Spaniard beats 300 riders to win the opening race of WESS 2019 in Portugal.

The World Enduro Super Series roared back into life this weekend with Mario Roman coming out on top at the Toyota Porto Extreme XL Lagares to stake an early claim for the title of Ultimate Enduro Champion 2019.

Mario Roman

Here is all you need to know:

– Britain’s Jonny Walker made the early running, taking victory in Friday night’s Endurocross race. Spanish rider Alfredo Gómez then picked up the baton, winning Saturday’s Prologue on the cobbled streets of Porto.

– 300 competitors, including 50 pros, entered Sunday’s Hard Enduro feature race in the baking Portuguese heat.

– Germany’s Manuel Lettenbichler set the early pace, eating up Gómez’s hard-won headstart with ease and taking a six-minute lead into lap two.

Manuel Lettenbichler

– Lettenbichler, however, appeared to run out of steam at the crucial moment and he was soon reeled in by Roman and South Africa’s Wade Young.

– Roman then broke the resistance of both Young and Lettenbichler, opening up a gap of four minutes over Young to take an emphatic win at the first WESS event of the season.

– Graham Jarvis crossed the line in third and looked like he’d snuck in at the last for the final podium spot, but Lettenbichler reclaimed the place when he was awarded time he lost on lap one due to a track-marking error.

Graham Jarvis and Billy Bolt

– Roman said: “I feel amazing, it’s so good to get the win. In 2016 I finished about a minute behind Alfredo [Gómez] 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.”

– Young said: “It feels great to get second today. 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 towards the end people were starting to get tired and I was able to dig a little deeper and keep going.”

– Lettenbichler added: “I had to stop to move a bridge on the first lap so that cost me some time, but thankfully they’ve awarded that back to me and I’ve come away with third. 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.”

Taddy Blazusiak

The next stop for WESS 2019 is France’s Trèfle Lozérien AMV from May 17-19.

Wade Young

Alfredo Gomez

Wade Young

Words by Red Bull Content Pool, Photos by Future7Media