Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Manuel Lettenbichler has finished third at round six of the 2021 FIM Hard Enduro World Championship, HERO Challenge in Poland. A high-paced, three-hour extreme cross-country race, Mani finished just 21 seconds behind runner-up Billy Bolt. In doing so he maintained his 100 per cent podium finishing record in the series to date.
In complete contrast to the highly technical terrain at round five of the FIM Hard Enduro World Championship, Red Bull TKO, HERO Challenge made riders work for their championship points in a very different way. High-speed, dry and dusty, and not overly technical, the three-hour main race proved to be extremely physical with just five-and-a-half minutes covering the top five riders.
Making the best possible start and claiming the all-important holeshot, Mani did his best to take control of the race. Even though the track itself wasn’t overly technical, as Mani expected the three hours of racing proved to be extremely demanding. Wade Young moved ahead of Mani and into the lead of the race following the first round of pit stops, with Mani spending much of the race in third, behind Young and Billy Bolt.
Increasing his pace and giving his all during the closing laps of the race, in recognizing that he was starting to make small mistakes, Mani opted not to take any risks and maintained his pace, and position, to the finish, claiming a hard-fought third.
Manuel Lettenbichler: “I was stoked to get the holeshot in the main race. I felt pretty strong until about the fifth lap, but then began to fade a little. It was so tiring. My race was good. Towards the end I managed to get a bit closer to Billy, so I made a push on. But by that stage when I tried to up my pace I started making mistakes and wasn’t able to get on his wheel to battle. The superenduro on Saturday night was such a cool night. The crowd was amazing and for sure it was one of the best prologues we’ve done. It’s been good to stay on the podium every round now and although I lost the points lead, there’s only one point in it, so it’s still all to play for.”
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing will return to FIM Hard Enduro World Championship action in three weeks’ time when the series heads to Spain on October 1-3 for Hixpania Hard Enduro.
Results: 2021 HERO Challenge, Main Race
1. Wade Young (RSA) Sherco 7 laps, 3:03:01
2. Billy Bolt (BGR) Husqvarna 7 laps, 3:06:48
3. Manuel Lettenbichler (GER) KTM 7 laps, 3:07:09
4. Dominik Olszowy (POL) KTM 7 laps, 3:08:01
5. Mario Roman (ESP) Sherco 7 laps, 3:08:31
FIM Hard Enduro World Championship standings (after 6 of 8 rounds)
1. Billy Bolt (GBR) Husqvarna 70pts
2. Manuel Lettenbichler (GER) KTM 69pts
3. Wade Young (RSA) Sherco 60pts
4. Mario Roman (ESP) Sherco 48pts
5. Jonny Walker (GBR) Beta 44pts
10. Dominik Olszowy (POL) KTM 21pts