ace Cody Webb is undisputedly the man to beat in indoor enduro. Despite a tough final round, the 29-year-old from Watsonville, California was overjoyed with his first ever world title.
“I am so happy, I can’t tell you what this means to me, Webb said. 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.”
“It is great for KTM to take another SuperEnduro World Championship, KTM’s Enduro Team Manager Fabio Farioli commented. It was a good championship for us and Cody (Webb) was consistently strong. In the first half of the series he certainly put the hammer down, and in the second half of the championship we saw a more conservative rider; he of course was then the target for all and it was not an easy position to be in. I’d like to congratulate Cody on his win, as this is certainly a special victory to add to his impressive achievements and it represents a lot of hard work from the team, from KTM and the success story of our KTM 350 EXC-F. It was unfortunate for Taddy (Blazusiak) in some respects; he also had some bad luck, and was very competitive this year, despite having some time out from competition. But this is racing, and it was great for us to see a real battle and the duo fighting for the title right until the last race of the season – of course, although I know he is disappointed, it was good for Taddy to take third in the championship in the end. Now we are looking forward to the forthcoming World Enduro Super Series, in which we expect some really exciting racing.”
For the KTM Factory Enduro riders all attention is now focused on the outdoor World Enduro Super Series championship (WESS), which combines a variety of enduro disciplines throughout the seven-event series, and kicks off with its opening round at the Extreme XL Lagares in Portugal on May 11.
Final Standings SuperEnduro 2018 after 5 of 5 rounds
1. Cody Webb (USA), KTM, 240 points
2. Billy Bolt (GBR), Husqvarna, 226 points
3. Taddy Blazusiak (POL), KTM, 225 points
4. Jonny Walker (GBR), KTM, 194 points
5. Colton Haaker (USA), Husqvarna, 180 points
If he hasn’t spent enough time at the top of the trials world, Toni Bou went ahead an won again, wrapping up the FIM X-Trial indoor crown for the 12th consecutive time. Bou, who was coming back from a serious injury, that put him out of action for over a month, could only manage fifth on the night at the Paris X-Trial but it was enough to clinch the world title.
This takes his grand total of World Titles to a massive 23 – really proving he is the GOAT of indoor trials. This short clip from Paris shows the skill it takes to win a World Title.