1800 riders lined up to challenge the Erzberg Rodeo Red Bull Hare Scramble at Iron Mountain, only seven would finish. Considered the toughest enduro in the world, Erzberg continues to draw global attention.
Off-road riders descended upon Austria’s Iron Giant Sunday to test their skill in the 18th Erzberg Rodeo Red Bull Hare Scramble and, as is often the case, many went home with nothing show for it other than smashed bikes and bodies. KTM’s UK factory rider Jonny Walker prevailed, taking first in what many have deemed the toughest one-day Hard Enduro competition around. This was Walker’s second time contesting Erzberg and he was one of only seven riders to make it across the finish line. This year’s competition was dominated by Britons with Dougie Lampkin (GasGas) taking second, followed by Ben Hemingway (KTM) in third and Paul Bolton (KTM) in fourth. Of the top seven finishers only two riders were from countries outside the UK; fifth place finisher Taichi Tanaka (KTM) hailing from Japan and Austrian Lars Enöckl (KTM) who took sixth.
Massive waves of riders totaling 1800 athletes lined up early in the weekend to try and make it through qualifying in the Iron Road Prologue. By Sunday, 500 top riders were selected to test their mettle in the Red Bull Hare Scramble. The final race was plagued by inclement weather with heavy fog and continuous rain turning the course into a veritable minefield of treacherous obstacles. A 99.7% DNF rate proves just how difficult this year’s course proved to be. The poor conditions forced officials to end the event 30 minutes before the official four-hour limit.
Red Bull KTM rider Jonny Walker came out on top after Jarvis was disqualified. In a hard enduro, you will take a win any way it comes to you.
Walker earned the third fastest time in the Prologue and secured himself a place among the first wave of riders to face the slopes of the iron ore mountain. He and Enöckl pushed out front early and distanced themselves from the rest of the pack. Thirty minutes into the contest, Walker had taken the lead and soon after went over his handlebars into a section of rocks at Checkpoint 13, a segment known as “Carl’s Diner.” Graham Jarvis, Britain’s hottest extreme enduro rider of late, missed a terrace in the “Rosina” section around the same time and was disqualified. The Husaberg rider failed to see the announcement and continued racing to the end. The Brit actually came across the finish line in first, where he finally got the bad news. Walker came in a few minutes later to claim his victory.
“I knew that Jarvis had been disqualified and in the final part I didn’t take any risks,” Walker said afterward. “I was simply too fast at Carl’s Diner and I hurt my back a bit when I went over the handlebars. It’s simply fantastic to be the winner in only my second start here in Erzberg.”
A daunting hill-climb opened the race. Iron Mountain is a mine which features many brutal hill climbs throughout the course.
Jarvis came into the event a favorite to win and even recovered his position out front after a multi-rider pile-up at the start caused him to injure his wrist. “I didn’t know that I had been excluded until the end so I kept racing the whole way,” explained Jarvis. “Coming into Carl’s Diner I was up to second and I managed to close the gap considerably on Jonny Walker. Not long after that I was in the lead and I just rode hard to the finish. After working so hard to recover from my crash I was gutted to have lost the race but looking at the positives I’m really pleased with how I rode.”
Erzberg Rodeo Red Bull Hare Scramble Results 2012:
1. Jonny Walker (KTM)
2. Dougie Lampkin (Gas-Gas)
3. Ben Hemingway (KTM)
4. Paul Bolton (KTM)
5. Taichi Tanaka (KTM)
6. Lars Enöckl (KTM)
7. Dan Hemingway (KTM)