With the battle for title honours heating up, the penultimate round of the series in Bilbao delivered another night of action-packed superenduro racing. KTM’s Webb and Blazusiak won all three finals between them, while Walker topped the Akrapovic SuperPole hot lap.
Following on from his heavy crash last time out in Malaga, Blazusiak knew he needed to fight back in order to keep his chances of winning a record-breaking seventh world crown alive. Staying out of trouble during the opening two finals, Blazusiak pushed Webb hard only to finish second each time out.
Saving his best for last, Taddy was hot out of the starting gate in final three. Quickly opening up a sizeable advantage, he controlled the race from the front and rode home for a convincing win. With it he secured the top step of the podium. His victory reduces his deficit in the championship standings to just 17 points ahead of the final round in Sweden remaining.
Taddy Blazusiak: “Things went well and I’m super happy with the overall outcome tonight. It feels great to get another overall victory on the board. To be honest coming into Bilbao I wasn’t feeling too great because I’m still carrying some niggling injuries from my crash last time out in Malaga. I wasn’t able to ride and train as much as I would have normally done. I rode steady in the first two races trying to find my rhythm and confidence again. I got a great start in the final race and knew it was my chance to strike. I gave it everything I had and came away with the victory. Overall, it’s been a good night and I’ve closed the gap to Cody to 17 points. I’ve got three races left to make it happen so I’m just going to make the best of what I can.”
For Jonny Walker, Bilbao marked yet another strong showing in his superenduro campaign. Firmly putting to bed his disappointing performances in rounds one and two, Jonny ended his night as runner-up for the second round in a row. Kicking things off with the fastest lap in the Akrapovic SuperPole, the KTM rider then placed a solid third in each of the three finals to secure the overall runner-up result.
Jonny Walker: “Winning the Akrapovic SuperPole was a great start to the night and ultimately helped me to finish in the runner-up spot. In the three races I think I rode too tense. I’m not sure why but I found it hard to get a decent flow on the track. I seemed to hit a wall after the third lap and wasn’t able to keep charging. Race three was my best of the night. I didn’t get the best of starts but was consistent the whole way and put in a good ride. Overall, I’m really happy to come away with the runner-up result to match the one I got last time out in Malaga. After a disappointing start to the series, to now have two podium results in a row shows that things have definitely moved in the right direction. I think finishing third overall in the final standings is now within my reach so that’s the target in Sweden.”
As championship leader, Cody Webb looked set to extend his advantage in the series with an impressive showing during the first two finals. Racing hard with close rival Blazusiak, the American secured two wins from two starts. But a succession of crashes in the third final saw his chances of a third overall victory unravel. Crashing twice within the space of a lap, Cody lost ground on the leaders and eventually finished eighth. Ending his night on the third step of the podium behind Blazusiak and Walker, he nevertheless holds a 17-point lead in the championship with just the final round in Sweden remaining.
Cody Webb: “The first two races went very well. I felt like I was riding smooth and consistent and came away with the win in each race. Unfortunately, my opportunity to take my third overall victory came undone in the third and final race. I was running second but when I came around to the matrix section I made a big mistake. I just didn’t get the angle right when I lifted the front wheel and ended up falling off the side of the track. I panicked a little and then pushed too hard to regroup and ended up having a huge crash shortly afterwards. It messed my bike up a bit and I couldn’t ride properly. After winning the first two races I was disappointed to let the overall win slip away like that.”
The FIM SuperEnduro World Championship concludes with the fifth and final round in Lidköping, Sweden on March 31st.
Results — FIM SuperEnduro World Championship, Round 4
Prestige Class — Overall 1. Taddy Blazusiak (POL), KTM, 54pts 2. Jonny Walker (GBR), KTM, 48pts 3. Cody Webb (USA), KTM, 47pts 4. Billy Bolt (GBR), Husqvarna, 45pts 5. Manuel Lettenbichler (DEU), KTM, 33pts Other KTM 8. Joan Pau Segura (ESP), KTM, 17pts
Prestige Race 1 1. Cody Webb (USA), KTM, 9 laps, 6:52.935 2. Taddy Blazusiak (POL), KTM, 6:57.542 +4.607 3. Jonny Walker (GBR), KTM, 7:05.066 +12.131 4. Billy Bolt (GBR), Husqvarna, 7:05.710 +12.775 5. Colton Haaker (USA), Husqvarna, 7:35.973 +43.038 Other KTM 6. Manuel Lettenbichler (DEU), KTM, 7:42.239 +49.304 10. Joan Pau Segura (ESP), KTM, 6:52.569 +2laps
Prestige Race 2 1. Cody Webb (USA) KTM, 9 laps, 6:51.550 2. Taddy Blazusiak (POL), KTM, 6:53.260 +1.710 3. Jonny Walker (GBR), KTM, 7:11.198 +19.648 4. Billy Bolt (GBR), Husqvarna, 7:36.274 +44.724 5. Manuel Lettenbichler (DEU), KTM, 7:36.566 +45.016 Other KTM 9. Joan Pau Segura (ESP), KTM, 7:35.999 +1lap
Prestige Race 3 1. Taddy Blazusiak (POL), KTM, 9 laps, 6:52.169 2. Billy Bolt (GBR), Husqvarna, 7:12.928 +20.759 3. Jonny Walker (GBR), KTM, 7:18.505 +26.336 4. Manuel Lettenbichler (DEU), KTM, 7:40.401 +48.232 5. Colton Haaker (USA), Husqvarna, 8 laps, 7:01.841 +1lap Other KTM 8. Cody Webb (USA), KTM, 7:16.680 +1lap 9. Joan Pau Segura (ESP), KTM, 7:22.429 +1lap
Championship Standings (After round 4) 1. Cody Webb (USA), KTM, 202pts 2. Taddy Blazusiak (USA), KTM, 185pts 3. Billy Bolt (GBR), Husqvarna, 169pts 4. Jonny Walker (GBR), KTM, 153pts 5. Colton Haaker (USA), Husqvarna, 146pts Other KTM 6. Manuel Lettenbichler (DEU), KTM, 132pts