2019 SuperEnduro Coverage: How Colton Haaker Won His 3rd SuperEnduro Title
For the third time in four years, American Colton Haaker stands as the FIM SuperEnduro World Champion. Battling through the five-race SuperEnduro series against KTM-mounted rivals Taddy Blazusiak and defending 2018 SuperEnduro Champion Cody Webb, Haaker took his Husqvarna back to the top. The road this year to the title was a strange one.
Points are scored in two ways in the SuperEnduro. The winner of SuperPole gets three championship points, with the runner-up awarded two points, and the P3 rider receives a single point. There are there Prestige Races at each round, all scoring championship points—20 points for P1, 17 for P2, 15 for P3 and so on. There is an overall winner crowned, but no points are associated with an overall win. Like MXGP and AMA National Motocross, each moto, or Prestige Race in SuperEnduro, awards championship points. A perfect night would be worth 63 points—three for Superpole and 20 points from each of the three Prestige Races.
Round 1: Kraków, Poland
Coming in after winning the 2019 AMA EnduroCross Championship, Haaker got off to a decent start at the Tauron Arena Kraków. Although he didn’t win any of the three Prestige Races, Haaker’s 3-2-3 podium finishes and two points in SuperPole were enough to get him out of Poland with 49 points, just three points behind Webb (2-3-2) and five points back of popular hometown winner Blazusiak (1-1-4). A surprise Prestige Race winner was Haaker’s teammate Alfredo Gomez, who won the final Prestige Race of the night after a Haaker crash dropped Haaker back to P3.
Round 2: Riesa, Germany
The Sachsen Arena in the German state of Saxony was not kind to Haaker, who fell further back in the race for the 2019 SuperEnduro Championship. “There were a couple of sections on the track that I wasn’t strong enough in,” Haaker observed, “and no matter how I changed things up, it didn’t click. I had position in race three but didn’t manage to push for the race win.”
Repeating his all-podium finishes, going 3-2-2 lost Haaker ground to winner Webb (1-1-3) and runner-up Blazusiak (2-3-1). Webb’s two wins put him at the top of the standings with 109 points, two points ahead of Blazusiak and Webb eight points clear of Haaker. Haaker did help his cause by winning SuperPole and taking three points for his efforts.
Round 3: Madrid, Spain
Fate stepped in in a big way at La Caja Mágica in Madrid—The Magic box, indeed. The evening started normal enough with Haaker winning SuperPole, along with Prestige Race 1 (20 points for victory), with Webb and Blazusiak well behind. It was Haaker’s first Prestige Race win of the year in seven attempts.
The fireworks started in Prestige Race 2. Cody Webb ran off to an easy win, as Haaker and Blazusiak were caught up in a first-turn pile-up. After a long race battle, Haaker was in P2, hounded by early leader Pol Torres. Haaker leads coming out of the final turn, but makes an error in the rocks, handing P2 to Torres.
A charging Blazusiak gets bar-to-bar with Haaker as they make a desperate leap for the finish line. An in-air- collision sends Haaker through the timing beam for P2, while Blazusiak ricochets off the track. By the time Blazusiak can remount and get through the gate, he is in a disastrous P12 and injured.
In Prestige Race 3, Haaker repeated his holeshot-to-victory method used in Prestige Race 1. Behind him, Webb’s title run was dealt a blow when a chain issue forced Webb from the competition, scoring zero points for the race. Meanwhile, Blazusiak planted his foot wrong in the rock section and twisted his knee. He was able to hobble to the finish in P12, and with two P12 finishes on the night, Blazusiak’s 2019 SuperEnduro title run was effectively over.
Haaker took over the 2019 SuperEnduro Championship Series lead at La Caja Mágica with his 1-3-1 night. Coming into the night six points behind Blazusiak and eight back of Webb, Haaker left with it switched dramatically. Now with 159 championship points, Haaker was 13 points ahead of Webb with Blazusiak 31 points adrift with two rounds (three SuperPoles and six Prestige Races) to go.
Round 4 – Budapest, Hungry
It was off to Central Europe, with the three protagonists ready to go at Budapest Arena in Hungary. Blazusiak was looking for redemption, and he got it. Blazusiak went 2-2-1 to take the overall, though it was only enough to claw back four points of his 31-points deficit to leader Haaker. Webb took second overall with a 1-3-3 night.
Thanks to Webb’s SuperPole three points—Haaker scored no Superpole points—Webb picked up a single point on Haaker in Budapest, as Haaker went 3-1-2. To retain his SuperEnduro title, Webb was going to have to make up 12 points at the final round—a big ask when few riders outside of the leading trio make it onto the podium, but doable.
Round 5 – Bilbao, Spain
Located at the Bilbao Exhibition Centre, the Bizkaia Arena hosts the final round of the 2019 Maxxis FIM SuperEnduro World Championship Series. Webb threw down the gauntlet by winning Superpole, with Haaker taking P2. That cut Haaker’s lead to 11 points going into the three Prestige Race encounters.
Webb continued to pile on the pressure by winning Prestige Race 1. Blazusiak helped his KTM teammate by getting between Webb and Haaker, as Haaker struggled to finish nearly 40 seconds behind Webb. Webb picked up five points on Haaker, cutting Haaker’s lead to just six points with two Prestige Races remaining.
Haaker responded with a win in Prestige Race 2, as Webb fought traffic and a few errors. Upping his lead to nine points going into the last race of the year, Haaker could be excused for going into a defensive mode for Prestige Race 3. After a good start, Haaker suffered arm pump in Prestige Race 3, and stalled his Husqvarna several times. He toughed it out for P3, which was all he needed to clinch the 2019 Maxxis SuperEnduro World Championship. Webb did what he needed to do by winning, and Blazusiak again helped Webb by pushing Haaker back a spot.
Still, at the final tally, Haaker’s 263 points on the season put him four points ahead of Webb, with Blazusiak 25 points behind Webb. Taking P4 for the year was Pol Tarrés, who managed one podium finish, with 155 points. Ten points behind Tarrés was Gomez, who had a Prestige Race win in Poland, missed Germany with an elbow injury, and scored another podium in Madrid.
“I’m a little bit lost for words right now,” Haaker said after clinching the Prestige Race. “It’s been an eventful night but to end it as the world champion is an incredible feeling. I can’t thank the guys at Husqvarna enough for the support they’ve given me, not just tonight but throughout the entire series. This title is very much a team effort as it is mine.”
Having lost the SuperEnduro Championship after a mechanical DNF in Madrid, Webb had to grapple with the result. “I’m happy because I did my best,” Webb said after the last race, “won that third final and believe the championship should have been mine. It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but I’ll learn from it, and come back even stronger next time.”
In addition to three SuperEnduro World Championships, Haaker also has won the AMA EnduroCross Championship twice (2016 and 2018).
Photography by Future7Media
2019 Maxxis FIM SuperEnduro World Championship Final Standings
- Colton Haaker (USA/Husqvarna), 263 points (4 Prestige Race wins)
- Cody Webb (USA/KTM), 259 (6 wins)
- Taddy Blazusiak (Poland/KTM), 234 (4 wins)
- Pol Tarrés (Spain/Husqvarna),155
- Alfredo Gomez (Spain/Husqvarna), 145 (1 win)
- Diogo Vieira (Portugal/Yamaha), 124
- Blake Gutzeit (South Africa/Husqvarna), 122
- Kevin Gallas (Germany/Husqvarna), 118
- Xavi Leon Sole (Spain/Husqvarna), 100
- David Leonov (Russia/Husqvarna), 74