Manuel Lettenbichler claimed a stunning win in the second round of the 2022 Hard Enduro World Championships at Xross Serbia. Theodor Kabakshev and Graham Jarvis could still climb to the podium, while defending champion Billy Bolt finished fourth.
The Xcross Serbia was included on the Hard Enduro racing calendar for the first time, so no one knew what to expect on the 104km track, which includes the steep inclines around Mocra Gora, which tested the riders’ strength and endurance from start to finish.
The victorious Lettenbichler put on day two with an absolutely stunning performance and then made over 10 minutes on the final day ahead of Kabakchev for second.
With this win, Lettenbichler took another step towards returning to his former superb form, with the German rider now competing for the first time in six months due to injury.
I have a crazy time behind me, but it’s good to be racing again. I’m very very excited
“I am so excited. Racing and fighting for victory again is the greatest thing, especially after going a long time without riding a motorbike. I had a very difficult slope and once I lost my bike because I was too steep,” he said. el Lettenbichler.
“Then there was a riverbed, and from there the race was very fast. I knew the guys behind me were also very fast, so I tried to put another shovel on it. I am very happy to be the first to finish,” the German rider added.
On day three, there was a shorter 78km section waiting for the Serbian mountain riders, which included sliding and climbing, sometimes cut with a sprint or two. The 11-hour race, which was put down in three days, was finally best performed by Lettenbichler, who shone once again in his old form in Serbia.
“I came into this race without any special expectations, so it is a special feeling to be able to win. I drove myself completely, but it feels so good. It’s a crazy time behind me, but it’s good to be racing again. I’m very, very excited and looking forward to continuing. “.
Teodor Kabakshev deserved second place, and World SuperCross Junior Champion climbed up the ladder, achieving the best result of his career so far in the Elite class.
“I’m so glad I worked so hard for it. I felt really good about the bike and the track this week too. I had a tough time, but I think everyone can tell me about my competition. I was getting better at training and I thought I would get the podium,” Kapachev said. This second place exceeded all my expectations.”
Graham Jarvis, who is third in the lineup with Billy Bolt, leads the pool in this year’s tough World Championship. He was in the “enduro GOAT” elements in the mountains and seemed to spin years in his body, while the 47-year-old veteran had all the experience in the position.
“It feels really good. I didn’t think my stamina would last until the end. Honestly, I struggled a lot today. I was tired, but I think everyone is. I’m already very happy to be there and I’m fit and healthy, not hurting my knees and the icing on the cake.”
Defending champion Billy Bolt was also pulled over by the branch in Serbia, and in addition to his illness, his engine also needed to be fixed before the start.
“In the situation I’ve been racing, getting fourth is a very good feeling and a lot of comfort,” the world champion said. “The past two days have been a struggle. My goal wasn’t for it to get any worse even if I couldn’t improve my situation. Fortunately I was able to keep everyone behind. In general, I’m disappointed with the result, because without a hitch, I almost surely end up but I don’t I want to complain, I brought the cap.”