Securing another podium result in the 2015 SuperEnduro World Championship, Jonny Walker finished third overall at the GP of Mexico. In doing so he closes to within three points of the runner-up spot in the SuperEnduro championship standings with two rounds remaining.
Returning to indoor enduro racing once again following his winning ride at the Hell’s Gate extreme enduro, the first of the SuperEnduro series’ two ‘over seas’ races saw Jonny once again setting a fast pace. Reverting back to a 250cc four-stroke the night started well for Jonny, as he placed as runner-up in the opening final.
Race two saw the reversed order start, with Jonny quick to make his way towards the front of the field. Finding good lines through and across the tracks many obstacles Jonny again placed in a strong second position.
The third and closing final was the only race during which things didn’t go as planned for Jonny. Riding well and looking to continue his impressive run of results he found himself caught behind Spain’s Alfredo Gomez and unable to break away and battle with race leaders Taddy Blazusiak and Cody Webb. Despite his frustrations Jonny secured a fourth place result and in finishing third overall closes to within three points of second in the 2015 SuperEnduro World Championship standings.
Jonny Walker: “I finished on the podium again, which is great, but I’m not really that pleased with the way I rode in the last final. I made some mistakes that could have been avoided, and without them I could have got a better result. I felt a little bit stiff on my bike in the first race but got third, which was an ok start to the night. I felt good in the second race and came through to get second but just ran out of laps. I didn't get a great start in the third final and spent too long behind a few riders. A little bit more aggression probably would have got me to the front sooner, but it’s easy to say that after the race. My speed was good and it’s been fun racing here in Mexico, I hope things will go well in Brazil next weekend.”
Round five of the FIM SuperEnduro World Championship takes place in Belo Horizonte, Brazil on February 28, 2015.
Prestige class – Overall results
1. Taddy Blazusiak (KTM) 58 points; 2. Cody Webb (KTM) 53; 3. Jonny Walker (KTM) 49; 4. Alfredo Gomez (Husqvarna) 38; 5. David Knight (KTM) 33; 6. Paul Bolton (KTM) 30...
Prestige Race 1
1. Taddy Blazusiak (KTM); 2. Jonny Walker (KTM); Cody Webb (KTM); 4. David Knight (KTM); 5. Paul Bolton (KTM); 6. Alfredo Gomez (Husqvarna)...
Prestige Race 2
1. Cody Webb (KTM); 2. Jonny Walker (KTM); 3. Taddy Blazusiak (KTM); 4. Alfredo Gomez (Husqvarna); 5. David Knight (KTM); 6. Kyle Redmond (Beta)...
Prestige Race 3
1. Taddy Blazusiak (KTM); 2. Cody Webb (KTM); 3. Alfredo Gomez (Husqvarna); 4.
Jonny Walker (KTM); 5. Kyle Redmond (KTM); 6. Paul Bolton (KTM)...
ROBBY BELL - February 21, 2015
With UTVs taking the desert scene by storm (not to mention pouring tons of money into the market), Best in the Desert made the decision to depart from the traditional Laughlin Hare Scramble, and merge the bike-only event with atv and UTV entries to create the first annual Laughlin UTV World Championship. It would be held closer to town and consist of eight, 16-mile loops around a fast, sandy course. Also new for Best in the Desert (at least in my experience), the bike and atv race would be a mass start, straddling the front fender, according to skill level (meaning the atv and bike pro/experts would all leave on the first line together) to a green flag release.
Another departure from tradition was Best in the Desert deciding to start the bike/atv race at 7AM, when the sun had been up for nearly forty-five minutes! This was a bit of a surprise, since we always joke that the BITD races traditionally start well before the sun even begins to peak over the horizon, when running a headlight is still useful.
Ricky Brabec and I would once again team up and since we’d be pitting every two laps, our plan was to go ahead and switch at each pit stop. We decided that I would start the race for us and my main goal, as always, was to get out front early. The first few straightaways were watered, but once the course headed out into the desert the dust would be thick, and I wanted to be the one making the dust, not eating it.
As the front row all stood straddling the front of our bikes (and quads), I noticed I could hear an official over the radio counting down to the green flag wave. As he hit three, two, one I tried to time the start, but jumped around to the side of my bike a little early and paused to wait for the flag. Once I saw green flying high into the sky I swung my leg over the bike and pushed my leg through the kick-starter, but I feel karma was getting even with me for trying to jump the start and my bike didn’t fire right away. Two kicks- and what seemed like an agonizing eternity- later, I finally got going and I was shocked to see just two racers ahead of me: the Beta of Nick Burson in second, and (somehow) a utility quad with a huge hole shot! I don’t know how that quad got off the line so fast; I joked afterward that his utility quad was so quiet he just had it running on the line and no one noticed…
As we all sped through the first couple of corners Nick tried to go around the outside of the quad, but he got pushed really wide and I saw my opportunity to accelerate up the inside. I pushed hard into the following corner, passing the quad, and was just able to edge by Nick to take over the lead of the race. After taking the lead, I rode a little over my comfort zone through the next few corners to keep Nick from retaliating, and once we hit the dust, I started to stretch away.
