Husqvarna’s Graham Jarvis may have been 20th on the final day of Erzbergrodeo qualifying on Saturday, but when it came to the Red Bull Hare Scramble he put on a late charge to wrest control of the race from Jonny Walker, with early leader Manuel Lettenbichler finishing third.
500 riders qualified in total, with sunny and hot conditions seeing WESS competitors all on the front row at race start at 1430, with Taddy Blazusiak making an early move into the lead ahead of Walkner, Billy Bolt and Lettenbichler all ensuring there was no break away.
During one of the early technical woodland sections, the young guns of Lettenbichler and Bolt moved past both Blazusiak and Walker to take up the lead. At Checkpoint 15 of 25, Lettenbichler and Bolt had built up a lead of one-minute over Walker while Sherco Factory Racing’s Wade Young overtook Blazusiak for fourth.
However, with Checkpoint 19 forming the formidable Carl’s Dinner boulder garden, the race was anything but over. After a bad start, Jarvis was beginning to cut his way through the pack and was closing on the leaders.
At Checkpoint 21 – Green Hell – the race took another dramatic twist as both Lettenbichler and Bolt became stuck on the near-vertical woodland climb. Jarvis, now in third, heroically pushed his way past the stricken duo to the top and took the race lead.
Walker, following suit, tried to apply pressure to the Husqvarna rider during the final two signature sections Dynamite and Lazy Noon but Jarvis kept his cool to cross the finish line in an astonishing time of two hours, five minutes and 59 seconds.
Winning round two of the World Enduro Super Series, Jarvis also secured his fourth Erzbergrodeo Red Bull Hare Scramble victory.
Graham Jarvis – P1
“It’s always special to win here, but to do it like I did, that ranks as one of my best victories. I had a really bad start getting stuck on the very first climb out of the quarry and I lost so many places. Also, with the dust it was really difficult to overtake on the first couple of sections. It wasn’t until Checkpoint 15 that I got up to about sixth, but I knew Carl’s Dinner would be decisive. I made a lot of time up there. When I got to Green Hell I wasn’t quite sure what was happening but I saw Billy and Manni stuck. I got up so far and then was able to push the rest. That for me was where the race was won, but with Jonny chasing me home I couldn’t relax until the chequered flag.”
Finishing just 41 seconds behind, Walker claimed the runner-up result and in turn took control of the WESS championship standings.
Jonny Walker – P2
“That was a tough race but I am happy to finish second and importantly take the lead in the WESS standings. Taddy made a mistake and I got out in front, but then Manni and Billy passed me on a hill when I messed up a little. Their speed was way too quick and I knew I had to pace myself a little. Carl’s Dinner was tiring, but I kept up a steady rhythm and tried to minimise any mistakes. I managed to clear Green Hell and came out of there in second. The rest of the race from then on was less tricky and I pushed on as hard as I could but couldn’t quite catch Graham before the finish. I’m happy with second and although it would have been nice to take the win, it’s great to be leading the championship.”
Regrouping after the punishing Green Hell section, Lettenbichler was able to cross the finish line three minutes behind Jarvis in third, with Young coming home in fourth.
Manuel Lettenbichler – P3
“I gave it everything I had, I wanted to win so badly but just lost out towards the end. I had a really great ride up until Green Hell. Billy and myself were pushing the pace a lot and we had built up a gap on the others. I wasn’t my best in Carl’s Dinner and was still in contention. Unfortunately, things went wrong in Green Hell and Graham came past us. But this is my debut podium at the Erzbergrodeo Red Bull Hare Scramble, so it is something to celebrate. Third in Extreme XL Lagares and now third here is a very strong start to WESS too.”
Bolt, seeing his chance of winning lost in Green Hell, completed the top five.
Billy Bolt – P5
“That was such a tough race, I am happy with fifth but feel I could have done more. The beginning of the race went really well, I was feeling good and made up a lot of time on the others. I got to the Green Hell section but my arms were so dead by that point I knew I would struggle to get up there on my own. I helped Manni first and then came back for my own bike. I think I pushed to hard too early and had nothing left towards the end. I’ll definitely learn from the experience and come back stronger next year.”
Passing both Blazusiak and Mario Roman (Sherco – Spain) in Green Hell, Beta Factory Racing’s Travis Teasdale (RSA) finished sixth with Paul Bolton (KTM – GB) seventh.
After a promising start, Blazusiak eventually ended his race in eighth.
Taddy Blazusiak – P8
“I have to be happy with that – I enjoyed the race and the fans here have been amazing. Of course, it’s not the result I wanted but after crashing so heavily I am glad to make the finish. It took a little while to feel better and at one point I wasn’t sure I would be able to make it through Carl’s Dinner. I paced myself though and felt a lot stronger at the end. Eighth place gives me some valuable championship points and keeps me inside the top-10 overall. I’ll concentrate now on Le Trefle Lozerien classic enduro next weekend and hopefully come away with a good result.”
Securing another top 10 finish in WESS, Spain’s Pol Tarres (Husqvarna) took ninth with Roman dropping back to 10th in the closing stages of the race. In total 23 riders completed this year’s Erzbergrodeo Red Bull Hare Scramble within the four-hour allotted race time.
With round two of the World Enduro Super Series now complete, the championship switches disciplines to Classic Enduro, in France at next weekend’s Trèfle Lozérien AMV, June 8-10.
Results — Erzbergrodeo Red Bull Hare Scramble, Top 10
Graham Jarvis (Husqvarna) 2:05:59
Jonny Walker (KTM) +00:41
Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM) +03:03
Wade Young (Sherco) +15:45
Billy Bolt (Husqvarna) +24:04
Travis Teasdale (Beta) +32:50
Paul Bolton (KTM) +33:41
Taddy Blazusiak (KTM) +35:52
Pol Tarres (Husqvarna) +48:41
Mario Roman (Sherco) +52:58
Standings – World Enduro Super Series (After round 2 of 8)
Jonny Walker (KTM – GB) 1700 points
Billy Bolt (Husqvarna – GB) 1610pts
Graham Jarvis (Husqvarna – GB) 1610pts
Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM – GER) 1540pts
Wade Young (Sherco – RSA) 1220pts
Taddy Blazusiak (KTM – POL) 1180pts
Travis Teasdale (Beta – RSA) 1030pts
Paul Bolton (KTM – GB) 1020pts
Pol Tarres (Husqvarna – ESP) 890pts
Blake Gutzeit (Yamaha – RSA) 760pts
World Enduro Super Series – 2018 Schedule
Rnd 3. Trèfle Lozérien AMV (France) June 8-10
Rnd 4. Red Bull Romaniacs (Romania) July 24-28
Rnd 5. Red Bull 111 Megawatt (Poland) September 8-9
Rnd 6. Hawkstone Park Cross-Country (England) September 22-23
Rnd 7. Gotland Grand National (Sweden) October 26-27
Rnd 8. Red Bull Knock Out (The Netherlands) November 10
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