The 2016 season has just ended! Before closing definitely the curtain on a season full of emotions and twists as never seen before, let's take a look back to the two last rounds of the Maxxis FIM SuperEnduro World Championship held in the Tipsport Arena in Prague and in the Bullring in Las Rozas! The spectators were witnessed to a crazy and indecisive final, ended with the unexpected coronation of Colton HAAKER (USA – Husqvarna) and also the title of German rider Manuel LETTENBICHLER (KTM) in Junior Class!
When Alain BLANCHARD (ABC Communication) and the FIM proposed to Fran RICO and "The 5 Elements” staff to substitute the cancelled GP of Italy and makes it a final in just two months of preparation, the team never hesitate! With passion and courage, and despite the lack of space in this Bullring in Las Rozas, these organizers managed to build a technical but also fast track where riders made a great show with the end we all were witnessed… At the end of the Grand Prix, Alain BLANCHARD and Christian DEJASSE (FIM) really wanted to greet the entire "The 5 Elements” team: "What they've done in only two months is unbelievable! It's a young and passionate team, they are taking any advices they can get and they really wanted to do well in every domains. They brilliantly achieved and have been rewarded with that crazy final!” We now really hope to see them again next season in the calendar with, this time, a lot more time to prepare the event…
"Rookie of the Year”
Who say Spanish Grand Prix, say automatically… strong Spanish participation! If we were waiting for Ivan CERVANTES (E – KTM) or Jonathan BARRAGAN (E – Gas Gas), refusing the invitation, they were admitting that the "level was too high for them now”! Lorenzo SANTOLINO (E – Sherco), Xavi LEON (E – Husqvarna) and the unknown Juan Jose BERNABEU (E – Sherco) came to help GOMEZ, ROMAN, SALSENCH and SEGURA. If SANTOLINO, already concentrate on the EnduroGP, had some difficulties (15/15/DNF), Xavi LEON shone with a good 8th rank (9/8/8) just like the riders from Alicante, BERNABEAU (14/14/11)! Hope it can give some ideas to them for the next season.
Last season, this trophy was played between Mario ROMAN (E – Husqvarna) and Paul BOLTON (GB – KTM) and it's finally the Brits who win it! In 2016, Joan Pau SEGURA (E – KTM) could clearly pretend to this award with a nice 12th rank in only three Grand Prix… Yes but, his rival for this honorific title was… Colton HAAKER (USA – Husqvarna)! So, tough to do much better than a World title to become "Rookie of the Year”!
The two last Grand Prix of the season offered an epic final to a Championship that was already pretty insane! And the Holeshot 100% were in the same way. In Czech Republic, the start offered a tricky first corner right in the sand section. And it's Taddy BLAZUSIAK (PL – KTM), back on track after his thumb injury, who was at his ease and wins the 300 USD while Manuel LETTENBICHLER and Luis OLIVEIRA (P – Yamaha) were unable to decide who's the winner in Junior. In Spain, the first corner was also pretty tough and that time, it's Taylor ROBERT (USA – KTM) who signs his third Holeshot 100% of the season while Manuel LETTENBICHLER makes it that time in Junior!
During the Czech Grand Prix, some Slovak riders made the trip to race in National class. Only one of them took the opportunity to fight with the best in the Junior Class: Dusan PAULEN (Beta). And the Beta rider (who's a model also in his life) proved his talent on the Czech track, showing that Eastern Europe rider could fight with the bests! He ended in 5th place ahead of riders like William HOARE (GB – Sherco), Mathias MARTINSEN (NOR – KTM) and also Benjamin HERRERA (CL – TM)!
USA vs Europe
It the Tipsport Arena has hosted for the first time a round of the Maxxis FIM SuperEnduro World Championship, it remains the official arena of the Sparta Prague Hockey Club. To remind it, Auerswald Manufacture made some hockey jerseys with Grading List riders name to simulate a USA/Europe match-up during the rider presentation… Each of the ten riders of the Grading List plus Wild Card Petr BARTOS (CZ – KTM) came on the track as a hockey player (jersey, helmet, Hockey stick)… Colton HAAKER then decided to defy Jonny WALKER (GB – KTM) and the entire European team. And it gave him luck as he came back only one point behind the Brit at the end of the evening…
Brilliant leader of the Prestige class since Argentina, the end of season of Jonny WALKER turned into a nightmare… While he arrived in Prague with an 11 points lead over WEBB and more than 20 points over HAAKER, the KTM rider broke his fibula during the practice. The mission became then much more difficult… And his evening wasn't easy with many crashes where he had to use his injured leg. But he came out of the Grand Prix still as a leader with only a point on HAAKER and 7 on WEBB. Much more tough mentally than the past years, WALKER didn't want to give up in Madrid to try to create the unbelievable! Trough gritted teeth; he grabbed a precious bonus point in the Super Pole Akrapovic. Unfortunately for him, the three Heats didn't well as good as the Super Pole (7/7/6). If the Brit lost certainly the title due to this injury, he showed a lot of courage and proved to everyone that he stepped up this season. For sure, he'll be one of the most serious rivals of HAAKER next season!
If Husqvarna rider Colton HAAKER has been titled World Champion, he couldn't avoid the coronation of KTM for the 9th season in a row as manufacturer World Champion. Indeed, with an impressive armada composed by Cody WEBB, Jonny WALKER, Taddy BLAZUSIAK, Taylor ROBERT and also Alfredo GOMEZ and Ty TREMAINE, KTM was clearly dominant this year and the others as Husqvarna (HAAKER, ROMAN) or Sherco (GIBERT, HUBNER) couldn't do anything… We hope that the French brand and the team of Andreas HOELZL will come stronger next season to beat the Austrian firm!