Abbeycwmhir. Mid Wales. 26.02.17
Bolt Leads Championship.
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing rider Bolt took first place at the third round of the ACU British Extreme Enduro Championship, Ed’s of the Valley, organised by Paul Edmondson and his Fast Eddy Racing crew. The 12-mile course turned into what Bolt described as a ‘slog-fest’ as heavy rain and high winds battered the venue throughout the day.
His victory has promoted him to overall championship leader with two runner-up spots already in the bag.
Strategy, with a huge amount of luck added, was the key in the afternoon race as more than a few riders fell foul of the ‘outside assistance’ rules, going for third lap and consequently running out of fuel out on the course. Both Graham Jarvis and David Knight were disqualified for breaching Enduro Standing Regulations (ESR) 33, refuelling other than in within the designated area. They took a chance and pushed their luck going for a third lap and lost out. Kieran Hancock also dq’d for the same reason.
For Billy Bolt it was a sweet victory. This was his first attempt at a big-lap Welsh forest enduro and he was the least experienced rider in the Pro line up in this type of setting.
This third round came as a real shock to many riders who hadn’t ridden a big lap Welsh forest enduro in wintertime for a while. Mud, ruts, big hill-climbs, fast fire-roads and brash, all with fallen trees and a few rocky sections, made for a fuel-draining lap.
The event wasn’t considered extreme, more a Hard Enduro, but looking at some of the hill-climbs they would not have disgraced any extreme enduro. The floor of the forest remained generally in good shape but there were a few sections that became extremely rutted and hard to negotiate.
With both Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory riders starting on the front row the battle was on. Soon it was Bolt, Jarvis and Knight fighting for the lead. All three had their time at the front but Bolt openly admitted that he sat behind Knight for a while, watching the big Manxman attacking the course and learning as much as possible.
Bolt pitted at the end of the second lap to refuel. The others continued for a third lap and their fate was sealed. Jarvis and Knight were joined by Keelan Hancock in the ‘ran out of fuel’ group and all three were excluded for breaching ESR 33.
Billy Bolt had a clear lead as even second placed Paul Bolton had dropped 10 minutes, his bike was reported to have suffered with some technical issues. Jarvis was second across the line but knew he was disqualified and accepted the decision with the good grace of a true champion.
Billy Bolt: ‘I am really pleased to have won. This type of course is new to me and I haven’t really raced on anything similar before in such bad weather. I got a good start but knew that Graham and David Knight would soon be around me and we all took turns at the front. I watched Knighter’s lines and body position when I was behind him, taking the opportunity to learn as much as possible from one of the world’s most experienced riders over this type of terrain. It was very hard going. Nothing extreme but one constant slog around a huge 12-mile lap! My win puts me at the top of the tree in the championship now and I’m looking forward to the next two races to see what they will bring.’
Graham Jarvis: ‘It was a tough race and running out of fuel didn’t make it any easier. Three were no really extreme sections, it was a case of simply grinding out a finish. Disqualification is always a blow but there is some consolation in knowing I wasn’t alone.’
Billy Bolt. Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Paul Bolton. Eurotek KTM Sam Winterburn. D3 Racing KTM Luke Flack. MRS Sherco Owain Humphreys. CF Racing – Husqvarna Motorcycles
Words: Tim Tighe (On behalf of Husqvarna Mororcycles UK) Images: Tilde Tighe (On behalf of Husqvarna Mororcycles UK)