Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing rider Graham Jarvis has claimed victory at the 2017 Hixpania Hard Enduro in northern Spain. Putting in one of his season’s best rides, Graham’s teammate Billy Bolt finished fourth overall.
For the second edition of the Hixpania Hard Enduro, the racing was staged over three days. Friday saw competitors battle it out on a SuperEnduro-styled course in the town square of Aguilar de Campoo. Saturday delivered a 48-kilometre enduro loop around the nearby lake to be ridden three times.
Sunday’s main event was a short 15-minute extreme loop, raced over a two-hour 30-minute duration. With points allocated per race, an overall classification of the three days determined this year’s Hixpania champion.
Getting his event off to a slow start, Jarvis placed an unusual seventh in the Friday prologue. Picking up things to end up fourth on Saturday, Graham knew only victory on the third and final day would help his chances of winning this year’s Hixpania Hard Enduro.
Last away in the Le Mans style start, he steadily began to pick riders off as the race progressed. By mid-distance he had climbed up to fourth and was beginning to find his pace. With two laps to go, Jarvis launched his attack for victory and managed to break away. With an impossible climb delivering the final sting in the tail for the race, he was the first to reach the top. In doing so he also took the overall event win.
For Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Billy Bolt, the Hixpania Hard Enduro marked his final outdoor race of 2017 and arguably his best performance of the season. Fast from the off, 19-year-old Bolt battled hard in the Friday night prologue for victory. Challenging eventual winner Jonny Walker all the way, only a very small crash at the end cost him a shot at winning. Billy eventually slipped back to third in the prologue.
Riding strong during Saturday’s race, Bolt enjoyed his fair share of the lead in the opening lap. A rear moose issue on lap two dropped him back, but fixing the issue at the service point, he regrouped strongly to claim fifth.
For Sunday’s main event, Bolt took the holeshot and led lap one. Racing hard with Alfredo Gomez during the first hour and then also Jonny Walker during the latter half of the race, Bolt held his nerve on the final climb to take second on the day and secure a strong fourth overall.
Graham Jarvis: “I honestly wasn’t expecting to win this one today. Coming into the final race, Sunday’s extreme race, I was about fourth overall in the points classification and so thought the overall win was out of reach. My plan was to just fight for the win in this race and see what happened. I was actually the last rider to reach my bike at the start and so was last away. I picked off a few riders quickly enough and to be honest it helped not leading. I could read the tracks the guys had made and managed to avoid some of their mistakes with line choices. The top four riders bunched up at about the halfway point and then with about two laps to go I got into the lead and pushed on. The final hillclimb was pretty much impossible. But luckily I got there first and was roped up. I just had to watch and see what would unfold next. Jonny Walker had a crash and dropped to fourth. We tied on points but my win was enough for victory. I’m really happy with that because Hixpania was one of the few hard enduro races I’d yet to win.”
Billy Bolt: “I’ve really enjoyed racing here at Hixpania for the first time. I would have loved to sign off on my 2017 hard enduro season with a podium result but fourth is good and I feel like I put in my best ride of the year. Friday’s prologue was a lot of fun. It was a short superenduro course in the town square. I battled all race with Jonny. Initially I finished second but then there was some confusion with the results and I dropped to third. Saturday was a bit up and down. I ran into moose trouble on lap two of three and slipped way back. But once we fixed the problem I clawed my way back to fifth. For Sunday’s extreme race, I got the holeshot and led on lap one. Alfredo was pushing hard but I was able to run his pace. We swapped positions plenty of times and in the final hour there were four of us fighting for the win. On the final climb I managed to get up to where we needed to be roped up in second place. But things got a bit hectic and ropes got tangled. I nearly lost my position but managed to drag my way across the finish line to place second in the race behind Graham.”
Results — Hixpania Hard Enduro 2017
1. Graham Jarvis (Husqvarna)
2. Jonny Walker (KTM)
3. Alfredo Gomez (KTM)
4. Billy Bolt (Husqvarna)
5. Mario Roman (Sherco)