The toughest World Xtreme Enduro race of them all, the Erzbergrodeo in Austria, celebrated its 20th anniversary in style this weekend as Britain’s Jonny Walker charged to victory in Sunday’s Red Bull Hare Scramble.
Just 31 out of the 500 riders who started the race made it to the finish line within the four-hour time limit.
The four-day festival of two-wheeled action that is the Erzbergrodeo came to a spectacular conclusion on Sunday with the fastest 500 out of the 1500 competitors invited to take part in the Red Bull Hare Scramble.
Event organiser Karl Katoch and motocross legend Heinz Kinigadner sent the riders on their way onto a course packed with energy-sapping climbs and hair-raising descents. Local hero Seppi Fally conquered the mud and water of the first section to take a surprising lead. Yet the Austrian’s joy was short lived as he fell and was overtaken by Britain’s Jonny Walker.
Joining Walker this year on the start line were a host of other top riders from the UK, including last year’s winner Graham Jarvis as well as David Knight and Ben Hemingway. Yet it was Germany’s Andreas Lettenbichler, second behind Jarvis in 2013, who managed to stay the closest to Walker as the elite field passed some of the trickiest sections of the course bearing colourful names such as Carl’s Dinner and Dynamite.
Despite a late push from his compatriot Jarvis that saw him overtake Lettenbichler to claim second place, it was Walker who crossed the line first in a record time of 98 minutes. “I got a good start and didn’t make a single mistake throughout the race. I trained a lot and prepared very carefully for the Red Bull Hare Scramble. I would like to thank my KTM team – the bike was perfect. What a fantastic day. I am over the moon,” said the 25-year-old in the finish area.
Although unable to repeat his 2013 victory, Jarvis was pleased with second spot: “My start was poor and I ended up getting bogged down in traffic. On some sections it is impossible to overtake. Finally I was able to get going and start chasing down the leaders. All in all I am really happy with second place.”
Results: 1. Jonny Walker (UK) 01:37:38, 2. Graham Jarvis (UK) 01:50:50, 3. Andreas Lettenbichler (GER) 01:53:01, 4. Alfredo Gómez (ESP) 01:53:53, 5. Paul Bolton (UK) 01:55:21