Rnd 5, World Enduro Super Series – Red Bull 111 Megawatt, Poland
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Taddy Blazusiak has secured the runner-up result at his home round of the World Enduro Super Series – Red Bull 111 Megawatt. Putting in arguably his best performance of the series to date, Blazusiak led his teammates across the line to finish second in the Polish hard enduro. Enjoying his best result in this year’s WESS, Nathan Watson raced his way to fifth, placing one position ahead of teammate Josep Garcia in sixth.
Marking the start of the second half of this year’s World Enduro Super Series, the fifth edition of the Red Bull 111 Megawatt took place in Europe’s largest coal mine. With 1000 riders entered, Saturday saw competitors battle it out for a place in Sunday’s feature race. Contesting a 30-kilometre lap, ridden three times, the 500 qualified riders fought their way through deep sandy terrain and some punishing climbs and quarry descents.
After what’s been a frustrating start to his WESS campaign, Blazusiak was determined to turn things around at his home race. Qualifying strongly in fifth for a front row start — despite nursing a broken finger sustained at round four’s Red Bull Romaniacs — the KTM rider showed his pace.
Getting off to a good start he immediately placed himself inside the top three. Enjoying a race-long battle with rivals Wade Young, Billy Bolt and Watson, Blazusiak worked his way into second on the third and final lap to secure a memorable result in front of his home crowd.
Taddy Blazusiak: “I’m super happy to be on the podium here, especially carrying an injury. I broke a finger at Romaniacs, and I have more or less no strength or movement in it. It’s been a tough season for me, so I know I just have to tough it out and, well, things worked out great here. Second is a great result for me. I had to take things carefully on the motocross section because I was struggling to keep my hands on the bars where it was so rough. I was second during the first lap and the guys ahead of my were really charging. I got a little arm pump but once that eased I started to push hard. I had a bit of a mishap coming into the pits on lap two, but the rest of the race went well. I feel like I’m starting to turn things around and to be able to get second here in Poland is awesome.”
Delivering his best result of the series, Nathan Watson looked most comfortable in the sandy terrain, despite it being his debut ride in the race. Setting the pace to claim the fastest time in Saturday’s qualification, he then backed that up by grabbing the holeshot and leading an early portion of lap one. Always in the mix for a podium result, the young Brit ultimately crossed the line in a confidence-boosting fifth.
Nathan Watson: “I’m over the moon if I’m honest. Maybe this isn’t exactly an extreme race, it’s not super, super tough, but it certainly wasn’t an easy one. I got a great start, got the holeshot, and lead through the motocross section. I was surprised by the speed everyone was able to ride at there, it seemed to be a lot drier and more slippery there. But I felt like I rode a solid race overall. I had one pretty big crash on one of the uphills, but I worked my way through the traffic well and kept plugging away for a top five. Leading the race for a while was great, but I missed some of the flag markers. Once I dropped back into dust from other riders it was so much harder, but I’m really pleased with my result.”
Also making his debut ride at Red Bull 111 Megawatt, Josep Garcia rode strongly in Poland. Second fastest in qualification, he pushed hard throughout the race to finish just behind Watson in sixth.
Josep Garcia: “It’s been a good race for me. I knew coming here experience would count a lot due to the nature of the coal mine but I feel I’ve put in a strong performance. Saturday was really fun and I enjoyed the motocross and endurocross test a lot. It was nice to show my speed there ahead of the next round at Hawkstone Park. In what was an extreme-style cross-country race my pace was good and my fitness was strong towards the finish too.”
Entering Poland with a 185-point WESS championship lead, Jonny Walker was hungry to extend his advantage having won Red Bull 111 Megawatt for the last three years. Leading Sunday’s race, he initially looked like the rider to beat. At the beginning of the second lap, Walker unfortunately crashed in the dust raised by lapped traffic and was forced to retire from the event.
The World Enduro Super Series continues with round six in Great Britain on September 22/23.
Results – Red Bull 111 Megawatt, WESS Round 5
1. Wade Young (RSA), Sherco, 3 laps, 2:10:52.04
2. Taddy Blazusiak (POL), KTM, 2:13:01.82
3. Billy Bolt (GBR), Husqvarna, 2:13:08.63
4. Manuel Lettenbichler (GER), KTM, 2:14:15.07
5. Nathan Watson (GBR), KTM, 2:15:34.21
6. Josep Garcia (ESP), KTM, 2:17:54.59
10. Paul Bolton (GBR), KTM, 2:22:24.86
World Enduro Super Series Standings (After round 5 of 8)
1. Manuel Lettenbichler (GER), KTM, 3405 points
2. Billy Bolt (GBR), Husqvarna, 3290 pts
3. Wade Young (RSA), Sherco, 3220 pts
4. Jonny Walker (GBR), KTM, 2900 pts
5. Josep Garcia (ESP), KTM, 2320 pts
7. Taddy Blazusiak (POL), KTM, 2295 pts
8. Paul Bolton (GBR), KTM, 2262 pts
9. Nathan Watson (GBR), KTM, 1928 pts