Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Josep Garcia, Nathan Watson and Taddy Blazusiak will head to Sweden this weekend for the seventh round of the 2018 World Enduro Super Series – the Gotland Grand National.
Held on the small Swedish island of Gotland, the three-hour cross-country race will see over 3,000 riders take part in one of the world’s largest enduro events. The course, which is situated just south of Visby – a small medieval town on the east coast of the island – is 22 kilometres long and covers a wide range of terrain. Competitors will face rocky open areas, forest tracks and the deep, wet mud often associated with the race. Speed, endurance and a level-headed approach will be necessary to claim a top result.
With none of the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing riders having ridden the event before, the race poses a new challenge for all three. Josep Garcia, following his win at round six of the WESS at Hawkstone Park Cross-Country, lies third in the championship standings, just over 700 points behind the leader. The winner in Gotland will receive 1,000 points to add to their WESS tally and Garcia is aiming to come out on top.
Josep Garcia: “I am really looking forward to the Gotland Grand National, it’s an event I have wanted to do for a while. Everything went well at the last round at Hawkstone Park – I couldn’t have asked for a better result. Since then I have wrapped up the Spanish Enduro Championship with a win and now I’m fully focused on the two remaining WESS events. It’s definitely going to be another tough race, but I know my speed is good and I’m hoping for another podium.”
With the second half of the World Enduro Super Series suiting his style more favourably, strong performances have moved Nathan Watson up the championship standings to seventh. Following a fifth at Red Bull 111 Megawatt, Watson went on to place as runner-up at his home round in the UK. Although unsure of what to expect in Gotland, the young Brit is keen to take his KTM 350 EXC-F to the win and claim more valuable WESS points.
Nathan Watson: “I can’t wait to ride my first Gotland, it’s going to be an eye-opener, that’s for sure. I am confident the race will suit my style though and I’ll definitely go there and give it my best. The cross-country format is really good fun, and Hawkstone went well. If I can take a similar result in Sweden I will be happy, I just hope it’s not too muddy!”
Lying fifth in the standings, Taddy Blazusiak has recovered well from a challenging start to his World Enduro Super Series campaign. The multiple Endurocross and Superenduro champion has shown over the years he can adapt to many different styles of races and succeed. With only 335 points separating himself from third-placed Garcia, the Polish rider will be fully motivated for Gotland in the hope of moving further up the 2018 standings.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jonny Walker will not be competing at round seven due to the injuries sustained at Red Bull 111 Megawatt, Poland. The British rider hopes to be back racing as soon as possible.
The 2018 Gotland Grand National – round seven of the World Enduro Super Series – takes place in Gotland, Sweden on October 26-27.
World Enduro Super Series – 2018 Schedule
Rnd 1. Extreme XL Lagares (Portugal) May 11-13
Rnd 2. Erzbergrodeo (Austria) May 31-June 3
Rnd 3. Trèfle Lozérien AMV (France) June 8-10
Rnd 4. Red Bull Romaniacs (Romania) July 24-28
Rnd 5. Red Bull 111 Megawatt (Poland) September 8-9
Rnd 6. Hawkstone Park Cross-Country (England) September 22-23
Rnd 7. Gotland Grand National (Sweden) October 26-27
Rnd 8. Red Bull Knock Out (The Netherlands) November 10