The Erzberg Rodeo, the world’s toughest Hard Enduro, drew to a close on Sunday with the notorious Red Bull Hare Scramble, the event that anchors the tiny Austrian town of Eisenerz in the hearts and minds of motorcycle enthusiasts all over the world.
This year event organizers not only laid down a torturous route up the mountain; the weather also delivered rain, snow, wind and standing water that reduced even the toughest of riders to near tears.
The Hare Scramble’s 500 starters lined up in rows at the bottom of the mountain in what was a lake of standing water so deep it reached near the top of their boots. Only 14 made it to the top inside the four-hour limit and each experienced almost every human emotion on the way up. To even finish the Red Bull Hare Scramble is a massive plus for any competitive rider.
Winner in 2013 was Graham Jarvis, the Husaberg veteran that has this year dominated other Hard Enduro events. A potential winner who was in the past three times disqualified for missing checkpoints, this was a popular victory for the UK rider. Andreas Lettenbichler, another veteran was second while young Spanish rider Alfredo Gomez took the third podium place.
KTM factory rider Jonny Walker, winner in 2012 was bitterly disappointed to finish one minute after Gomez in fourth place. The 22-year old was a pre-race favorite and secured a front row start but his bike was swamped with water in the chaos at the start. The time he lost certainly cost him a shot at the podium, given that he fought his way back to a stellar fourth at the finish. “If I had to describe my race in one word, I wouldn't be able to do it,” Walker said. “Last year every fine detail went my way but this year luck wasn’t on my side. I’m not satisfied with my fourth place and I will try again next year. Luckily the next the Red Bull Romaniacs is just around the corner and I’ll try to do better there.”
Other KTM riders who made it into the Honor Role of Hare Scramble finishers were Taichi Tanaka of Japan at seventh and KTM Enduro factory rider Ivan Cervantes, riding Erzberg for the first time at eighth. Both Tanaka and Cervantes said it had been the hardest race of their careers. Tanaka: “It was much hard than last year. I had a great fight with Dougie Lampkin in the forest and we were passing each other all the time. There was a new section on the mountain that was not possible without some help. Last year I didn’t need any assistance but this year Dougie and I helped each other, otherwise it would have been the end for me. Because of this I’m happy with my result.”
Cervantes also paid tribute to five-times winner and KTM teammate Taddy Blazusiak. “I have even more respect for him having won here five times, that’s practically unbelievable. I am satisfied that I finished, but not with my place. I should have been in the top five. I want to come back and try again if I can fit it into my race calendar. If I manage it then I want to be on the podium.”
Undoubtedly the unluckiest rider in this year’s event was Red Bull Hare Scramble pole sitter and local favorite Lars Enöckl. The Austrian and KTM test rider was brilliant in the prologue and as fastest qualifier had the prime position on the front row. His bike was so flooded with water in the start mayhem that it ended his race before it began.
This year the five-times winner Blazusiak was only present as a spectator. He said it was a new experience for him to be at Erzberg and not compete. “I injured by wrist at the Barcelona X-Games and I had a lot pain in training this week. It doesn’t make any sense to start at Erzberg if you’re not 100% fit. I’d rather wait to see if my race calendar allows me to start next year,” he said. Taddy now returns to the US for the next round of the US EnduroCross Championship in Sacramento”.
The Erzberg Rodeo draws riders from all over the world. Thousands try, few succeed and after this weekend, thousands more will have it down in their mental diaries as a must do during their racing careers. And while this year the weather showed itself with its nastiest side, the event still went off smoothly, certainly also a tribute to the man behind the competition, Austrian Karl Katoch and his team.
KTM Factory Racing Extreme Enduro Team Manager Alex Doringer paid tribute to the winner Jarvis and to the organizers. “The day before yesterday we had 20 cm of snow and today conditions were more extreme than any other in the 19 years of the event. It was a worthy victory for Graham Jarvis. He is a difficult man to beat in such unusual conditions.
This time luck was not on our side. Johnny Walker was a hot favorite to defend his title. He was briefly in the lead at the start but there was too much water in his engine, which was a big disappointment at the beginning of the race. He really showed his class by making up so much ground and it certainly cost him plenty of energy to fight back to fourth place. It was also a sensational result for Taichi Tanka who finished for the third time in a row and the greatest respect for Ivan Cervantes who finished eighth for time out."
