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WALKER FINISHES AS RUNNER-UP AT WORLD ENDURO SUPER SERIES OPENER

Red Bull KTM Factory Racingís Jonny Walker has started the 2018 World Enduro Super Series in impressive style, placing as runner-up in the main event at the opening round of the series Ė the Extreme XL Lagares event in Portugal Ė after leading for more than 80 percent of the race.

Kicking off the three-day event with a runner-up result in the opening Endurocross, Walker then topped the Porto city prologue following a flag-to-flag winning performance. The first rider to start Sundayís main event, Jonny put his head down and charged hard, opening up an almost six-minute lead at one stage.

Completing the opening lap in impressive style he held the advantage as he started lap two. Faced with not only the extremely challenging Portuguese terrain, Jonny soon found himself among the Hobby class riders that were finishing off their opening lap. As the first rider to reach the slower competitors, Jonnyís lead was significantly reduced as he worked his way passed the battle-weary competitors and towards the finish.

Caught by eventual winner Billy Bolt, Jonny dropped to the runner-up spot having lead the charge for more than three hours of grueling racing. Jonny sits second in the WESS championship standings.

Jonny Walker: ďItís been an incredible few days of racing in Portugal, and to make such a good start to WESS makes it even better. Second in the first dayís Endurocross, winning the Porto city prologue and then coming so close to winning the main XL Lagares event Ė itís been awesome. I always knew it was going to be challenging starting first in the main race, but I feel like I did the best I could to win from the front. I pushed hard during the first lap and opened up a good lead with no mistakes. Itís always tough when youíre riding in with slower riders, like on the second lap. Being the first rider to catch some of the hobby class competitors was definitely a disadvantage Ė I had to physically move one or two bikes in some of the more technical parts of the track, which obviously cost me time. But thatís how it can be, and like I said my riding was good so Iím pleased with that. The track was really cool Ė really hard in places, but a great mix of all kinds of obstacles. Iím where I need to be in terms of fitness and speed and my bikeís awesome, so Iím really looking forward to Erzberg now. Itís going to be game on there.Ē

Results ó World Enduro Super Series round 1, Extreme XL Lagares 1. Billy Bolt (GBR), Husqvarna, 3:43:56.11 2. Jonny Walker (GBR), KTM, 3:45:00.05 3. Manni Lettenbichler (GER), KTM, 3:52:07.80 4. Taddy Blazusiak (POL), KTM, 3:52:57.83 5. Graham Jarvis (GBR), Husqvarna, 3:57:21.54

World Enduro Super Series Standings (after 1 of 7 rounds) 1. Billy Bolt (GBR), Husqvarna, 1000 points 2. Jonny Walker (GBR), KTM, 850 pts 3. Manni Lettenbichler (GER), KTM, 770 pts 4. Taddy Blazusiak (POL), KTM, 690 pts 5. Graham Jarvis (GBR), Husqvarna, 610 pts