Part way through the qualifying practice session of Round 3 of the 2024 MotoZ FIM SuperEnduro World Championship in the WT Energiesystem Arena in Riesa, Billy BOLT (GBR-Husqvarna) took a bad landing after the finish line jump. The Englishman remained on the ground for several seconds complaining of pain throughout his left leg. After being checked by the medical personnel, he made the brave decision to suffer through the round and try to score points, with the aim of maintaining his standings lead.
In the first race of the night, Jonny WALKER (GBR-Beta) needed to be opportunistic and build on the strong form he’s had all season. He flew to the Airoh Holeshot but was overtaken by Billy BOLT in the matrix after the tricky bridge section, proof that the Husqvarna rider had lost none of his attacking spirit. However, aware of his good chance at taking a race win, WALKER quickly regained the advantage. Behind the lead pair, an ever-improving Mitch BRIGHTMORE (GBR-GASGAS) had slotted into third. Home rider Manuel LETTENBICHLER (GER-KTM) occupied a disappointing sixth place for the first part of the race, but the factory KTM made a good comeback to fourth position. Out the front, Jonny WALKER’s huge gap suddenly disappeared when his rear brake lever got stuck under his footpeg after hitting an obstacle. The crowd roared as BOLT lurched into the lead and took the win. WALKER was forced to watch on in second place after what seemed like a ‘nailed on’ victory.
In the second Prestige race of the night, the reverse grid start, WALKER was once again quick to get to the head of the field and looked to be in control. Ominously, Billy BOLT was closing in on his compatriot with just a couple of laps to go, even though the Husky rider was clearly feeling the strain. WALKER made a mistake and crashed, losing a few seconds and the race lead in one fell swoop. BOLT admitted he was ready to take second but couldn’t resist the urge to overtake the unlucky WALKER. LETTENBICHLER completed the Top 3 in Race 2, just ahead of fellow German Tim APOLLE (Beta) who had a very good race. Will HOARE (GBR-Beta) settled for 4th place. Billy BOLT only needed a decent finish in the last race of the evening to win a GP that he wondered if he’d even compete in.
Frustrated by mistakes and misfortune, Jonny WALKER totally dominated the final race of the night. BOLT appeared to want to take it easy, but he remained at the forefront regardless. In fact, if he hadn’t made a couple of mistakes shortly before the chequered flag he may well have made a pass on WALKER. Exhausted after his efforts through the pain, the Englishman collapsed after the finish line and took a few moments to take stock of the new feat he had just accomplished – another overall win despite everything. BOLT will head for more medical examinations next week to determine the extent of his leg injury. Despite his impressive speed throughout the event, including taking the Akrapovic Superpole and the Airoh Holeshot Award, WALKER once again had to take second overall. Even though he kept his usual relaxed and smiling demeanour, the Beta rider was naturally disappointed to miss the opportunity to close in on his main rival. Manuel LETTENBICHLER recovered from a slightly lackluster start to the German GP to take his first podium of the year with third overall. In the Championship Standings BOLT leads WALKER by 16 points as we approach the season’s mid-point, Will HOARE is still bronze medalist for the moment, 49 points behind WALKER.
SELLA Soars to his Second GP Win
Israel’s Suff SELLA (KTM) felt confident and quick on the technical track in Riesa, and the KTM rider managed to win in the second and third races of the evening with relative ease. Calm and determined, SELLA never seemed flustered, even when having to pass slower riders. After his success at the French GP, and a difficult GP in Poland, he returned to the top step tonight in Germany. The youngster sent a clear message to his closest rival, Ashton BRIGHTMORE (GBR-GASGAS), that he is capable of winning on various track layouts. However, the Brit didn’t have a bad night either, winning the first race with an impressive margin and placing third and second in the following races. The 17-year-old GasGas rider continues to amaze all observers with his superb riding skills despite his relative lack of experience. Behind the fight between SELLA and BRIGHTMORE, German hero Milan SCHMUESER (Sherco) took a popular third spot overall at home, even though he has not fully recovered from the injuries which kept him out of the Polish GP. The Sherco rider held off Roland LISZKA (HUN-KTM) on the night, although the Hungarian remains third in the Junior ranking. At the head of the standings, SELLA took back control from BRIGHTMORE by just 2 points!
LEON SOLE Repeats the Feat
Experienced Spanish rider Xavi LEON SOLE (GasGas) won his second Grand Prix of the season in the SuperEnduro European Cup. The GasGas rider had to fight hard to achieve this latest ‘top step’ though, winning the first race by holding off home rider Henry STRAUSS (GER-KTM) and Italy’s Alessandro AZZALINI (GasGas) who gave him a run for his money. It was a different story in the second race when LEON SOLE had to settle for second behind Germany’s Max FAUDE (KTM) while Poland’s Damian BRONIEWSKI (Husqvarna) was third. Although the two Germans, FAUDE and STRAUSS, were desperate to win at home, they had to take second and third on the final overall podium. In the standings LEON SOLE is 14 points ahead of AZZALINI and 17 over the Maciej WIECKOWSKI.
The German GP had plenty of drama and some superb racing. The fourth round of the MotoZ FIM SuperEnduro World Championship will visit Cluj in Romania for the first time on January 20th.
What They Said – Germany
Billy Bolt: “After my crash in practice I was just trying to get through tonight to be honest, and I need to thank the team for standing by me in my decision to ride. It’s all a bit of a blur with all the pain, and I really didn’t know if I could actually win on one leg. I got close to Jonny in the final race, but I made some silly mistakes that meant no hattrick. Jonny rode well tonight and it certainly wasn’t easy to get this overall win. For me there was no option other than to race. Let’s get some medical checks and hopefully be back in Romania.”
Jonny Walker: “I had a couple of unlucky second places tonight, I made a lot of mistakes, and had a problem with my brake lever too. Just didn’t feel good, despite having good pace in practice and Superpole. I really wanted to turn things around for the final race of the night, and I was able to do it. I’m really tired, but so pleased to have a race win. Billy was an absolute machine tonight, fair play to him.”
Manuel Lettenbichler: “I’m making progress but whenever you crash at the start of a race it’s gonna suck, it’s also frustrating because I felt I could have done more tonight. Overall, I’m pretty stoked to get on the podium, and I’ll try to step it up in the races for Romania. I’m getting back into the SuperEnduro vibe and aggressivity.”
Suff Sella: “I managed to get second in the first race, and I wasn’t very happy with that but I rode well so it wasn’t too bad. I felt really happy to get the last two wins of the night and take the championship lead. Last time out in Poland I felt nervous and I had a few bike issues, but I was relaxed today and that makes the difference. There are four rounds left, so let’s see what happens…”