The rest of my first stint went incredibly well as I was able to put some time between myself and Nick, giving the bike to Ricky with a lead of just over a minute. Ricky had a great ride as well and was able to continue pulling away from the fireld, giving me the bike for my second, and final, stint with around two minutes advantage. My last two laps went by in a flash. I was having a lot of fun getting through the lappers, aside from sucking in some serious dust at times, and I was a little bummed when it came time for me to give the bike back to Ricky; I wanted to ride some more!
Ricky had a good time with his final two laps and came in to the finish line to take the win, meaning we’re two for two this year in the Best in the Desert series. I’m definitely happy we were able to get the win, but I’m even happier with how much fun I’m having racing my dirt bike right now; I feel like this is the way it’s always supposed to have felt. I want to thank all of my personal sponsors: Precision Concepts, MSR, Shoei, SIDI, Spy, Focus Apparel, EVS, USWE, RAD custom graphics, ATP Mechanix, MotoXerciser, FMF, BRP, A’ME grips and Northland Motorsports; thanks to Ricky, Kyle, Ty, big Rick, the Bobcat, and everyone for helping us in the pits. I also want to thank our mechanic Phil for building yet another great bike and to my family, friends and fans for the continued support.
From here it’s off to Arizona for the third round of the WORCS series on March 1st. I figure I’ve developed a bit of a target on my back after the first two rounds and I’m certain Gary, JJ, Eric and the rest of the boys are going to be stepping their game up to get that win. I’m looking forward to another hard fought battle, a few rocks in the Arizona desert, and continuing this trend of having too much fun on my motorcycle!
Thank you to each of our team sponsors: Precision Concepts, Dunlop, FMF, THR Motorsports, Maxima USA, Renthal, GPR stabilizer, CryoHeat, Rekluse, VP Race Fuels, IMS, BRP, LA Piston Co., A’ME grips, Braking, RK/Excel, ARC levers, DT1 filters, Acerbis, RAD custom graphics, Matrix Concepts, Zip-Ty, Boyesen, Seal Savers, MotoSeat, MotoHose, Northland Motorsports
JONNY WALKER - February 16, 2015
Jonny Walker collected his second extreme enduro victory in as many events on Sunday, following what the factory KTM rider described as ‘the hardest race I’ve ever done’. Overcoming strong competition and punishing weather conditions Jonny secured his first ever win at Hell’s Gate in impressive style…
Jonny, two races into the 2015 extreme enduro season and two wins. You must be pleased with the way your ‘outdoor’ season has started?
Jonny: “Absolutely. Getting a first win anywhere is always good, but to get the win at Hell’s Gate with the weather as bad as it was makes this extra special. More than usual it was a real team effort, I have to say a big thanks to Seb my mechanic and everyone else who helped during the weekend.”
Just how bad were the weather conditions?
Jonny: “They were horrendous. During the morning’s qualifying race they weren’t too bad I guess. It was just foggy with a little rain towards the end. There was some snow on the track, but it wasn’t anything too crazy. It was during the main race where things started to get interesting.”
By interesting you mean difficult, right?
Jonny: “Yeah, it was the toughest conditions I’ve ever raced in. There was water everywhere and a lot of snow. What made it so hard was the fact that the snow was so wet and heavy. There were so many tree branches hanging right where you needed to be riding. When you hit the branches you got a face full of cold, wet snow. At one point I had to stop to remove the snow from the front of my helmet. Also, my hands were so cold. I could hardly feel my handlebars after the first hour.”
The water caused problems for many riders, did you have any problems?
Jonny: “I think everyone did. It was so easy to make a small mistake, like Graham did. He was so unlucky, I’m gutted for him because I know how much he loves racing at Hell’s Gate. With so much of the course covered in snow it was just difficult making the right line choices all the time. I just tried to be cautious a lot of the time, I guess it worked for me.”
Early on it looked like it might be a two-rider battle between Graham and yourself. What was going through your mind when you saw Graham’s bike drown?
Jonny: “I was just praying it wouldn't happen to me. Like I said it was just bad luck for Graham. I’m sure he’d have been tough to beat without his problem. I was following him at the time, at the start of the second lap, and looking forward to racing with him.”
