Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Manuel Lettenbichler has won the 2023 FIM Hard Enduro World Championship! Claiming a dominant victory at the Hixpania Hard Enduro in Spain, the KTM 300 EXC racer secured back-to-back world championship titles with one round to spare.
Unbeaten throughout the 2023 FIM Hard Enduro season so far, Mani made it five wins in a row with his victory at Hixpania to secure his second consecutive FIM Hard Enduro title. It’s been an incredible year for Mani – starting with a win at the Xross Hard Enduro in Serbia, the 25-year old went on to dominate at Red Bull Erzbergrodeo, Red Bull Romaniacs, and Red Bull Outliers.
With the event’s opening prologue at Hixpania running as a non-point paying show race only due to safety reasons, qualifying was then carried over to Saturday’s Campoo X-Treme race – a 40-kilometer cross-country that circled the town’s reservoir. Mani got off to a great start to take an early lead, but was caught and passed by closest championship rival, Billy Bolt. Ultimately settling for third place, Lettenbichler secured one championship point and a strong start position for Sunday’s Hixpania Hard Enduro ‘Lost Roads’ main race.
Starting in a cave, Sunday’s main race promised to be even tougher than expected due do the recent rain and fog. Lettenbichler emerged in second place and immediately set about chasing down the early leader. As the course led the riders into the hills, Mani moved to the front and didn’t look back. From there, the KTM 300 EXC rider delivered a masterclass in hard enduro riding, steadily increasing his advantage over the rest of the field and commanding the race from the front.
Battling his way up the final climb towards the checkered flag, Mani secured the Hixpania Hard Enduro win and with it, the 2023 FIM Hard Enduro crown.
With the title decided, Lettenbichler has one final round of the series to face – GetzenRodeo in early November. You can be sure the young German will be aiming to complete his perfect season with victory on home soil.
Manuel Lettenbichler: “Here I am now, fifth race win in a row for this season and world champion. I had to push so hard today. I got a good start and was able to pass Billy almost straight away and from there I just focused and kept up a good rhythm. Honestly, the day could not have gone any better for me, the race was awesome. What can I say? I’m just speechless.”
FMF KTM Factory Racing’s Trystan Hart put in an outstanding ride on Sunday’s main race to secure fifth place. A small mistake on Saturday’s Campoo X-Treme, resulted in the Canadian being awarded a penalty, which dropped him down to 20th in qualifying. Despite starting over two minutes behind the front runners, Trystan mastered the rocky terrain and hillclimbs to fight his way through the field and ultimately secure a top-five result. With just the final round remaining in the 2023 FIM Hard Enduro World Championship, Hart lies third overall and will be giving his all as always at GetzenRodeo next month.
Trystan Hart: “Yeah, I started two and a half minutes back due to my penalty, and on this track, I had to fight through a lot of traffic. I was able to catch up to fifth and sixth on the second lap, so that was really good. But then I had a big crash trying to make a move and ended up bending my bars and breaking my starter button, so that knocked me back. I kept on pushing though and at the end, second to fifth were all in the final quarry together, so it was really, really close. Not quite the result I wanted but I’m super happy with my performance today.”
Results: 2023 Hixpania Hard Enduro
1. Manuel Lettenbichler (GER), KTM, 2:53:00,378
2. Mario Roman (ESP), Sherco, 2:59:20,688
3. Alfredo Gomez (ESP), GASGAS, 3:01:52,138
4. Billy Bolt (GBR), Husqvarna, 3:02:32,933
5. Trystan Hart (CAN), KTM, 3:03:01,418
Provisional standings - FIM Hard Enduro World Championship (after 5 of 6 rounds)
1. Manuel Lettenbichler (GER), KTM, 107 points (World Champion)
2. Billy Bolt (GBR), Husqvarna, 81 pts
3. Trystan Hart (CAN), KTM, 73 pts
4. Teodor Kabakchiev (BUL), KTM, 57 pts
5. Mario Roman (ESP), Sherco, 56 pts