Enduro21 gets the paddock spy camera out at the 2024 FIM Hard Enduro World Championship round one, the Valleys Hard Enduro in Wales, to spot a new bike for Jonny Walker, what the Pros are doing with mousses, Mani’s no-premix KTM, Wade Young getting factory support and what’s this about a fuel injected Rieju model…

A slack time schedule across a three-day weekend at the Valleys Hard Enduro gave Enduro21 plenty of time to trawl the paddock, camera in hand, to spy Pro bike set-up details and get some juice from the factory riders and mechanics.

Why aren’t you running pre-mix Mani?

A big talking point when we took a closer look at Mani’s 2024 HEWC race bike was the lack of oil filler and therefore the fact he is running pre-mix fuel.

A quick chat with Lettenbichler and it was actually less exciting than you’d think. Some of the other factory riders (Billy Bolt, Michael Walkner) had been running and developing the TBI engine the previous year (’22), while Mani stayed on the TPI bike.

When the new bike came along for the 2023 season, Mani says it was already running the pre-mix set-up: “I never got to test the oil injection system so I can’t tell you the difference, honestly”, Mani says.


Scouting opinion and the main reason behind the factory bikes running the XC-style set-up is the saving in weight and nothing more complex. It runs “a little bit crisper” one source tells us but really it’s about having less parts on the bike.

Lettenbichler’s also allegedly running a factory special frame, a hybrid of the 2025 KTM (remember, all KTM models in theory run the same frame now) and a development of frame already on the 2025 KTM models but one which gives better feedback specific for extreme enduro. That makes it different to the frame which Josep Garcia will be running in EnduroGP (which is more likely a similar spec to a factory motocross one). Like normal, it wasn’t possible to get anything concrete out of anyone on this.

Jonny gets more spark – “I can pull higher gears”

Excited like the rest of us are when we get a new bike (which is good to see from someone as jaded as JW22 can be!), Jonny Walker has finally got an upgrade on his racehorse to the latest generation Beta RR 300, twin-spark, two-stroke.

It’s about time, he’s been riding the same 2023 Beta 300 RR two-stroke for two years in EnduroCross, SuperEnduro and selected outdoor races which had us scratching our heads a few times – is an EnduroCross title and runner-up to Billy in SuperEnduro twice not enough for Beta?

Finally Walker has a new bike out of them and he’s been spending time in the Italian manufacturer’s factory lately, “basically just turning up and hoping they will give me some time to work on the bike. We spent one day working on the engine, one day on everything else, and that was it”, Jonny explains.


The small Beta factory race department is a busy one and this is a busy part of the season where they are focused on Brad Freeman and Nathan Watson in EnduroGP, plus the TrialGP season which gets underway this week in Japan.

What’s it like then jumping on the new steed, now with a new, stiffer frame, clutch and the twin-spark 300cc two-stroke motor? “More power is the main thing, plus a different feeling to the chassis and the new clutch makes quite a difference.” Jonny tells us.

“There are two main things with the new motor: I can run it a bit richer and I can pull higher gears. I’m actually still trying to work that out though,” Jonny explains in the paddock, “I have only done a couple of days testing on it so far and I’m still trying to get it perfectly dialled because I can run a taller gear so I’m still figuring out what’s best.” He’s running 12 on the front and 51 on the rear if you’re asking.


Walker, like Graham Jarvis, says he’s not racing all the HEWC rounds again this year but will do Erzberg, this round in Wales plus “possibly Romaniacs”, also adds the new frame feels a bit stiffer and he’s enjoying the wider and taller seat design on the new bike which he says, “feels better when you’re riding, climbing hills seated and using your legs. And the clutch is lighter too,” he adds talking about the new diaphragm set-up on the Beta.

Wade Young getting to grips with the GASGAS – factory support for the big guy?

Since being told his services were no longer needed by Sherco at the start of 2024, Wade Young has had an enforced quick transition to a new machine.

Initially with help from a French dealer, hastily and helpfully so he could compete (and win) Ales Trem Hard Enduro, Young has been on the red Austrian machines ever since, preparing for this season.

It’s definitely a work in progress as Wade gets his set-up dialled on the fuel-injected Gasser with some key support from the likes of Two Stroke Performance but also a glimmer of factory support – note the tell-tale Farioli sticker on the head light.


Even though Wade was very much doing his own thing in Wales, that sticker is significant and shows the official KTM/HSQ/GG factory team is backing Wade.

We also noticed more than a passing interest from the KTM group personnel at the race, further pointing at support for Wade during the full HEWC season.

With no rider on the white bikes while Bolt recovers from his injuries, and Michael Walkner not competing in the full championship on the red bikes, it makes a lot of sense to support Wade, who has committed to the season on an EC 300 and has obvious pedigree.


