Trailbike star Billy Bolt has his sights set on world championship glory – despite a horrific injury which threatened to end his season.
The 22-year-old Tynesider, who is a Palletforce sporting brand ambassador, enjoyed a superb 2018, being crowned champion of the World Enduro Super Series after eight gruelling rounds against some of the best riders in the world.
But a crash on the eve of this year’s indoor championships left him with a badly broken left leg and facing the prospect of a season off the bike while he recovered.
Remarkably, Billy was back in the saddle after just five months – and despite only three weeks’ preparation, he was on the start line for the first round of this year’s World Championship in Portugal where he finished fifth.
A succession of top-10 finishes in the next four rounds – including fourth place in Spain – have left Billy in fifth place in the overall rankings with three rounds to go, and he is confident that a top-three podium place is within his reach.
“The injury was a blow because after my success last season I was really looking forward to defending my title,” he says. “That said, I’m still competitive and I’ve managed to get myself into a good position and if all goes well I’ll be looking at a podium and maybe even more by the end of the championship.”
Billy’s return to top-level biking with the Rockstar Husqvarna factory team is even more extraordinary considering he still has no movement in his left foot following the crash.
“It’s a result of nerve damage, and it’s meant I’ve had to adapt my riding style. Hopefully it will recover, but these things are always difficult to predict. It hasn’t affected my confidence, though, and I’m looking forward to the rest of the season.”
Palletforce has sponsored Billy since his early days as a budding trials rider and has been right behind him during his meteoric rise to the top of the sport.
Sales and marketing director Dave Holland says: “After the brilliant season he had in 2018, Billy has shown amazing fortitude to battle back from his injury and put himself in contention for the 2019 World Championship. He continues to be a superb brand ambassador for Palletforce on the world stage and we wish him continued success this season and beyond.”
The next round of the World Championship is at Hawkstone Park, Shropshire, in September and a good result could propel Billy into the top three overall.