Following a successful opening round of the 2018 World Enduro Super Series, the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team now set their sights on the world’s toughest one-day hard enduro – the Erzbergrodeo Red Bull Hare Scramble. Jonny Walker, Taddy Blazusiak and Cody Webb will be aiming to repeat past podium successes, while former EnduroGP riders Josep Garcia and Nathan Watson will be tackling the Iron Giant for the first time.
One of the best known enduro events in the world, the Erzbergrodeo is now in its 24th year – the Erzberg name itself is synonymous with hard enduro. An initial entry of 1,500 riders will, as always, be whittled down through qualifying until only the fastest 500 are left to tackle the iconic Red Bull Hare Scramble – this year held on Sunday June 3.
Battling some of the most extreme terrain in hard enduro, the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing riders will have four hours to complete the course. Riding from checkpoint to checkpoint, over sections littered with huge boulders, vertical climbs and equally treacherous descents – only the strongest will make it to the finish.
Three-time winner of the event Jonny Walker will be looking to make it a fourth victory as he carries the form that took him to the runner-up spot at round one of the WESS – Extreme XL Lagares in Portugal. The young but experienced Brit is keen to claim those valuable 1,000 WESS points at the close of the event.
Jonny Walker: “I am really looking forward to Erzberg, I think the event really suits me. Things were great at Lagares, the bike was perfect and I was riding well, I was just pipped at the end after having some bad luck getting through the back markers. If I can keep my head down and not make any mistakes, I know I can get another good result in Austria.”
Taddy Blazusiak could be described as the king of Erzberg, claiming five consecutive wins from 2007 to 2011 – no other rider has enjoyed such dominance at the event. Following a tough, but ultimately successful Lagares where Taddy batted from last to claim fourth overall, he will definitely be gunning for the top-step of the podium at the Hare Scramble.
Taddy Blazusiak: “Erzberg is a really important race for me. I know I have the skill and the speed to do well but I need to make the most of my experience too. Solid finishes are important for the championship, but I have to try my best to claw back some points on the leaders at Erzberg – one of my favourite events.”
FMF KTM Factory Racing’s Cody Webb is still focused on becoming the first American rider to be crowned Erzberg Champion. Finishing as runner-up in 2016 and then third in 2017, victory is still eluding the 2018 SuperEnduro World Champion. On form and hungry to take the top result, Cody will be giving his all on the tough Austrian terrain.
Cody Webb: “A second and a third so far is certainly not bad at all, but I really want to take that win. Erzberg is such an iconic event and to win would be such a big achievement and great for my championship. In the past I have attacked too hard from the start and suffered a little with arm-pump. This year I know I need to pace myself and keep my strength right to the finish.”
Former EnduroGP riders Josep Garcia and Nathan Watson will be facing the Iron Giant for the very first time. Reigning Enduro2 World Champion Garcia showed great form at WESS round one at Lagares, finishing 13th overall at his first true hard enduro. Garcia is not only looking forward to the race, but the whole atmosphere of the event, pitting himself against 1,500 other riders. Watson had a tough Lagares following a crash in the Endurocross race. Despite a small injury, he finished the event and claimed some valuable championship points in the process. Hoping to make the most of his speed and motocross skills on the faster sections of the Hare Scramble course, Nathan will be again aiming to stay consistent and challenge the hard enduro regulars.
Erzbergrodeo Red Bull Hare Scramble commences May 31 in Austria.