Every year on this June holiday weekend in Austria thousands of Hard Enduro enthusiasts and their fans storm the country’s famed Iron Mountain to see the best riders in the world, and those determined to give it their best try to conquer its daunting slopes. The Erzbergrodeo is all about skill, speed, adrenalin and more than a little madness.
But Erzberg is much more than the fight to see who is the fastest up a mountainside that has been carved out by iron ore mining for thousands of years. It is four days of spectacular racing, entertainment and very serious, almost round the clock partying.
This year, a rider no longer able to resist the magnetic attraction of the mountain is Robbie Maddison, one of the greatest-ever freestyle riders. Robbie is at the mountain to contest the blue ribbon event, the Red Bull Hare Scramble on Sunday. Maddison: “I was pretty much blown away by how gnarly the race is. I was stopped in my tracks really. I couldn’t believe they were doing something that intense all in the name of fun.”
Maddison hit the nail on the head. For a weekend of the world’s toughest riding, the ultimate winner goes away with a trophy, a piece of rock from the Iron Mountain.
From the Kärcher Rocket Ride on Thursday to the Red Bull Hare Scramble on Sunday and almost every minute in between, this is a four-day weekend packed with high octane, high adrenalin fun and excitement.
Some 1500 riders dare to tackle the slopes of the Iron Mountain on Saturday for the Generali Iron road Prologue. That’s the biggest offroad race in the world. They have to race 13.5 km over a 30 m-wide loose gravel track where the only things that count are riding technique, choice of lines and pure speed. The fastest 500 win the right to contest the immensely tougher Red Bull Hare Scramble on Sunday when they have just four hours to get to the top and only a handful of them succeed.
In between there are a fantastic range of side events, highlights and close encounters with heroes of the ‘need for speed’. Maddison will be at the KTM tent for autograph signing. So will F1 hero Mark Webber of Australia, and on Sunday also flying ace Hannes Arch of the famed Red Bull Air Race. Another highlight is the mega popular motorcycle parade through Eisenerz on Friday evening. Fantasy knows no bounds in the costumes chosen by the riders who parade through the tiny town to thank the community for their support, or the FMX Party where the world’s most talented freestylers thrill the crowd with spectacular aerial tricks. In short, this is a weekend where stamina and the ability to party are as essential as speed up the mountain.
Who will take the rock in the 21st Edition?
Erzbergrodeo reaches its apex on Sunday with a contest that will lift the heart rate of every Hard Enduro enthusiast. Taddy Blazusiak, winner of five consecutive Hare Scrambles, returns after an absence of four years to try to capture his sixth piece of the mountain. His biggest rival will be teammate Jonny Walker, now a three times winner who delivered a stunning winning rider last year. These two will be challenged by other talent set on being the fastest to the top of the mountain in action that is mind-blowingly spectacular and guaranteed to raise blood pressure. Walker and Blazusiak want to keep the rock in KTM hands and preserve the Orange tradition – KTM riders after all have already won 16 of the 20 races so far held on the famed mountain.
Can’t be there? Catch all the action on Red Bull live streaming at www.ktm.com/erzberg2015.
Check out the top riders here: http://win.gs/1cveX7j