Nathan Watson delivers the goods to claim a home win at round six of the World Enduro Super Series, the Hawkstone Park Cross-Country. The Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider showed his class on the physically demanding Shropshire course to take victory over Germany’s Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM) and Jonny Walker (KTM – GB).
Placing as runner-up in Great Britain, Lettenbichler extends his lead in this year’s race to become the ULTIMATE ENDURO WORLD CHAMPION.
With Saturday’s Sprint Enduro qualifiers done and dusted it was time to get down to business for the Original Fast Eddy Cross-Country race. Saturday’s glorious weather gave way to scattered showers, but it did little to dampen the race action.
Riders blast away from the start of the gruelling two-and-a-half-hour race © Future7Media
As riders blasted off the Hawkstone Park start line, it was Gas Gas’ Alex Snow (GB) who took the initial holeshot with Walker and the ensuring pack of riders close behind. There was immediate drama when both Watson and 2018 winner Josep Garcia (KTM – ESP) were slow to start. Watson fared better than his teammate and was quickly mid pack, while Garcia had work to do after leaving the start in last position.
By the end of lap one, Walker was in the lead but Watson was up to second with Lettenbichler, Taddy Blazusiak (KTM – POL) and Snow chasing. Garcia was battling through the field and closing in on the top-10. A lap later and Watson was out front.
Exiting the mid-distance fuel stop of the two-hour and 30-minute race, Watson had increased his advantage to over one-minute from Lettenbichler and Walker. Controlling the pace for the second half of the race, he rode on to take a memorable win with Lettenbichler and Walker rounding out the podium.
Jonny Walker puts his best foot forward for a first WESS podium finish of 2019 © Future7Media
Behind the top three, Blazusiak put in a strong charge in the closing stages to take fourth, with Garcia regrouping following his bad start to place fifth. Snow showed his pace for sixth, while Eurotek KTM’s Will Hoare impressed with seventh.
The World Enduro Super Series continues with round seven in Spain for the BR2 Enduro Solsona on October 4-6.
Nathan Watson (KTM – GB): “I’m super-happy to win today. I felt a lot of pressure coming into this weekend because it seems everyone expected me to win. Obviously, I got second here last year so I was extra-motivated this weekend. Winning the Sprint Enduro gave me some confidence for today, but then I got a bad start and was near last. I made some aggressive passes early on to fight my way back up to the front. Once I got into the lead I felt so comfortable and was able to control the pace. I’m feeling pretty confident now going into BR2 Enduro Solsona. I’m liking the hard pack more and more now too, as well as the sand. The plan is to get some more points back and see where we are in the championship.”
Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM – GER): “I came into this round with no expectations at all, but the plan was to collect as many points as possible for the overall standings. I thought if I could do a little better than last year and get inside the top-five it would be amazing because there are so many fast guys out there. I got a really good start and managed to find a good rhythm, so the whole race went really well – I surprised myself a little. Although my result here gives me quite a confidence boost going into the next round, it’s going to be really different racing in Spain. I’ll give it my best as always and if we can get a good result it will be a boost heading to Getzenrodeo.”
Jonny Walker (KTM – GB): “It’s been great to finish on the podium at home. The race went great from the off. I started perfectly and got into the lead pretty early on the opening lap. It made a difference to have a clear track on lap one and it helped me find the flow easier. After that I just settled into things and rode smart in the traffic. This result feels like it’s been a long time coming. I’m looking forward to BR2 Enduro Solsona now – we’ve got a two-week break to rest a little then hopefully come back strong in Spain and challenge for the podium again.”
Nathan Watson delivers the goods to secure a deserved home win © Future7Media
Results – World Enduro Super Series, Round 6 – Hawkstone Park Cross-Country
1. Nathan Watson (KTM – GB) 14 laps, 2:30:41.111; 2. Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM – GER) 2:33:19.480; 3. Jonny Walker (KTM – GB) 2:35:51.529; 4. Taddy Blazusiak (KTM – POL) 2:36:36.306; 5. Josep Garcia (KTM – ESP) 2:39:09.380; 6. Alex Snow (Gas Gas – GB) 2:40:25.430; 7. Will Hoare (KTM – GB) 2:42:21.589; 8. Alfredo Gomez (Husqvarna – ESP) 13 laps, 2:32:03.308; 9. Graham Jarvis (Husqvarna – GB) 2:33:22.425; 10. Suff Sella (KTM – ISR) 2:34:13.143…
Provisional Standings – World Enduro Super Series 2019 (After round 6)
1. Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM – GER) 4420 points; 2. Graham Jarvis (Husqvarna – GB) 3920 pts; 3. Alfredo Gomez (Husqvarna – ESP) 3654 pts; 4. Jonny Walker (KTM – GB) 3470 pts; 5. Taddy Blazusiak (KTM – POL) 3280 pts; 6. Josep Garcia (KTM – ESP) 3165 pts; 7. Mario Roman (Sherco – ESP) 3070 pts; 8. Nathan Watson (KTM – GB) 3031; 9. Billy Bolt (Husqvarna – GB) 2725 pts; 10. Pol Tarres (Husqvarna – ESP) 2270 pts…
WORLD ENDURO SUPER SERIES – 2019 SCHEDULE
Round 1: Toyota Porto Extreme XL Lagares (Portugal) May 10-12
Round 2: Trèfle Lozérien AMV (France) May 17-19
Round 3: Erzbergrodeo Red Bull Hare Scramble (Austria) May 30-June 2
Round 4: Hixpania Hard Enduro (Spain) June 21-23
Round 5: Red Bull Romaniacs (Romania) July 30-August 3
Round 6: Hawkstone Park Cross Country (United Kingdom) September 21-22
Round 7: BR2 Enduro Solsona (Spain) October 4-6
Round 8: GetzenRodeo (Germany) November 2