1, Graham Jarvis, UK, Husaberg, 2:01.06
2, Andres Lettenbichler, Germany 2:19.46
3, Alfredo Gomez, Spain, 2:27.26
4, Jonny Walker, UK, KTM, 2:28.20
5, Ben Hemingway, UK 2:37.10
6, Dougie Lampkin, UK 2:56.18
7, Taichi Tanaka, Japan, KTM, 3:05.40
8, Ivan Cervantes, Spain, KTM, 3:07.2
9, A. van de Broek, Netherlands, KTM 2:41.59
10, Pierre Pallut, France, KTM 3:43.24
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Le Touquet Enduropale is, quite simply, one of the greatest spectacles in motorcycling. Run across the beaches of Touquet, Stella and Merlimont coastlines in northern France, around 1000 bikes and 800 quads take to the sandy shores for a race of epic mental and physical proportions. 250,000 devoted fans line the 17km long course as man and machine tear away from the start as one, the clacking soundtrack erupting amid a blur of sand, sweat, hopes and fears.
The brainchild of local press agent Thierry Sabine after witnessing first-hand the great mass enduros of America, a modest 286 riders took the start of the inaugural event in 1975. Three decades and five times as many riders later, it’s more comparable to a motorized marathon than a bike race as each rider jostles and weaves seeking a personal space amid the dunes to call their own.
Each race lasts just over three hours. The rider who reaches the first
corner of the opening lap first wins the “Holeshot” award. This
prestigious prize sees competitors go all out from the start with bikes
often hitting speeds of 100mph racing and jumping at close quarters on
the run down to the first turn.
- Class 1 – up to 250cc
- Class 2 – 251cc up to 1000cc
There are three classes of rider taking part: International (those with a full FIM race license), National (a French motorsport license holder), and Amateur (someone who fancies a challenge).
- Class 1 – up to 125cc 2 Stroke / up to 250cc 4 Stroke
- Class 2 – above 125cc 2 stroke / 250cc+ 4 Stroke
- Class 3 – above 250cc 2 Stroke / 450cc+ 4 Stroke
Frenchman Arnoud Demeester holds the Bike record for number of victories having triumphed seven times since 1995. Indeed, 2009 will see him bid to make it a hat-trick of wins in as many years.
Quad rider Paul Winrow is the only British competitor to have won either category in the event’s 34 year history after triumphing along with team mate Pascal Rochereau on board a Yamaha in 2001.
|The FIM International Six Days of Enduro 2010 will be held in Morelia, Michoacán – México. Morelia is a city and municipality located
in the north central part of the state of Michoacán in central Mexico. The city is located in the Guayangareo Valley and is the capital of the state.
The International Six Days Enduro (ISDE) is the oldest ‘off road’ motorcycle event on the FIM Calendar. The ISDE was first held in 1913 at Carlisle, England. It has occurred annually, apart from interruptions due to World War I and World War II, at various locations throughout the world. The early events were a true test of machine, rider skill and reliability. Held on the ‘roads’ of that era, today most of the routes are truly ‘off road’.
Originally titled the International Six Day Trial, since 1980 it has been called the ‘ISD Enduro’. Up until 1973 the contest was always held in Europe. In 1973 it traveled for its first overseas jaunt the United States. Since then it has been outside Europe more frequently: twice in Australia (1992 and 1998), once more in the USA (1994), Brazil (2003), New Zealand in 2006 and Chile in 2007.
The event has attracted national teams from as many as 32 different countries in recent years. Over its long history the rules and conditions have changed to keep in step with the developments in the sport, but it remains a supreme test of rider and machine. Over the six days and upwards of 1250 kilometers a rider must contend with strict rules about time allowances and restrictions on mechanical replacements, carrying out his or her own track-side repairs.
Usually referred to as the ‘Olympics of Motorcycling’ with trophies for best six-rider national, four-rider junior national, three-rider woman’s national, three-rider club and three-rider manufacturing teams.
Gold, silver and bronze medals are awarded on an individual level. The medals are typically awarded based on percentage of finishers, or relative to the best individual performance in the event within one of the three displacement classes. The 2006 ISDE was held at Lake Taupo, New Zealand. The event was won by Finland.