The long-awaited Red Bull Erzbergrodeo is back and the feeling at the Iron Giant is better than ever as thousands of Hard Enduro thirsty competitors and fans have filled Austria’s iconic mountain for four days of awesome racing.
After a fun start to the proceedings with the MITAS Rocket Ride on Thursday evening – won by Austrian Seppi Fally (Kawasaki) – things got rapidly up to speed with the first run up the Blaklader Iron Road Prologue for the 1,500 strong entry.
It’s been a long wait, but 2019 race winner Graham Jarvis (Jarvis Racing Team) finally got to wear that coveted #1 Red Bull Erzbergrodeo starter’s plate. First rider flagged away this morning, the championship leader put in a solid run to provisionally sit 23rd fastest. With Sunday’s Red Bull Erzbergrodeo featuring 50 riders on the front row, he’ll sleep happy tonight.
At the top of the leaderboard, Red Bull Erzbergrodeo rookie Kaliub Russell nailed the fastest time up the mountain on Friday. A shorter route than in previous years – they didn’t quite go all the way to the top this year – the FMF KTM Factory Racing rider and multi-time AMA GNCC champion stopped the clock in seven minutes and 11 seconds.
However, Poland’s Dominik Olszowy (GASGAS) missed out on the top spot by less than one-tenth of a second and will be gunning for Russell in tomorrow’s run. A further three seconds behind, South African Kyle Flanagan (KTM) completed the top three.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Manuel Lettenbichler set the fourth fastest time, with Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Billy Bolt fifth.
Rigo Racing’s Matthew Green was the quickest Junior rider, slotting into ninth overall. As expected the top 10 times were incredibly tight, with only one second separating Bolt in fifth and Sherco Factory Racing’s Wade Young in tenth.
Two-time Red Bull Erzbergrodeo winner David Knight is racing in 2022. He was not holding back with 11th, while five-time Red Bull Erzbergrodeo winner Taddy Blazusiak (GASGAS) returned from injury to place 14th.
A tip of the hat goes to Pol Tarres who muscled his 700cc Yamaha Tenere to a very impressive 47th. Sandra Gomez (GASGAS) provisionally lines up on row two with a time fast enough for 92nd, while ski legend Marcel Hirscher (Husqvarna) is 110th.
The Blaklader Iron Road Prologue continues tomorrow, Saturday June 18, with the second round of qualification. Those on the fringes of claiming one of the 500 places on offer for Sunday have one last shot to make the cut, while others will be aiming to better their qualification and move onto or closer to that elusive front row.
Provisional Results Erzbergrode
Blaklader Iron Road Prologue
Kaliub Russell (KTM) 7:11.77
Dominik Olszowy (GASGAS) 7:11.841
Kyle Flanagan (KTM) 7:14.203
Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM) 7:18.082
Billy Bolt (Husqvarna) 7:19.916
Michael Walkner (GASGAS) 7:20.066
Sonny Goggia (KTM) 7:20.088
Philipp Scholz (KTM) 7:20.238
Matthew Green (KTM) 7:20.283
Wade Young (Sherco) 7:21.190…
2022 FIM Hard Enduro World Championship
Round 1: Minus 400 – Israel, April 5/6/7 Round 2: Xross Hard Enduro Rally – Serbia, May 18/19/20/21
Round 3: Red Bull Erzbergrodeo – Austria, June 16/17/18/19
Round 4: Red Bull Abestone – Italy, July 9/10
Round 5: Red Bull Romaniacs – Romania, July 26/27/28/29/30
Round 6: Red Bull TKO – USA, August 13/14
Round 7: Red Bull Outliers – Canada, August 27/28
Round 8: Hixpania Hard Enduro – Spain, October 7/8/9
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