Taddy Blazusiak was the winner of Stage 1, but the KTM rider was unable to finish Stage 2 of the Hell’s Gate Enduro.
In the early morning hours, 103 riders lined up for the start of the four-lap qualifier. Taddy Blazusiak was a sure bet for the win and he didn’t disappoint, being the first to complete the difficult Stage 1. Sherco’s Graham Jarvis was the second competitor to complete the course with BMW‘s Andreas Lettenbichler in third just 38 seconds behind the Polish Prince. Lampkin and Husqvarna’s Cory Graffunder were fourth and fifth, respectively.
However, celebrations don’t begin until after the main according to Letti. “The morning qualifying race went well for me,” said the BMW rider. “You always know coming to an event like Hell’s Gate that it will be difficult, so there is no point in using more energy than you need to during the morning. Finishing third behind Blazusiak and Jarvis was a great start to the event. But the morning race doesn’t mean much once the main Hell’s Gate race starts.”
Only 30 riders remained to contest the main event including Blazusiak, but the Polish rider crashed on some ice, ringing his bell hard enough to force him out of the race. “I’ve had a really great run of results recently so although it’s disappointing it’s not the end of the world,” he said.
The problem for the riders was mostly the ice,” said KTM‘s Enduro Team headman, Fabio Farioli. “We had very cold weather in Italy for the past few weeks and there were very tricky layers of frozen ground and ice. To be honest there were some places where it was virtually impossible to ride,”
Lettenbichler also suffered a delay to his campaign in one particularly difficult rock climb when bikes had to pulled up one-by-one attached to ropes. Once through he moved up to third, but the race was ended before he crossed the line.
“There were sections where you couldn’t ride your bike and had to wait for it to be pulled up with a rope. There was no option but to wait until you got pulled up. By the time you were at the top the riders ahead of you were along way ahead. I was fourth on the first lap and then moved forward one place.I knew that I was the third and last rider in the race as I started the third lap, it was hard to keep motivated when it’s like this. I started the fourth lap in third position but because I was quite a long way behind the leaders the organizers pulled me out of the event. It’s disappointing but knowing that I was third in the morning race, and was the third rider in the final is very positive, ” said Letti.
Out of the 30 bikes that started the main, only two officially finished the Hell’s Gate challenge, Lampkin and Jarvis.
World Extreme Enduro Hell’s Gate Stage 1 Results:
1. Taddy Blazusiak (KTM)
2. Graham Jarvis (Sherco)
3. Andreas Lettenbichler (BMW)
4. Dougie Lampkin (Beta)
5. Cory Graffunder (Husqvarna)
World Extreme Enduro Hell’s Gate Overall Results:
1. Dougie Lampkin (Beta)
2. Graham Jarvis (Sherco)