KTM man Blazusiak wins Erzberg from BMW rider Lettenbichler
On the eve of the Red Bull Hare Scramble at the 2008 Erzberg Rodeo, experts predicted that no rider would master the Iron Mountain in less than two hours. KTM factory rider Taddy Blazusiak charged through the checkered flag in 1:20.132.
The Polish rider who won the event and a factory ride in extreme Enduro events for the Austrian sports motorcycle manufacturer in 2007, left no doubt about his shooting star role. He has taken to top level competition like a duck to water. Taddy not only won the 2008 event, he did it in seemingly effortless style and passed through the victory arch on the top of the mountain almost 15 minutes in front of his nearest rival, German rider Andreas Lettenbichler.
Blazusiak’s victory through the 16 control points of the massive mountain slope, terraced through hundred of years of iron ore mining was enthusiastically celebrated by the thousands of fans who came to Austria for the event. Particularly vocal were the large numbers of fans from his home country Poland who travelled south to watch him master what is considered to be the toughest one day competition on the extreme Enduro racing calendar.
Taddy had warmed up for the challenge on Saturday with a victory in the super final of the Rodeo-X Supercross then on Sunday, 500 enthusiasts from 32 different countries were on the starting line for the Hare Scramble. They ranged from fully fledged factory riders to enthusiastic amateurs and it was the German Lettenbichler who won the start and held onto the lead for the first 20 minutes before he was overtaken by the 25-year-old Pole. From that point on it was never in doubt that Blazusiak would capture the glory.
Fourth for KTM’s Despres
Dakar winner and KTM factory rider Cyril Despres of France was fourth this year while two other KTM riders from the USA, Kyle Redmond and Geoff Aaron came in at fifth and sixth. The results list continued to underline the supremacy and tenaciousness of the orange machines from KTM.
The 2008 Hare Scramble, the fourteenth annual race, wrapped up four days of riding and events at the annual Erzberg Rodeo and was this year held in perfect weather.
Results Red Bull Hare Scramble
1. Taddy Blazusiak, Poland, KTM 1:20:13
2. Andreas Lettenbichler, Germany, BMW, 1:35:58
3. Paul Bolton, UK, Honda, 1:38:03
4. Cyril Despres, France, KTM, 1:38:22
5. Kyle Redmond, USA, KTM, 1:42:19
6. Geoff Aaron USA, KTM, 1:45:32
7. Gerhard Forster, Germany, BMW, 1:46:15
8. Chris Birch, New Zealand, KTM, 1:47:35
9. Juha Salminen, Finland, KTM, 1:51:19
10. Mark Jackson, UK, KTM, 2:04:45
The extremely tough terrain of the Erzberg Rodeo 2008 turned out to be a perfect play ground for the two BMW Motorrad factory riders Andreas Lettenbichler and Gerhard Forster and their BMW G 450 X. With a sensational second place and a further top ten result BMW conquered its set position in the extreme enduro scene.
The weather was perfect, and “Letti” even had the chances of scoring first place at the final Hare Scramble which is the highlight of the Erzberg week end. He had a perfect start and was leading the field when he broke one foot peg touching a rock at checkpoint 2. He had to ride nearly the whole race with this severe handicap. And then of all things the gear shaft broke just when he was struggling through the rocks of the “Gerichtsgraben”, one of the most brutal parts of the race, leaving him with first gear only in that torturous section. But in the end only the Polish rider Taddy Blazusiak was faster. The rest of the world’s top enduro riders, most of them equipped with light two stroke bikes, had no chance to beat the 33 year old man from Rosenheim.
The 7th place of Gerhard Forster is a great performance as well, and he too could have finished even better if there hadn’t been that infamous “Gerichtsgraben”. There he somehow lost the good track and had to find his way back to the racing line over big solid rocks which cost him 2 places.
The Hare Scramble 2008 was the toughest in Erzberg history so far. Particularly the last section of the race called the “Reitwagenklamm” was virtually not rideable.
Andreas Lettenbichler already showed a Fantastic performance one day before the Hare Scramble at the Rodeo-X Endurocross. He was surrounded by the 17 best extreme enduro riders of the world but nevertheless finished in second position on this very selective course which had the character of an indoor enduro world championship track.
The two prologue runs for qualification were a mere formality for the two BMW factory riders. With a 9th and a 13th place they ensured their start places in the first row.
Andreas Lettenbichler: „Erzberg was harder than ever and packed with dirty tricks. The Gerichtsgraben was absolutely crazy, and the Reitwagen-Klamm even topped it. There were 20 people with ropes pulling up bikes and riders. Without outside help it would have been impossible. At the second check point I broke my foot peg, and then of all things the gear shaft broke so that I had to ride the rest in first gear. I just tried to take it easy and to ride smoothly to the finish, easy as that…”
Gerhard Forster: „It could have gone better for me. I had a bad start and fought my way up to 5th position. In the Gerichtsgraben I got off the right track and found myself stuck in the rocks. That cost me two places. The bike was working perfectly. It is just so much fun to ride the 450 up banks, just open the throttle and off you go.”
Team manager Wolfgang Fischer: „We were at Erzberg only with a small team because we had parallel races in Walldorf and in Spain. Our small but highly motivated team proved the potential of a modern four stroke bike and that we can compete with the armada of light two strokes. BMW four stroke bikes in the top ten, the result speaks for itself. The performance of Andreas Lettenbichler is sensational. He was leading the race until check point 2. Then he lost a foot peg and as a result he couldn’t keep up with Blazusiak. I am very happy to see that we are ready to compete for top positions. Now we can attack, let’s go!
Result RED BULL HARE SCRAMBLE
1. Taddy Blazusiak (POL, KTM), 1:20:13
2. Andreas Lettenbichler (GER, BMW, 1:35:58
3. Paul Bolton (UK, Honda), 1:38:03
4. Cyril Despres (AND, KTM), 1:38:22
5. Kyle Redmond (USA, Christini KTM), 1:42:19
6. Geoff Aaron (USA, Christini KTM), 1:45:32
7. Gerhard Forster (GER, BMW), 1:46:15
8. Chris Birch (NZL, KTM), 1:47:35
9. Juha Salminen (FIN, KTM), 1:51:19
10. Mark Jackson (UK, KTM), 2:04:45
Andreas Lettenbichler’s second place at Erzberg is a huge boon for BMW’s new machine