Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Manuel Lettenbichler has placed a close second at the 2021 Abestone Hard Enduro. Completing the ultra-tough two-lap Super Final in an incredible time of one-hour-and-45-minutes, just 41 seconds behind the winner, the German earns his first FIM Hard Enduro World Championship points of the season, and will go into the next round lying second in the series standings.

Held in the Tuscan mountains close to the town of Abetone, round three of the FIM Hard Enduro World Championship covered three days of racing, with Friday’s extreme test deciding the start order for Saturday’s qualification race. The top-50 fastest riders then went through to the all-important Super Final on Sunday, where Mani faced two laps of an intense 15-kilometer course to decide the event’s final results.

Posting the second-fastest time on both Friday’s extreme test and Saturday’s qualification race, Manuel Lettenbichler showed he was very much on form and hungry to take the battle for the win all the way to the checkered flag on Sunday.

As the second rider away into the Super Final, Lettenbichler immediately set about chasing down Billy Bolt ahead of him. For the entire race, the battle between the two young riders raged on, with both taking turns at the front. Moving into the lead on the second lap in the uphill rock section know as ‘Michele’s Minestrone’ Mani again tried to stretch out an advantage, only to lose it again heading back into the river. With the final downhill section a fast sprint to the finish, Lettenbichler crossed the line on his KTM 300 EXC TPI as runner-up, earning 20 valuable FIM Hard Enduro World Championship points.

Manuel Lettenbichler will be back in FIM Hard Enduro World Championship action at round three of the series – Red Bull Romaniacs – from July 27-31.

Manuel Lettenbichler: “I’m really disappointed not to have taken the win, for sure. But I’m happy with the race, and how I rode, and it’s a really good start to the season. I caught Billy quite early on, I could see him when I got to the river section and was able to catch him soon after that. From there we swapped places for most of the race, and then unfortunately, he got me back before the finish. We opened up a huge gap to the third-placed guy, which is really good. Sometimes on a race like this it’s difficult to gauge your pace, but Billy and I were definitely on a different level today. It should make for some exciting racing this year and it’s definitely going to be a battle, but I’m super happy with second and I’m already looking forward to Romaniacs.”

Results – FIM Hard Enduro World Championship, Round Three – Abestone Hard Enduro

1. Billy Bolt (GBR), Husqvarna, 1:44:36
2. Manuel Lettenbichler (GER), KTM, +41.686
3. Graham Jarvis (GBR), Husqvarna, +13:37.827
4. Jonny Walker (GBR), Beta, +14:35.019
5. Alfredo Gomez (ESP), Husqvarna, +15:03.058 

Standings – FIM Hard Enduro World Championship (after round three)

1. Billy Bolt (GBR), Husqvarna, 20 points
2. Manuel Lettenbichler (GER), KTM, 17 pts
3. Graham Jarvis (GBR), Husqvarna, 15 pts
4. Jonny Walker (GBR), Beta, 13 pts
5. Alfredo Gomez (ESP), Husqvarna, 11 pts