News 10 May 2019

WESS launches this weekend with Porto Extreme XL Lagares

Portugal to play host to World Enduro Super Series opener.

Image: Supplied.

The 2019 World Enduro Super Series (WESS) launches into action this weekend with Portugal’s Toyota Porto Extreme XL Lagares, where the battle to become the ultimate enduro champion will commence.

Covering eight rounds of exciting mixed discipline enduro racing across seven months, WESS brings together the sport’s best riders as they fight it out in Classic Enduro, Hard Enduro and Cross-Country racing.

Like in 2018, the Toyota Porto Extreme XL Lagares will kick things off with Superenduro, Urban and Hard Enduro action across three days in northern Portugal.

Expanding on 2018, the 15th edition of the Portugal’s most-important Hard Enduro race will see almost 300 riders compete across five categories that will include 54 Pro competitors.

As the defending WESS champion, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Billy Bolt will start as the rider to beat in 2019. Bolt won the event last year and will look to rekindle all of that winning form this time round.

However, an off-season knee injury has sidelined the likeable British rider for the majority of the winter meaning round one will mark his first return to competitive action since that championship-winning ride last November.

Ending the 2018 series as runner-up, Germany’s Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM) was a revelation last year with the privateer rider regularly challenging the leading factory-supported riders for top honours. Third overall in Extreme XL Lagares 12 months ago, the KTM rider is fired up for victory this time around.

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jonny Walker finished second in Portugal last year before going on to lead the majority of the series until a season-ending crash in September. Just recently crowned the British Extreme Enduro Champion shows he is back to his best.

Placing fourth overall in Extreme XL Lagares in 2018, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Taddy Blazusiak delivered arguably one of the day’s standout performances. From a late starting position, the Polish rider overtook almost 40 riders on his way to the front of the field. Aiming for an easier time of things this year, Blazusiak could prove a serious threat for the top step of the podium.

Tied on three wins with Graham Jarvis (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing), Alfredo Gomez has claimed the most victories in Portugal’s toughest Hard Enduro. Missing the event in 2018 due to injury, the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing rider returns in 2019 eager to increase his win tally. Jarvis – fifth in 2018 – is a rider never to be counted out when the going gets tough.

His vast experience around the challenging Lagares mountainside is not in question and he will no doubt figure at the sharp end of the results when it matters most.