Husqvarna’s Colton HAAKER (USA) leads the FIM Maxxis SuperEnduro World Championship as the hotly contested series heads to Bilbao in Spain for the penultimate round.
After a six week break, the stars of the SuperEnduro are back on track this Saturday March 4th at the Grand Prix AMV Seguros of Euskadi, which will take place inside the Bizkaia Arena of the Bilbao Exhibition Centre.
In the wake of their organisation of the 2016 EnduroGP of Basque Country in the small town of Gordexola, the Idubaltza Kirol Kluba and its president Imanol TARAMONA decided to try the SuperEnduro adventure proposed by Alain BLANCHARD (ABC Communication) at the end of October.
Bizkaia Arena ready for the SuperEnduro show!
With 10 years of experience in organising Enduro events in the Basque Country with their famous "Gordexola Xtreme" the Idubaltza Kirol Kluba looking for a new challenge found the right fit with SuperEnduro. Especially with the full backing of the Bilbao Exhibition Center (B.E.C).
The B.E.C is located in Barakaldo, on the outskirts of Bilbao. The Bizkaia Arena is one of the eight halls that make up the Bilbao Exhibition Centre. This omnisport hall with a capacity of about 15,000 people has already hosted well-known sports events such as the Men's Basketball World Cup in 2014 and the 2007 Spanish Basketball Supercup. In Off-Road, a Supercross race was also organised in this nice hall.
Bilbao is located in the north-west of Spain in the Autonomous Community of the Basque Country. With a population of around 350,000, it blends historical monuments and buildings with modern art, as the well-known Guggenheim Contemporary Museum.
GOMEZ looking for home win
Ultra dominant in Germany in early January, it’s extremely clear that Colton HAAKER (USA - Husqvarna) means business in his quest for a second consecutive world title. Aside from Taddy BLAZUSIAK (PL - KTM) at his home in Krakow (Poland), no one else has troubled the American.
However, KTM’s Alfredo Gomez (E) has proved himself a serious threat on numerous occasions and is knocking on the door of a race win and overall victory. Riding on home turf and urged on by a euphoric Bizkaia Arena, the penultimate round of the series will prove pivotal for GOMEZ.
Consistent but still slightly lacking outright speed, Jonny WALKER (GB—KTM) will have to attack hard if he wants to retain a title chance in Albi on March 18th for the Final. Training hard between rounds, he’s ready to move closer to the front of the pack.
Mario ROMAN (E - Sherco) will be keen to give everything in order to keep his fourth place in the provisional standing and move closer to the top three places. But he will have to face 2016 Junior World Champion Manuel LETTENBICHLER (D - KTM) and the show-stopping rookie Pascal RAUCHENECKER (AUT - Husqvarna).
On the home front, Eloi SALSENCH (Beta) will certainly be looking to shine a little more and keep his place among the top 10 but he will have to manage the fast outsiders like Estonian Rannar UUSNA (KTM), Aurélien ADDESSO (F - Beta), Russia’s David LEONOV (Husqvarna) and Sweden 's John NYSTRÖM (KTM).
GUTZEIT looks for the double win?
In Juniors, this Grand Prix AMV Seguros of Euskadi should hold all its promises. A debut winner in Germany and now championship leader, Blake GUTZEIT (RSA - Yamaha) holds the reigns of the Junior class. With his confidence high, the South African knows another winning result in Bilbao will move him one step closer to the title in Albi, France on March 18th.
But he will have to be careful as we have seen so many times this season that anything goes in the Junior category. Benjamin HERRERA (CL – TM), Kyle FLANAGAN (RSA - Sherco), Gethin HUMPHREYS (GB - Husqvarna), David CYPRIAN (CZ - KTM), Max VIAL (F - Husqvarna) and Lee SEALEY (GB - Yamaha) are sure to keep the crowd on their feet and will give everything possible to stop the South African stealing focus. Expect fireworks.
After two first rounds of wild action packed racing, we’ll see if HAAKER remains on the stop step of the podium or if national favourite GOMEZ can steal the gold. Likewise, GUTZEIT has momentum on his side for victory but in a class as unpredictable as the Juniors then a new winner is certainly possible.
Adding in an additional two races for the national category ensures sparks will fly inside the Bizkaia Arena of the Bilbao Exhibition Centre on Saturday March 4th.
- Bilbao (Basque Country);
- 397 kilometres North from Madrid and 119 kilometres from French borders;
- Saturday, March 4th from 17h00 (doors open);
- Organizer: Idubaltza Kirol Kluba;
- Website: www.superenduro.org ;
- Sequence: 3 Finals for Prestige class, 3 finals for Juniors;
- Ticket Price: From 30€ to 35€;
- Airport: Bilbao