KTM factory rider Taddy Blazusiak, with his unbelievable ability to fight for victory, on Sunday became the first rider in the history of the Erzberg Rodeo to win three times in a row.
The fifteenth edition of the Red Bull Hare Scramble, the high point of the Erzberg Rodeo will go down in the history of major offroad events in Austria. Taddy Blazusiak, riding his KTM 250 EXC secured a historic victory at the race that is considered the world’s toughest one day extreme Enduro competition.
The 26-year old Polish rider goes down in the record books of this legendary extreme Enduro event as the first rider to have scored three consecutive wins. The event attracted 1500 starters from 30 countries and took place in the Austrian province of Styria.
Blazusiak not only dominated the competition in the Red Bull Hare Scramble but also managed to distance himself from second placed Briton Graham Jarvis by more than half an hour. The unbelievably tough competition at this year’s Rodeo was proven by the fact that of the 500 who started in the final, except for the third placed Andreas Lettenbichler, only a total of 20 starters were able to complete the 20 check points without any mistakes.
Taddy Blazusiak had already taken second in the prologue of the Erzberg Rodeo behind local Austrian favourite Seppi Fally thus registering his ambitions for the final. The results of the other KTM riders was also noteworthy. Apart from Cyril Despres, who in 2009 concentrated only on the prologue and made an impressive podium on his factory KTM 690 Rally machine, Chris Birch (NZL) and the Mexican Enduro champion Homero Diaz were two other EXC-two-stroke riders in the top five prologue finishers. Among the team of top international Enduro rider gathered at the KTM tent were also Canadian Cory Graffunder, the South African Daryl Curtis, the Belgian Gilles Dejong and the Briton Paul Bolton.
Immediately after the start of the Red Bull Hare Scramble, which traditionally takes place at 12:00 noon at the foot of the spectacular mine site, the winner of the previous two years hung back behind several of his opponents. Blazusiak, who was not in his best form because he was suffering from a cold and in fact did not contest the second run of the prologue on Saturday, took over the lead after a third of the distance. He advanced his lead at every key point of the race thereafter. The extreme Enduro specialist reached the top of the hill completely exhausted with a race time of 1h 42min. “That was the absolute limit,” Taddy Blazusiak said after the race. “That is a very emotional win for me. To win here at Erzberg with my team where my whole life changed in 2007 is like a dream,” the clearly moved winner added.
The outstanding performance of the winner, as with all of the competitors who tackled the race at Erzberg was recognised by KTM Motor Sports Director Winfried Kerschhaggl. “All of the competitors deserve a big compliment. The entire event has once again proven how unique it is. Nowhere else in the world, whether it is amateur or fully professional, do you see such a setting, and all of this in front of such a huge, enthusiastic public. What Taddy achieved today was simply sensational and once again shows that his skills are at least as extreme at the Rodeo itself. We are happy to have a rider and a character of the caliber of Taddy on our team,” Kerschhaggl added.
The KTM Motor Sports Director and the Polish offroad star had already agreed to extend his contract as a factory rider for an additional two years several days before the start of the Erzberg Rodeo.
Results Red Bull Hare Scramble 2009
1. Taddy Blazusiak (POL, KTM)
2. Graham Jarvis (UK, Sherco)
3. Andreas Lettenbichler (D, BMW)
4. Ben Hemingway (UK, Gas Gas)
5. Cory Graffunder (CAN, KTM)
6. Rory Mead (NZL, Yamaha)
7. Dan Hemingway (UK, KTM)
8. Chris Birch (NZL, KTM)
9. Gerhard Forster (D, BMW)
10. Kyle Redmond (USA, Yamaha)
Courtesy of BMW
The WEC round in Finland isn´t the only race where BMW´s off road division enjoyed success this past weekend. At the
15th edition of the Erzbergrodeo in Eisenerz (Austria), Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport´s Andreas Lettenbichler raced onto the podium of the infamous Hare Scramble.
“Letti” excelled already on Thursday at the event opener, the inaugural “Rocket Ride”. The German factory rider and his
BMW 450 X easily qualified for the final by finishing top three in both the quarter and semi finals. Lettenbichler mastered the tricky three-storey uphill battle with speed and finesse to clinch a superb second place in the superfinal.
The prologue on Saturday turned out to be a rather relaxed affair for Lettenbichler and his team-mate Gerhard Forster.
The focus of this race is primarily to secure a front position on the grid for Sunday´s event-closing Hare Scramble, which is known to be the world´s toughest one-day Extreme Enduro. Among 1,500 participants, Lettenbichler captured 13th and Forster 19th place.
The highly anticipated Hare Scramble traditionally starts Sunday at 12.00 o´clock. The gruelling race to the top of the iron mountain saw Lettenbichler claim an early lead, but the 34-year-old was taken out by another rider at the first downhill section and, to make matters worse, the two bikes got tangled up. Suddenly chasing the pack had become the new order of the day.
It didn´t take long and “Letti” was back inside the top three, eventually climbing up to second place with a fine move in a
slippery forest section. “The excellent traction of my bike paid off,” Lettenbichler said later.
In the following nasty rock section Lettenbichler was passed by some of the Trial pros, but that proved to be a tactical
move. While Lettenbichler paced himself nicely, his rivals dropped like flies due to the sweltering heat. “What a brutal affair. Rocks everywhere and lots of new sections. There were no lines to keep riding, all you could do was drag and tow the bike.”
In the end, after 2:25,17 hrs, Lettenbichler finished third, behind Poland´s Taddy Blazusiak and Britain´s Graham Jarvis. “Letti” had all reason to be satisfied with his result, after all his BMW 450 X was by far the best four-stroke among a sea of light-weight two-strokes.
Meanwhile Gerhard Forster did his own thing, coming home in ninth position and achieving his goal of a top ten result. BMW South Africa´s Jade Gutzeit, who enjoyed the support of BMW Motorsport at the Erzbergrodeo, managed to score a fine 15th place.
Out of 500 riders qualified for the Hare Scramble, only 21 made it to the mountain top.