Photo: The start is always the most spectacular moment of Red Bull Knock Out
Game, set and match, as Billy Bolt wins the 2018 World Enduro Super Series to become the inaugural champion at Red Bull Knock Out, while Nathan Watson wins the Dutch beach race.
After eight rounds of dramatic racing that covered hard enduro, classic enduro, cross-country racing, before finishing off with the infamous Red Bull Knock Out beach race, Billy Bolt clinched the first-ever World Enduro Super Series title ahead of season-long rival Manuel Lettenbichler.
Rising to the fore in the bottomless Dutch sand against 999 competitors, Nathan Watson stormed to victory in the race itself, and in doing so let up the WESS standings to join Bolt and Lettenbichler on the final championship podium.
"This is such a surreal moment for me," said newly crowned WESS champion Bolt. "I can't honestly believe I've won. We’ve fought so hard for the title all year, raced everywhere imaginable on a dirt bike, and now I'm champion. It's incredible, I'm beyond words right now."
With the sixth edition of Red Bull Knock Out marking the eighth and final stop in this year's WESS tour, over 1,000 competitors signed up to do battle on the shoreline in Scheveningen, Netherlands.
After taking victory in the morning qualifier, two-time race runner-up Watson was hungry to turn that performance into a winning result in the two hour final.
It was home favourite Glenn Coldenhoff who led from lap one, though. Setting a blisteringly fast pace, motocross world championship regular Coldenhoff initially appeared unchallenged, but then when the extreme X-Loop was added to the already punishing track for the final hour, Watson came to form. Taking the race lead, he pulled clear of Coldenhoff for a momentous victory. I
"I'm so happy to win Red Bull Knock Out, and end the WESS third overall," said a clearly elated Watson. "This is a race I've been looking forward to all year, and I came here to win. To get the job done is an amazing feeling, especially after finishing runner-up in the last two editions.
“I did put myself under a lot of pressure coming here – everyone had me down as the favourite – but anything can happen, especially in beach races. Glenn got away really fast at the beginning, but I knew if I held on, I should come strong at the end. To win and then jump up to third overall in the WESS championship is incredible, it's the icing on the cake for me."
Despite leading early on, Coldenhoff was disappointed not to take a home win. "I'm gutted to finish second, because I came here to win," admitted Coldenhoff. "I had the pace early on, but then the X-Loop was really tough, and Nathan made it count."
Glenn Coldenhoff peforming during the Red Bull Knock Out in Scheveningen, The Netherlands on Saturday 10 November, 2018.
Putting in a late race charge, Belgium's Yentel Martens completed the race's podium, ahead of Camile Chapeliere and Todd Kellet.