Nathan Watson delivers the goods to claim a home win at round six of the World Enduro Super Series, the Hawkstone Park Cross-Country.
The Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider showed his class on the physically demanding Shropshire course to take victory over Germany’s Manuel Lettenbichler and Jonny Walker. Placing as runner-up in Great Britain, Lettenbichler extends his lead in this year’s race to become the ULTIMATE ENDURO WORLD CHAMPION.
With Saturday’s Sprint Enduro qualifiers done and dusted it was time to get down to business for the Original Fast Eddy Cross-Country race. Saturday’s glorious weather gave way to scattered showers, but it did little to dampen the race action. As riders blasted off the Hawkstone Park start line, it was Gas Gas’ Alex Snow who took the initial holeshot with Walker and the ensuring pack of riders close behind. There was immediate drama when both Watson and 2018 winner Josep Garcia were slow to start. Watson fared better than his teammate and was quickly mid pack, while Garcia had work to do after leaving the start in last position. By the end of lap one, Walker was in the lead but Watson was up to second with Lettenbichler, Taddy Blazusiak and Snow chasing.
Garcia was battling through the field and closing in on the top-10. A lap later and Watson was out front. Exiting the mid-distance fuel stop of the two-hour and 30-minute race, Watson had increased his advantage to over one-minute from Lettenbichler and Walker. Controlling the pace for the second half of the race, he rode on to take a memorable win with Lettenbichler and Walker rounding out the podium. Behind the top three, Blazusiak put in a strong charge in the closing stages to take fourth, with Garcia regrouping following his bad start to place fifth. Snow showed his pace for sixth, while Eurotek KTM’s Will Hoare impressed with seventh.
Cover pic: Carmen Mayr