The four-day festival of two-wheeled action that is the Erzbergrodeo came to a spectacular conclusion on Sunday with the fastest 500 out of the 1500 competitors invited to take part in the Red Bull Hare Scramble.
Event organiser Karl Katoch and motocross legend Heinz Kinigadner sent the riders on their way onto a course packed with energy-sapping climbs and hair-raising descents. Local hero Seppi Fally conquered the mud and water of the first section to take a surprising lead. Yet the Austrian’s joy was short lived as he fell and was overtaken by Britain’s Jonny Walker.
Joining Walker this year on the start line were a host of other top riders from the UK, including last year’s winner Graham Jarvis as well as David Knight and Ben Hemingway. Yet it was Germany’s Andreas Lettenbichler, second behind Jarvis in 2013, who managed to stay the closest to Walker as the elite field passed some of the trickiest sections of the course bearing colourful names such as Carl’s Dinner and Dynamite.
Despite a late push from his compatriot Jarvis that saw him overtake Lettenbichler to claim second place, it was Walker who crossed the line first in a record time of 98 minutes. “I got a good start and didn’t make a single mistake throughout the race. I trained a lot and prepared very carefully for the Red Bull Hare Scramble. I would like to thank my KTM team – the bike was perfect. What a fantastic day. I am over the moon,” said the 25-year-old in the finish area.
Although unable to repeat his 2013 victory, Jarvis was pleased with second spot: “To be honest my chance of winning ended on the very first hill out of the quarry floor. I came off the line quite well but got boxed out going into the first corner. When I came to the first climb a few riders crashed in front of me and I then crashed trying to get around them. I had to take a second run at the climb. That put me behind straight away and it was an uphill battle from there. The pace was pretty high and it was tough to fight back. I got up to second going through Carl’s Diner but by that stage Jonny Walker was just too far ahead to catc. I had to take second. It’s disappointing – I wanted to win.”
Alfredo Gomez: “The race started well but during the middle of it I made four big mistakes. I didn’t really crash anywhere I just lost time on some of the climbs. That really cost me a chance of finishing on the podium. It’s disappointing because I felt like I had the speed to place inside the top three. It’s unfortunate but fourth is still a good result.”
Results: 1. Jonny Walker (UK) 01:37:38, 2. Graham Jarvis (UK) 01:50:50, 3. Andreas Lettenbichler (GER) 01:53:01, 4. Alfredo Gómez (ESP) 01:53:53, 5. Paul Bolton (UK) 01:55:21
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