Courtesy of KTM Racing
Regarded as one of the toughest hard enduro courses on the calendar, the Portuguese race mixed urban city racing with slippery rocky mountain terrain over two days. Saturday’s schedule saw racing get underway with the spectacular prologue around Porto’s narrow cobbled streets, followed by a SuperEnduro style night race in Lagares. Sunday’s main event was a gruelling three-lap race in the mountains surrounding Lagares.
Making his debut appearance at Extreme XL Lagares, the race marked Walker’s focused return to hard enduro racing following his winter of SuperEnduro competition. Quickly settling into things, Walker claimed a strong second in the Porto prologue behind teammate Gomez before then finishing second to him in the night race.
After a steady start to Sunday’s main event, Walker then found his form on lap two. Picking up his pace and going on to improve by two positions, the KTM 300 EXC mounted rider secured the runner-up result.
Walker: “For my first time here I’m pleased with second. This weekend was all about getting some serious outdoor race miles under my belt and I feel like I did just that. This was probably about one of the hardest tracks to return to racing on — the rocks were just relentless. Alfredo and Wade started out really fast and on new terrain to me I wasn’t keen to go with them. Once I settled in I found my rhythm and just rode smart. It paid off and the result sort of came to me. Second is a good starting point and now I can build on this for Erzberg next month.”
Aiming for his hat trick of Extreme XL Lagares wins, Gomez unfortunately saw his win streak run out despite a terrific start to the event. A firm favourite for top honours on the Porto prologue, the KTM rider didn’t disappoint. Dominating both the qualification run and Pro final, Gomez was already looking tough to beat. Carrying that form into the night race, he then took the win.
Leading out the main event, Gomez spent the majority of the first two laps in a three-way battle for victory. But a small mistake on a technical, rocky riverbed saw him damage clutch perch. Forced to ride another 40 minutes before being able to pit for a quick repair, Gomez lost ground on the leaders. Regrouping well, he then charged his way back to third overall.
Gomez: “I’m a little disappointed not to win today, I really wanted to get a hat trick of wins here at Extreme XL Lagares. Everything started out really well. I won both qualification and the race in the Porto prologue. I flowed well with the track and made up some really good time. I carried that across into the night race and won too. I lead off the start of the main race but made a mistake and Wade passed me. I got back in front shortly afterwards but the fight was intense and we swapped positions a lot. Dropping down a waterfall section on lap two I crashed and damaged my clutch perch. I had to ride maybe 40 minutes before I could fix it, so to come back to third after that is something I can be happy with.”
Results — Extreme XL Lagares 2017
1. Wade Young (Sherco)
2. Jonny Walker (KTM)
3. Alfredo Gomez (KTM)
4. Pol Tarres (Beta)
5. Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM)