And we’re off! Round three of the FIM Hard Enduro World Championship has roared into life at Red Bull Erzbergrodeo, with the USA’s Kailub Russell blasting up the Blaklader Iron Road Prologue fastest.
The Red Bull Erzbergrodeo is finally go!
USA’s Kailub Russell quickest on day one qualification
Majority of championship contenders provisionally secure a front row start for Sunday
The long-awaited Red Bull Erzbergrodeo is back and the feeling at the Iron Giant is better than ever as thousands of Hard Enduro thirsty competitors and fans have filled Austria’s iconic mountain for four days of awesome racing. After a fun start to the proceedings with the MITAS Rocket Ride on Thursday evening – won by Austrian Seppi Fally (Kawasaki) – things got rapidly up to speed with the first run up the Blaklader Iron Road Prologue for the 1,500 strong entry.
It’s been a long wait, but 2019 race winner Graham Jarvis (Jarvis Racing Team) finally got to wear that coveted #1 Red Bull Erzbergrodeo starter’s plate. First rider flagged away this morning, the championship leader put in a solid run to provisionally sit 23rd fastest. With Sunday’s Red Bull Erzbergrodeo featuring 50 riders on the front row, he’ll sleep happy tonight.
At the top of the leaderboard, Red Bull Erzbergrodeo rookie Kaliub Russell nailed the fastest time up the mountain on Friday. A shorter route than in previous years – they didn’t quite go all the way to the top this year – the FMF KTM Factory Racing rider and multi-time AMA GNCC champion stopped the clock in seven minutes and 11 seconds.
However, Poland’s Dominik Olszowy (GASGAS) missed out on the top spot by less than one-tenth of a second and will be gunning for Russell in tomorrow’s run. A further three seconds behind, South African Kyle Flanagan (KTM) completed the top three.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Manuel Lettenbichler set the fourth fastest time, with Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Billy Bolt fifth.
Rigo Racing’s Matthew Green was the quickest Junior rider, slotting into ninth overall. As expected the top 10 times were incredibly tight, with only one second separating Bolt in fifth and Sherco Factory Racing’s Wade Young in tenth.
Two-time Red Bull Erzbergrodeo winner David Knight is racing in 2022. He was not holding back with 11th, while five-time Red Bull Erzbergrodeo winner Taddy Blazusiak (GASGAS) returned from injury to place 14th.
A tip of the hat goes to Pol Tarres who muscled his 700cc Yamaha Tenere to a very impressive 47th. Sandra Gomez (GASGAS) provisionally lines up on row two with a time fast enough for 92nd, while ski legend Marcel Hirscher (Husqvarna) is 110th.
The Blaklader Iron Road Prologue continues tomorrow, Saturday June 18, with the second round of qualification. Those on the fringes of claiming one of the 500 places on offer for Sunday have one last shot to make the cut, while others will be aiming to better their qualification and move onto or closer to that elusive front row.
Watch the Red Bull Erzbergrodeo Panel Show live on Red Bull TV on Saturday at 19.00CET.
Watch the Red Bull Erzbergrodeo feature race live on Red Bull TV on Sunday from 14.00CET.
Stay tuned to FIM Hard Enduro and Red Bull Motorsport social media for daily coverage.
Round three of the FIM Hard Enduro World Championship takes place at Austria’s Red Bull Erzbergrodeo from June 16-19.
Provisional Results – Round 3: Blaklader Iron Road Prologue
1. Kaliub Russell (KTM) 7:11.77; 2. Dominik Olszowy (GASGAS) 7:11.841; 3. Kyle Flanagan (KTM) 7:14.203; 4. Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM) 7:18.082; 5. Billy Bolt (Husqvarna) 7:19.916; 6. Michael Walkner (GASGAS) 7:20.066; 7. Sonny Goggia (KTM) 7:20.088; 8. Philipp Scholz (KTM) 7:20.238; 9. Matthew Green (KTM) 7:20.283; 10. Wade Young (Sherco) 7:21.190…