Despite the difficult conditions you must be pleased with the way you rode?
Jonny: “Yes, I am. I knew that I was a lot fitter than in previous years. Although I’ve not really been doing any real extreme enduro riding I have been spending a lot of time on a bike. It takes a few years to really feel comfortable somewhere like Hell’s Gate, and this year I felt good. It was a bit of a crazy race with only 13 or 14 riders qualifying for the main event, and then with the weather things got even crazier. But it was a great feeling to win.”
Finally, it’s back to the SuperEnduro series this coming weekend…
Jonny: “Yes. If nothing else I’ll be a lot warmer racing indoors, compared to Hell’s Gate. It’s back-to-back SuperEnduro races in Mexico and Brazil, then back to the UK for The Tough One and onto the indoor enduro in Barcelona…”
Hell’s Gate 2015 - Overall results
1. Jonny Walker (KTM)
2. Mario Ramon (KTM)
3. Lars Enockl (KTM)
February 7, 2015 - Blizzard GP, Wareham, MA / April 19, 2015 - Southwick, MA / April 26, 2015 - Baldwinville, MA / May 17, 2015 - Wareham, MA / June 07, 2015 - Hoosick Falls, NY / June 21, 2015 - Huntington, MA / June 28, 2015 - Chester, NH
February 6-8, 2015 - Primm, NV / February 27 - March 1, 2015 - Peoria, AZ / March 27-29, 2015 - Lake Havasu City, AZ / April 17-19, 2015 - Hurricane, UT / May 22-24, 2015 - Cedar City, UT
BIG 6 SERIES:
February 28 to March 1, 2015 - Glen Helen, CA / March 28-29, 2015 - Twentynine Palms, CA / May 2-3, 2015 - Primm, NV
March 21, 2015 - Salt Lake City, UT / May 1, 2015 - Las Vegas, NV / May 30, 2015 - Phoenix, AZ
JONNY WALKER - JANUARY 2015
I can’t really complain about how 2015 has started. A race win and podium result at the second round of the SuperEnduro in Germany has now been backed up with a race win at the Alès Trêm extreme enduro in France. It’s all good!
After a bit of a sour end to 2014 due to my results at the opening round of the SuperEnduro championship I was more determined than ever to turn things around once the New Year began. With the GP of Germany coming literally a couple of days after January 1st, I kept my training and riding going right through the Christmas break. I wanted to come out swinging in Germany and get things on the right track.
I’m feeling good on the bike but in SuperEnduro that’s just not enough any more. With the races being so short and snappy you need everything to come together to succeed. Your riding needs to be on point, fitness up to scratch and you need to be in the hunt from the drop of the starting gate. And after all of that a little bit of luck can go a long way.
In the final race in Germany everything finally came together. My start was dialled in and I forced my way to the front of the field on lap one. Getting tucked in behind Taddy, I felt comfortable riding at his pace. I was able keep the pressure on and as soon as we came into some lapped riders one mistake from him was all it took to get into the lead.
Riding out those final few laps in the lead felt awesome and even better was crossing the finish line to win. That one victory makes such a difference to your confidence and I’m pleased to have got it at round two. After all the hours spent training, getting that win under my belt sort of confirms that I am doing everything right. Now it’s just a matter of repeating it in Finland, which is this weekend, and for the rest of the series.
Last weekend was also my first race outdoors. The Alès Trêm was a new race on the extreme enduro calendar. I don’t think I’ve ever raced an extreme event in France before so it was cool to do something new. Plus with Graham Jarvis, Andreas Lettenbichler and Wade Young also there it turned into a good shakedown ahead of next month’s Hell’s Gate in Italy.
The two-day format was pretty simple – an Endurocross race on Friday and then a three-lap race around the surrounding mountains on Saturday. The Prologue final was at night and it was pretty crazy to say the least. Thankfully I got the win and that gave me the top spot for Saturday.
I set off as hard as I could but with each lap over 60 kilometres long it was difficult to break away from both Graham and Letti who were chasing me down. At the end of lap one we were all sort of bunched up together and it stayed that way until the beginning of lap three.
I felt happy letting them set the pace and waited until Graham made a move. When he tried to make a break for it I went with him. We were both on the limit so it became a case of whoever didn’t mess up won – luckily it was me who won!
It’s a cool feeling to have some wins so soon into the year. Like I said, I’m feeling good on the bike and having a lot of fun each time I ride. The next couple of weeks will be hectic juggling SuperEnduro and extreme races – I’ve got about seven races in eight weeks. But I’m up for the challenge and ready to go.
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