Britain’s Billy Bolt leads the way as the World Enduro Super Series heads to Austria’s Erzbergrodeo and the Erzbergrodeo Red Bull Hare Scramble for round two.
With excitement running high following the opening round of WESS in Portugal earlier this month, the race to become this year’s ULTIMATE ENDURO CHAMPION continues at Enduro’s most famous race – the Erzbergrodeo Red Bull Hare Scramble. Led by championship leader Billy Bolt (Husqvarna), 1,500 competitors from over 40 nations will take to the start line in Eisenerz for four days of world class enduro racing at the Erzbergrodeo.
Starting on Thursday May 31 with the Mitas Rocket Ride, Europe’s largest open cast iron ore mine, known as the Iron Giant, ceases production for the dirt bike festival extravaganza. Tackling one of the quarry’s toughest climbs, competitors go bar-to-bar as they race to become the first rider to the top. On Friday and Saturday things get high-speed as riders blast their way up the Iron Giant’s maze of gravel roads in the Blakläder Iron Road Prolog. Acting as a qualifier for Sunday’s main event, only the fastest 500 will qualify through to the Erzbergrodeo Red Bull Hare Scramble.
On Sunday the racing gets serious as the fight to become the winner of the 24th edition of the race begins. Starting at 14.30CEST, the 500 qualified riders charge into action as they take on the world’s toughest single day Enduro. Faced with an incredibly demanding 35-kilometre long course, riders must clear 20 strategically placed checkpoints located around the Iron Giant and its surrounding mountainside. In their way are vertical climbs and descents, boulder gardens and treacherous forestry, ensuring reaching the finish line will only be reserved for the hardened few.
As the early WESS championship leader, Bolt enters round two in Austria hoping to stake his claim in motorcycling folklore by becoming the youngest winner of the race. At just 20 years of age, the Husqvarna rider will create his own piece of history at the Iron Giant should he claim the top step of the podium, while also extending his point’s lead. However, with the world’s best Enduro riders chasing him down it won’t be an easy feat.
Runner-up to Bolt at round one, Jonny Walker (KTM – GB) is already a three-time winner of the Erzbergrodeo Red Bull Hare Scramble and knows exactly what it takes to succeed at the Iron Giant. Third in Portugal, Germany’s Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM) got off to a flying start at the WESS opener and aims to keep that momentum rolling in Austria. Also 20 years old, Lettenbichler is another young rider rising to the forefront in WESS.
Fourth in Portugal, Taddy Blazusiak (KTM – Poland) needs no introduction to the Erzbergrodeo Red Bull Hare Scramble. Claiming five consecutive victories between 2007 and 2011, he’s the most successful rider ever to compete at the Iron Giant. And, judging by his come-from-behind ride at Extreme XL Lagares, he’s on form to make it a sixth. Runner-up in last year’s race, Graham Jarvis (Husqvarna – GB) has some unfinished business with the Iron Giant in 2018. An uncharacteristic mistake by the three-time winner on the early Three Kings climb in 2017 saw him charge his way from outside the top 25 back up to second. This year he’s aiming for a mistake-free ride to victory.
Behind the leading five riders in the WESS championship standings the talent pool is the deepest seen in recent memory. KTM’s Cody Webb — runner-up in 2016 and third in 2017 — aims to become the first American winner of the race. Sherco Factory Racing’s Mario Roman and Wade Young have their sights set on podium results and will be tough to beat too, while Beta Factory Racing’s Travis Teasdale eyes up a top five finish. As one of the event’s most experienced competitors Britain’s Paul Bolton (KTM) knows what it takes to finish inside the top three, while Spain’s Pol Tarres (Husqvarna) looks to build on his top 10 result from round one.
Determined to uphold Austrian honour, Gas Gas Factory Racing’s Lars Enockl is a strong bet for a place inside the top 10 on Sunday, along with Philipp Bertl (Beta), while fellow countryman Ossi Reisinger (Husqvarna) aims for a hat trick of Blakläder Iron Road Prolog wins.
Adding further spice to the 24th edition of the event, USA’s Ty Tremaine (Alta Motors) will try to become the first ever finisher of the Erzbergrodeo Red Bull Hare Scramble on an electric Enduro bike. At the opposite end of the power scale, 2018 Dakar Rally champion and home hero Matthias Walkner (KTM) will be present along with Dakar Rally car winner Stephane Peterhansel (Peugeot).
The World Enduro Super Series continues with round two at the Erzbergrodeo in Eisenerz, Austria from May 31-June 3.
Watch the Erzbergrodeo Red Bull Hare Scramble live exclusively on Red Bull TV and ServusTV Sunday June 3 from 14.00CEST.
2018 Erzbergrodeo Schedule
May 31: Mitas Rocket Ride
June 1: Blakläder Iron Road Prolog — from 08.00hrs
June 2: Blakläder Iron Road Prolog — from 08.00hrs
June 3: Erzbergrodeo Red Bull Hare Scramble — 14.30-18.30hrs
2017 Erzbergrodeo Red Bull Hare Scramble Podium
1. Alfredo Gomez (KTM) 2. Graham Jarvis (Husqvarna) 3. Cody Webb (KTM)
Erzbergrodeo Red Bull Hare Scramble Past Winners
2017: Alfredo Gomez (KTM)
2016: Graham Jarvis (Husqvarna)
2015: Jonny Walker (KTM), Graham Jarvis (Husqvarna), Andreas Lettenbichler (KTM), Alfredo Gomez (KTM)
2014: Jonny Walker (KTM)
2013: Graham Jarvis (Husaberg)
2012: Jonny Walker (KTM)
2011: Taddy Blazusiak (KTM)
2010: Taddy Blazusiak (KTM)
2009: Taddy Blazusiak (KTM)
2008: Taddy Blazusiak (KTM)
2007: Taddy Blazusiak (KTM)
2006: David Knight (KTM)
2005: David Knight (KTM)
2004: Chris Pfeiffer (Gas Gas)
2003: Cyril Despres (KTM)
2002: Cyril Despres (KTM)
2001: Juha Salminen (KTM)
2000: Chris Pfeiffer (Gas Gas)
1999: Stefano Passeri (KTM)
1998: Giovanni Sala (KTM)
1997: Chris Pfeiffer (Gas Gas)
1996: Chris Pfeiffer (Gas Gas)
1995: Alfie Cox (KTM)
Erzbergrodeo Event Information
Photo credit: Future7Media