The roar of a thousand engines, ambitious riders, spectacular course and huge crowds of fans – that was the third edition of Red Bull 111 Megawatt. Out of 500 riders qualified for Sunday’s final, only 18 managed to cross the finish line. After a fierce battle that saw the participants constantly sizing each other up, the trophy went to Jonny Walker, thus the Brit defended last year’s title. Securing fifth position, Taddy Blazusiak was the best among Polish riders.
Race area at the qualification on Red Bull 111 Megawatt, Poland, Kleszczow on September 17, 2016
Red Bull 111 Megawatt is a two-day enduro event that takes place in the heart of the Belchatow Coal Mine already for the third time. As always, Day 1 sees qualifiers featuring 1,000 riders. Today, on Sunday, at 1:11 pm, the spectacular location witnessed a mass start of 500 participants. From the very beginning, the lead was going back and forth between 24-year-old Walker and his idol Taddy Blazusiak.
“It was a good race, from the start to the finish line – I’m happy with my performance. I was saving energy for the final sprint, because I knew the last lap would be crucial “ – said Walker right after he completed the race. “In the end, the gaps between the fastest riders were really small. It was kind of a cat-and-mouse game, we were switching positions all the time. It can be said that winning here was a lottery. I’m glad that it was me!”
Luke Czepiela performs during the qualification race on Red Bull 111 Megawatt, Poland, Kleszczow on September 17, 2016
The changes within the field were as dynamic as the situation on the course, which was designed and built within previously inaccessible area. It consisted of three stages: fast motocross, technical endurocross, and the toughest extreme enduro. The last one surprised everyone with specially prepared several dozen meters high “mega woops”. For some of the riders, riding in the natural mining landscape turned out to be quite impossible. The different types of terrain and elevations were already unbelievably challenging, and the weather – showers and wind – made it even more dramatic. The level of difficulty during this year’s edition of Red Bull 111 Megawatt was reflected in the final results – only 18 riders completed the race.
Competitors during the qualification race on Red Bull 111 Megawatt, Poland, Kleszczow on September 17, 2016
“Fifth place is definitely not what I was fighting for, but that’s racing. I had a good start and at first I kept a safe place at the top – I had everything under control. But unfortunately, I made a few big mistakes on the hill climbs, which cost me a few valuable minutes. I chose the wrong tracks three or four times and dropped in the standings. I was chasing the rest down to the wire and truly enjoyed the last lap, I was jumping around on cool tracks and made up for the lost time as much as I could,” said Blazusiak.