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Firstly Graham, what does it feel like to go to the Erzbergrodeo as the defending champion?
Graham Jarvis: “I’m really looking forward to the Erzbergrodeo this year. The race is massive – it’s my biggest event of the year – so to go there with the #1 plate for Husqvarna Motorcycles is very important to me.”
How do you try and prepare for a race like the Red Bull Hare Scramble, which is known as the toughest single day enduro in the world?
Graham Jarvis: “It’s difficult. Erzberg is off the scale – it’s huge. There is nowhere in the world quite like it. It’s almost impossible to find sections like Carl’s Diner or Dynamite. At home I have some difficult sections I like to ride but mainly I try to stick to my normal routine of riding, cycling and gym work and just increase the intensity of everything I do.”
How would you sum up your Hard Enduro season so far?
Graham Jarvis: “It’s been good. Obviously winning Hell’s Gate by 22 minutes was the highlight. I really enjoyed the race and felt very strong there. It was great to take my fourth Hell’s Gate victory. The Tough One just wasn’t for me. I knew the new venue wouldn’t suit me but I gave it my best shot. I came from a long way back to get up to third but I just wasn’t able to hold that position until the end and finished fourth. It was disappointing to miss out on a podium result but overall I felt I rode well.”
Over the years Erzberg has thrown everything from snow to intense heat at the riders. How do you prepare for the weather there?
Graham Jarvis: “It’s practically impossible to predict what the weather will do at Erzberg. Last year was crazy – everything from snow, ice, wind and rain. One year it was so hot it was very difficult to breathe. When it’s hot like that you need to ensure you’re properly hydrated and are carrying plenty of fluids to drink. I prefer when it rains – it’s less exhausting than in the heat.”
What does it feel like to sit on the start line of the Red Bull Hare Scramble with 499 other riders?
Graham Jarvis: “Waiting for the race to start is the most nerve wracking moment of the entire race. In the moments before the start flag is waved there is absolute silence. The tension on the quarry floor is unreal. Your heart is pounding and all you can think about is the hardship that lies ahead. Once the flag is waved all hell breaks loose and the race is on.”
Do you have a favourite section in the Red Bull Hare Scramble?
Graham Jarvis: “I don’t really have favourite section, it’s more a section I least hate. I love the hill climbs at the start of the race, they’re usually a lot of fun. They’re also a bit crazy with riders everywhere trying to find a line up them. I think Carl’s Diner is my best section. I can make up a lot of time there. It’s very technical and you need to be precise in your line choice. I also like it because I know the race is almost over!”
With a world-class line up of riders entered, who are you keeping a close eye on?
Graham Jarvis: “There’s about 10 riders that will fight for a top five result and there’s at least five of those that could win. Obviously past winners like Jonny Walker and David Knight will be strong and Andreas Lettenbichler is very experienced around the Iron Giant. My teammate Alfredo Gomez will be good too. He’s great when the going gets tough and finished on the podium in 2013. But I’m focused on my own race and what I can do. To win Erzberg first you have to beat the Iron Giant.”
Finally, what would it mean to win the 20th edition of the Red Bull Hare Scramble at Erzberg?
Graham Jarvis: “Any victory at Erzberg is huge but to win the 20th edition of the event would be really special. I feel prepared and I’ve got the tools I need to do it. I’ll be giving it my best shot to win again.”