The 2021/2022 FIM SuperEnduro World Championship season got off to a spectacular start in Łódź, Poland, with entertaining battles and unpredictable competition. For Enduro Team Hungary, Norbert Zsigovits fought for podium places in the Junior World Championship and Márk Szőke in the European Cup. The next round of the series to be held on the 5th of February 2022 at the Papp László Budapest Sports Arena.
After the classic EnduroGP races held in the open air, Enduro Team Hungary riders Norbert Zsigovits and Márk Szőke competed in Round 1 of the 2021/2022 FIM SuperEnduro World Championship season, which took place in Łódź, Poland last weekend. Norbert Zsigovits represented the team in the Junior World Championship and Márk Szőke in the European Cup.
Following the practices in the morning, both riders qualified successfully, Norbert Zsigovits, riding a KTM EXC 300, finished 6th in the first final race of the juniors, while Márk Szőke had a harder time, because his Sherco SE 300 Racing bike was damaged in qualifying, but he also won the right to participate in the Last Chance Qualifying, in front of a large crowd during the evening.
There were three finals for the juniors and two for the European Cup field, both of which featured a reverse grid start, testing the drivers on a challenging course and in a constant battle. In the Atlas Arena, the organisers set up a difficult course with rocky sections, logs, jumps and sharp turns, which even led to a section in the grandstand.
A shaky start for Norbert Zsigovits
Following his 6th place in qualifying, Norbert Zsigovits successfully completed the first final with a surprising result. There was a commotion on the rocky section of the track right after the start, but he kept his position, and then lap by lap he managed to improve his position, initially coming up to 4th place, then finishing the race in 2nd place.
In the second final, he started from 9th position on the second row due to the reversed grid, moved up to 6th position at the end of the first lap, maintained this position at the end of the second lap with 4 minutes to go, but later fell off the bike and was able to continue in 13th position, before moving up to 10th position in the remaining two laps.
He started from 6th again in the third final and was 8th at the end of the first lap after losing time in a field that was congested on the rocky obstacle. In the following laps, he regained and maintained 6th place, finishing the round in Poland in 6th place overall.
“In the first practice session it became clear that I needed to be more aggressive on the stones, but I was able to do that in qualifying and went straight into the evening finals. In the first race I was getting ahead, the others were making mistakes but I was setting identical lap times on a regular basis. I was very happy with the race; I was surprised to finish in 2nd place.”
“I was a bit impatient in the second race, this way I ended up 10th, then I tried to regain my form during the 20-30 minutes rest. I could ride quite well again; I was expecting 6th place and that was the overall result. I’m very satisfied: my performance was beyond my expectations in the first race, the second was less successful but overall, we achieved our goal. For the Budapest round I would like to prepare even better and then there may be a chance to reach the podium,” said Norbert Zsigovits.
Márk Szőke aimed for the podium in his first full SuperEnduro race
In the European Cup, Márk Szőke took advantage of the race format and turned some of his early issues into an advantage for the finals. Due to a technical problem in Qualifying, he started from 13th place in the first final but managed to move up to 9th by the chequered flag so he could start the second race from the front thanks to the reverse grid rule.
The #33 rider came off the line well, leading the first lap confidently, avoiding two dangerous situations on both the logs and the rocky section. He was overtaken on the second lap by Sonny Goggia, but still managed to hold on to 2nd place. On the third lap, Aurelien Addesso caught up with him, but he was still on the podium.
Márk Szőke didn’t give up, he chased his opponent, who was slower through the logs, but in the last lap, 200 meters before the finish, he got into trouble himself, lost a lot of time and finished in 5th place in the second final, which meant 6th place overall.
“I was happy with the result in the first race and in the second I came away from the start in 1st place. I held on to 2nd or 3rd place but unfortunately, I didn’t give enough gas on a log with 200 metres to go and conceded 3rd place. I am very sorry, but I would have accepted these results before the race, because this was the first SuperEnduro race of my life. It is a great experience to be part of such a show in front of thousands of fans.”
“It was a very difficult track because there were big logs and stones on it, but I didn’t crash during the race. This is huge because I competed in my first SuperEnduro a year and a half ago and then I didn’t manage to qualify. I did a test track in Gyál and I would like to improve on that because overall my pace was not bad. I would like to be more consistent in the Hungarian race, I hope that more Hungarian fans will come and cheer for us,” said Márk Szőke.
Next stop: Budapest
The SuperEnduro field, featuring the stars of the Prestige category, such as Cody Webb, Colton Haaker, Jonny Walker, last year’s world champion Billy Bolt, six-time world champion Taddy Błażusiak, will next take to the track at the Papp László Budapest Sports Arena on the 5th of February 2022. As in 2019 and 2020, the audience will be treated with exciting races and a real show with a variety of spectacular elements, including dancers, pyrotechnics, jugglers, motorbike shows and other acts.
The venue for the Budapest round will be designed by Kornél Németh, the most successful Hungarian rider in the history of the sport, and will be built in two days using 60 truckloads of earth and 2-3 truckloads of stone and wood. Tickets for what promises to be a memorable event went on sale at the beginning of December 2021 at endurogp.hu/en/super-enduro and on the Eventim network.