Four riders were declared joint winners, among them the KTM factory riders Jonny Walker and Andreas Lettenbichler.
Some 500 starters lined up to contest the toughest one-day Hard Enduro on the sporting calendar and of the five finishers, four were declared joint winners in an event that was marked by high action from start to finish. Drama unfolded right from the start of the first wave of 50 fastest qualifiers from the Iron Road Prologue. Riding alongside each other were Red Bull KTM’s five-times Hare Scramble winner Taddy Blazusiak of Poland and his factory teammate and 2014 winner Jonny Walker, who charged together up the steep gravel slope that launches the race. Walker reached the top unscathed but Blazusiak went down close to the summit and was struck on the head by his race bike.
After taking the start Walker broke away from his competitors on his KTM 300 EXC and for long time it looked like a repetition of last year´s start-finish-victory. Shortly after checkpoint “Carl´s Dinner” Walker was caught up and overtaken by Graham Jarvis and his teammate Alfredo Gomez. The three riders then reached a new section called “Downtown” an uphill slope that finally proved to be impossible to ride, whereby KTM factory rider Andreas Lettenbichler was able to approach the group. After close consultation, they decided to pool their resources and help each other up the hill. By the time they got to the top, the organizers had decided to remove the section “Lazy Noon”. The four riders opted to ride together to the Red Bull winner´s arch and crossed the line just inside the four-hour time limit.
Jonny Walker: “I made a good start and early on I pushed really hard. I got a five-minute lead then I made a stupid mistake on one of the hills and I lost maybe 3-4 minutes. That allowed Graham to catch me. I tried to push but I had a small crash and dented the radiator, so it was letting water out. Graham and Gomez passed me, and then we all got stuck on this hill. We talked and decided to pull each other up and ride to the finish. It was by far the hardest Erzberg I have ever done.”
Andreas Lettenbichler: “It was a really tough one. This is my 10th edition and today was the hardest. The “Downtown” section was impossible to ride and we had to help each other. Everyone was completely exhausted after this section and it was too dangerous to have a restart. It was an incredible race, difficult but I’m happy.”
Karl Katoch (Organizer): “Today the Erzberg flexed its muscles. But I promise that it won´t be that tough next year.”
Alex Doringer (Team Manager KTM Factory Racing): “Sunday’s race was very special and it was more difficult with this extreme temperature. I didn’t see it, but I heard that Taddy and Jonny came together on the first uphill and I am sorry about what happened to Taddy when he crashed. This is racing and it happens, but he’s a five-times winner and he’s the king here at this event. The last part where they got stuck was really difficult but I am happy that we made an agreement with our riders that they would help each other to finish. I also want to give a big thanks to Karl Katoch, Martin Kettner and everyone involved. The organization was fantastic.”
Heinz Kinigadner (Motorsport consultant KTM Factory Racing): “The Erzberg has once again lived up to its reputation as the toughest Extreme Enduro. It was also good to see that fairness emerged above sporting ambition and that four winners were declared. Too bad it didn’t come to a duel with Taddy but except for headache and neck pain he is okay and is already on his way to the airport for the flight back home to Spain. I am especially happy for Letti who has his long deserved victory after many podiums.”
Results Red Bull Hare Scramble Erzbergrodeo 2015
1. Alfredo Gomez (ESP), Husqvarna, 3:58.25 h1. Jonny Walker (GBR), KTM, 0 sec1. Graham Jarvis (GBR), Husqvarna, 01. Andreas Lettenbichler (GER), KTM, 05. Mario Roman Serrano (ESP), KTM 31 sec