The offseason is over! We had our first race of the season on March 7th in Palatka, FL. It was at a better location this year, mostly sand rollers instead of mud bogs. I had a terrible start, but had worked my way up to second by the end of the first lap and felt good. I ran there for another lap before getting stuck in a mud hole and losing a few spots. I had passed all the way back into third and all over second when I had one of the scariest crashes of my career, swapping into a row of pines! Fortunately, I was bruised but not broken, and I was able to get up and continue.
Half way through that second lap I had hit a mud hole and was stuck for about 40 seconds, letting a few guys by me. I got out and took off after them, only to get stuck again, and this time worse. There were four guys pulling on my bike and it still took me 10 minutes to get out. A real bummer after a solid start to the race. I ended up 10th, not happy with the result but I know I had some speed out there, and that’s encouraging. If I can limit the mistakes I’ll be right up there fighting for wins! I feel really confident in my bike, and that’s all thanks to you guys as my sponsors.
KTM’s Jonny Walker has claimed his debut win in the FIM SuperEnduro World Championship, securing overall victory at the final round of the 2015 series in Cahors, France
Ending his participation in the 2015 championship on a high, Walker delivered what was comfortably his best result of the series to take the top step of the podium.
With an overall victory having eluded him prior to the French event, Jonny was determined to produce a winning performance in France. From the word go, Walker looked smooth, fast and dialled in to what was an extremely tight, technical and unforgiving course.
Hot out of the traps in race one, Walker gave chase to race leader Cody Webb but one small mistake cost him a chance at taking the win. Eager put things right, Walker incredibly carved his way from the back to the front of the field during the reversed start order of race two. Once out front, he set the pace to take the win.
In the driving seat to secure the overall win heading into the third and final race, Walker made no mistakes and again delivered a solid race. Knowing exactly what he needed to do, the KTM rider again quickly fought his way to the front of the field. Leading the majority of the race to take the win Jonny secured his very first overall SuperEnduro victory.
After his misfortune at the previous round in Brazil, where a track side banner became wedged in his rear wheel, Walker’s strong results in France elevated him to third overall in the final championship standings.
Jonny Walker: “I’ve been chipping away at getting an overall win for a while and now finally it’s happened it feels great. In Brazil I was so close but then it all fell apart in the final race. Here in France I felt good on the track from practice. It was tight and tough but it seemed to work for me and I just got on with things. I had a good race one but a silly mistake held me back. Then in race two I got to the front and took the win. I knew the overall was on the line leading into the final race and this time around I made sure I didn’t do anything stupid. Once I got in front I rode smart to get my first SuperEnduro overall win. It’s been an eventful season. I’m happy to have salvaged third in the championship and can now look forward to focusing on extreme enduro for the rest of the year.”
Results – FIM SuperEnduro World Championship, Round 6
1. Jonny Walker (KTM) 59pts;
2. Cody Webb (KTM) 55;
3. Taddy Blazusiak (KTM) 48;
Championship Standings - FIM SuperEnduro World Championship
1. Taddy Blazusiak (KTM) 320pts;
2. Cody Webb (KTM) 282;
3. Jonny Walker (KTM) 277;
Jonny Walker has continued his winning ways in 2015, claiming victory at The Tough One extreme enduro. Topping the event for the first time ever having lead from start-to-finish, Walker is now two-for-two having also topped Hell’s Gate three weeks earlier...
Jonny: “I’m really pleased with this result. Graham [Jarvis] is a hard guy to beat, but I really wanted to keep things rolling on from my Hell’s Gate win. Conditions were night and day different to that race, but this win wasn’t easy. My plan was to try and get a good start, which I was able to do. After that I just managed my lead. It’s great to finally be able to get a Tough One win.”
A lot of riders suffered with arm pump in the early laps, but you seemed to be able to push hard from the start...
Jonny: “It’s always hard going from cold to full-speed straight away. But I guess the run to my bike warmed me up. Maybe also racing the SuperEnduro events helped, as there’s not much warm-up with indoor races. Like I said I just tried to not make mistakes, which having got a good start was a little easier to do. I felt pretty good from the start.”