Enduro21 caught up with Wade for a Pro Bike feature (coming soon), and clearly Young is running a list of private sponsors and parts rather than the usual factory-spec ones.

The TSP kit being non-factory for a starter but also the stock Braktec brakes, plus he was working hard on suspension set-up during the Valleys Hard Enduro weekend, albeit with some advice from Mani’s WP suspension guy.

Wondering why Wade’s elected to remove one bolt from the engine brace/mount? It raised a few eyebrows while we were taking some pictures but he said it was to have more feel and flex in the chassis, hinting at some of the differences between a GASGAS and a Sherco.

New fuel injected Rieju coming?

Yep, this is a good one. Rieju motorcycles are developing a new fuel injected two-stroke enduro bike.

Rumour has it the new model has a TBI (throttle body injection system) and a new frame which should silence all the critics who complain the existing bikes is “the old GasGas”.

In the meantime, here’s the first Alfredo Gomez Edition Rieju MR 300 we’ve seen in the flesh. The limited edition model is now available globally, we think (maybe not everywhere, don’t quote us), and this is the official Alfredo Gomez, Gomez edition – i.e. his own bike.

What’s different about Alfredo’s own bike? Not a lot at all, that replica is pretty much the real deal except notably he is running the SmartCarb instead of the Keihin stock carburettor.


Tyres and mousses – bicycle seat posts to drill holes in your mousse? Say what?

The subject of what tyres and mousses the top riders are using is a mysterious subject, shrouded in smoke and mirrors and, for some at least, a closely guarded secret.

Most riders have their own set-up preferences with some common golden rules: pretty standard enduro front mousse and tyre for stability and at the rear an extreme-type tyre compound (soft) and a 120-size rear mousse.

After that it gets a bit shady as people try to hide their secrets or, more likely, can’t put a precise finger on it because the reality is about feel and skill on the drills and cutting knives.

It was Jonny Walker who told us he uses a bicycle seat post adapted and filed to make a nice-sized drill hole for mousse cutting. Specialist tools exist but you can also use hole saw cutting tools with a drill attachment.

Yep, that’s right, they are drilling and cutting mousses to create a softer rear depending on conditions. The Valleys Hard Enduro being pretty dry and grippy meant not much drilling and tyres looked pretty hard, for hard enduro, on the start line.


For wetter, muddier conditions the mousse will be drilled out more and/or cut with a sharp blade. The mousse will expand in the tyre so the trick is to allow for that growth when you’re doing your cutting apparently.

The closely guarded secret is how they get to the sweet spot of a soft enough mousse and tyre set-up without straying either side of that.

Why not run a soft front? You don’t need it and you still want the stability for any faster sections of the track. Front tyre and mousse set-up therefore tends to be normal enduro, “pretty much like Josep Garcia would be running”, Billy Bolt’s mechanic turned YouTuber, Lee Edmondson, told us.

He also said up to this point in the pre-season he would have had five or six mates “bedding mousses in” for Billy, basically using them for a day’s riding and then giving them back.


How secure are the security bolts?

On the same theme, we also took a look at security bolts on different bikes around the Valleys Hard Enduro paddock and asked a few riders how many they use and why.

Three was most common but they can be four or sometimes five apparently when you are using a lot of power on big hill climbs in Romaniacs or Erzberg.

“Under load, tyres are slipping on the rim more than people think and one security bolt is definitely not enough.” The slipping means less precision o the connection between throttle hand and tyre and loss of grip basically, or loss of driving force, a bit like a cush drive on a street bike.

Billy Bolt – “getting there but not there yet”

Paddock Spy is normally a bike and tech feature but we’ll make an exception for Billy Bolt who was back in the Hard Enduro World Championship paddock but, sadly, not yet on a bike.

A quick chat and he tells us his knee is getting there but that he’s not ready to ride in competition just yet for fear of damaging the repaired ligaments.


“I can ride but only certain types of riding are ok, whereas some very specific kinds of riding would definitely not be ok yet.” He says.

Chiefly that being steep uphills and rocky climbs where you have to use your legs in a certain way to hold the bike or push on upwards, this sort of thing would be a real risk of damaging the repaired knee.

When will we see him back at the races? “I’m not sure, I’ve been following the specialists advice and doing lots of work with physios, at the APC (Red Bull Athlete Performance Centre) and so on to make sure we are in the right place before I get back at it.”

A bit of juice here is the possibility of Bill’s comeback being for the AMA EnduroCross season which his easier on the knee apparently. Rather than coming back for one or two rounds of the HEWC, doing EX and then gearing up for SuperEnduro ’25 “makes more sense”. Makes sense to us too, come on Husqvarna.



Photo Credit: Future7Media