The 2015 running of the ErzbergRodeo Red Bull Hare Scramble proved the toughest yet with Husqvarna Motorcycles’ Graham Jarvis and Alfredo joining Jonny Walker and Andreas Lettenbichler on the winner’s podium.
The 21st edition of the Hare Scramble was a fearsome one with conditions becoming so tough that it took a group effort from Jarvis, Gomez, Walker and Lettenbichler to reach the finish line.
After placing as runner-up in 2014, Bel-Ray Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Jarvis was eager to deliver a winning result this year. Securing his best ever position of 10th in the Iron Road Prologue, Jarvis claimed a front row start for Sunday’s main event.
A strong start saw him emerge from the early hill climbs in fourth before working his way up to second. Trailing pacesetter Jonny Walker by two minutes, Jarvis reduced that deficit in the notoriously difficult Carl’s Diner rock section. With Walker running into some problems, Jarvis then found himself with the race lead. But arriving first to Downtown it was soon clear that after 10 tries the section was impassable.
Initially teaming up with Alfredo it then became clearer that a group effort with Walker, Lettenbichler and also Wade Young was required to continue in the race. Needing more than one-hour to exit Downtown the quartet – Young was later disqualified – took the decision to ride to the finish line together where they were all declared winners.
Gomez’ race was looking extremely promising until that point. After a bad start where he needed numerous attempts at the first couple of quarry climbs, Gomez began to charge his way back to the sharp end of the field. Third at Carl’s Diner, he too passed the then stricken Walker to hold a provisional second entering Downtown. But with the race taking a drastic turn, his individual fight for victory ended with the group ride back to the finishing arena.
The Bel-Ray Husqvarna Factory Racing duo of Jarvis and Gomez now look forward to the Red Bull Romaniacs on July 14-18.
Graham Jarvis: “It’s been a bit of a strange Red Bull Hare Scramble. What can I say really – four winners. I finally got a decent start and was riding well. I knew Jonny would charge in the early sections so I didn’t panic, as I knew the race was going to be a hard one. He had a problem and when we got to Carl’s Diner the gap was two minutes. I could see him. I took another few seconds from him there and shortly after Carl’s Diner he had stopped to fix his radiator and I got into the lead. But then we arrived to this secret new section called Downtown. It was an impossible hill climb with virgin terrain. I tried 10 times to get up it but it was impossible. Alfredo arrived second and we talked about what to do, we decided to team up but ended up needing Jonny, Letti and Wade Young to get up the hill. For me the race ended there as we all rode together back to the finish. It’s an odd way to win a race but I’m happy to make it back to the finish in one piece.”
Alfredo Gomez: “Days don’t come much harder than this. It’s nice to win but of course I’d prefer to win on my own. Overall I can take away the fact that I was riding well despite some early mistakes. My start wasn’t great and I really had to play catch up because of it. I didn’t make it up the first climb and needed a second try. And the final quarry climb also took two goes so I lost a lot of time early on. I thought to myself I’ve got to push hard. Up until Carl’s Diner I was riding well and making the time back. As I dropped into it I could see Graham wasn’t too far ahead and when we exited it, I closed up a little bit more. Afterwards I saw Jonny stopped and I’m thinking I can win. But Downtown killed the race for me. Graham was there and there was no way up alone. We talked about what to do, so Graham, Jonny, Letti and myself all teamed up and got through it. After that we rode to the finish as four winners. I’m happy to win, pleased with how I rode, but disappointed with how the race changed at the end.”