You lost a little time mid-race, why was that?
Jonny: “I didn’t read my pit board properly. I thought it said last lap, which thinking about it there’s no way it could have been, and I slowed down a little. The board said something like ‘1 lap till final hour’. It wasn’t too much of a problem as I still had a good lead. I managed that gap and stayed out of trouble during the final hour so everything was fine.”
What was the track like this year, did you prefer the drier conditions?
Jonny: “I was ready for whatever the conditions were going to be really. It was much nicer than the cold and snow we had at Hell’s Gate, but not what everyone’s used to at Nantmawr Quarry. When things are drier it makes some of the climbs and the rocks a little easier, but it was still tough. It was still easy to make a small mistake and for that become a bad lap. I was pleased that I only made one mistakes.”
You were also in action in the Barcelona Indoor Enduro, how was that?
Jonny: “It was great. Not the result I'd hoped for finishing fifth but a really enjoyable event. It was good to get back on my 250cc four-stroke ahead of this weekend’s SuperEnduro final round. That’s going to be an important race for me after my issues in Brazil. I’ve got some work to do...”
Results – Tough One 2015
1. Jonny Walker (KTM) 13 laps 2:31.12; 2. Graham Jarvis (Husqvarna) 13 laps 2:33.28; 3. Alfredo Gomez (Husqvarna) 2:43.00...
Results – Barcelona Indoor Enduro
1. Taddy Blazusiak (KTM) 49 points; 2. Alfredo Gomez (Husqvarna) 45; 3. Mathias Bellino (Husqvarna) 44; 5. Jonny Walker (KTM) 35...
Jonny Walker Blog – Feb 2015
Life has just been one big crazy ride for the past few weeks. From racetracks, to hotel rooms, airports and rental cars, I’ve been constantly on the move. And from ice, snow and blizzards in Italy to high humidity in South America, the weather has been every bit as extreme as the riding in recent weeks. Lows, highs and quite literally some sh!tty times have all been part of my life on the road.
The highlight for this month was Hell’s Gate, Italy. It was a race I wanted to win badly but one I didn’t expect to. I’ll put my hands up and say Hell’s Gate is a place I don’t enjoy one little bit. It’s quite literally hell on a bike for 10 hours. And it’s a place that Graham Jarvis loves – he’s won it four years in a row.
But coming into the race I felt good. My riding was good, my bike ace and generally my mindset was in a good place. I think now it was because I’m in the middle of an eight-weekend race spree so I didn’t have time to let it consume my thoughts. I simply took it as ‘just another race’ and it went better than I could have hoped.
The weather was terrible. I’ve never seen anything like it. It seemed like the world was going to end. It was biblical. Torrential rain turned to wet, heavy, slushy snow. I knew finishing was going to be a matter of survival – it would be a fight to the finish and not a bar-to-bar charge for victory.
Unfortunately Graham ran into serious problems starting lap two. He drowned his bike and despite getting going again it eventually took him out of the race. Although that put me in a perfect position I couldn’t relax one bit. So easily I could have been next. I kept pushing and pushing to finish and thankfully everything worked out fine.
Winning Hell’s Gate was a massive team effort. I just rode the bike but Seb my mechanic stood for hours in the rain and snow watching my back and making sure everything was perfect. I couldn’t have done it without him. But there was no time to celebrate, as it was straight on to Mexico and Brazil for SuperEnduro.
It was a fortnight of mixed emotions and a battle against food poisoning. Mexico went well. I made some mistakes – silly ones – but still got onto the podium. Travelling between both events I became ill and at one point I thought Brazil would be a no show. I couldn’t go anywhere without a roll of toilet paper in my bag!
I perked up in time for the race and gave it my best shot. On a tough track I won the second race and had the points lead heading into the final moto. I was going for the win and just when I thought I had the holeshot things came crashing down. I then got a trackside banner wrapped around my rear wheel and got disqualified for outside assistance. I was gutted.
But the show goes on…
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
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