It’s time for Red Bull Erzbergrodeo. Round three of the FIM Hard Enduro World Championship is shaping up to be a mid-season showstopper of epic proportions. Hard Enduro has been starved of racing at Austria’s Iron Giant since 2019, but finally, starting on Thursday, it’s back!
Always a must-watch race for every Hard Enduro fan, this year’s edition is going to be top drawer. With all of the sport’s main players gunning for glory, here’s a quick look at who has their sights set on delivering something special come Sunday’s Red Bull Erzbergrodeo race day…
Graham Jarvis – Jarvis Racing Team
The best just keeps getting better. Jointly leading the FIM Hard Enduro World Championship, Graham Jarvis enters Red Bull Erzbergrodeo with a serious shot of claiming a record-breaking sixth victory. Graham has been superb so far in 2022 with two podium results, putting an eight-month-long knee injury well and truly behind him. The Brit’s confidence is sky high and in the pressure cooker environment of the Iron Giant that’s worth its weight in gold.
Billy Bolt – Husqvarna Factory Racing
Billy Bolt shares the championship lead with Jarvis, but in truth has yet to deliver his best in 2022. A lot of that is due to the wrist injury he’s been nursing since his early-season SuperEnduro duties ended. This weekend he’ll be hoping to set things right and there’s no bigger stage than the Red Bull Erzbergrodeo on which to do it. A race he’s yet to win, Billy will leave nothing on the table as he bids to tick this one off his list.
Manuel Lettenbichler – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
Manuel Lettenbichler heads into round three riding high and carrying what could prove to be all-important race-winning momentum from Xross in Serbia. Making his eagerly awaited return from injury in Serbia, Mani didn’t disappoint and put his KTM on the top step of the podium. Like for Billy, Red Bull Erzbergrodeo is a race Mani has yet to win. Mani’s betting 2022 will be his year.
Mario Roman – Sherco Factory Racing
Mario Roman came out swinging at round one to win in Israel, but a broken toe during round two kept him away from the sharp end of the results. Now healed up, Mario will be eager to get back into the mix. However, he’s a rider who tends to favour the championship’s multi-day events more than the explosive sprint style Hard Enduro races. Often needing a little more time to settle in and get up to speed, Mario will look to make up places in the latter stages of the race.
Wade Young – Sherco Factory Racing
A rider with strong pedigree at the Iron Giant, Wade Young will have his sights set on finishing on the podium. Strong as an ox, Wade has the ability like no other to dig deep when the going gets tough. When the heat’s on, you can be sure he’ll muscle his way through the infamous Carl’s Dinner boulders with ease.
Alfredo Gomez – AG Racing 89
Alfredo Gomez is one of the select few riders taking on the Red Bull Erzbergrodeo in 2022 who’s already a proven winner. In 2017 the Spaniard etched his name in Hard Enduro folklore by racing to a very convincing victory. Starting his own privateer team for this year, Alfredo is enjoying his riding more than ever and that could be a dangerous thing for his rivals.
Teodor Kabakchiev – Team Bulgaria powered by ECONT
Young Bulgarian Teodor Kabakchiev is enjoying the best season of his career to date. A debut FIM Hard Enduro podium at round two sees him arrive in Austria confident, fired-up, and ready to go at it. In 2019, Teodor got as far as Carl’s Dinner and no further, but a lot has happened for the Bulgarian since then. Pencil him in as the dark horse for a surprise result.
Trystan Hart – FMF KTM Factory Racing
Canada’s Trystan Hart is another rider who may deliver a standout performance this weekend. Very much an unknown rookie in 2019, Trystan finished 14th of 16 finishers. He’s since gone on to win the Red Bull TKO and become one of North America’s top Hard Enduro riders.
Naturally Austrian entries figure heavily on the entry list. At the sharp end, GASGAS Factory Racing’s Michael Walkner looks to deliver the goods in his home race. He’s been enjoying a great season to date, which should boost his confidence come Sunday. Ski legend Marcel Hirscher also takes to the start line. A motorsport fanatic, he’ll be pushing to get as far as he can.
Will we see a woman finisher in 2022? Sandra Gomez takes to the start line with the goal of making history. As the first female finisher of Red Bull Romaniacs Gold class, adding Red Bull Erzbergrodeo to that tally is her target.
Matt Green – Rigo Racing
South African Matt Green topped the new Junior category at round two and will look to become the first Junior home at Red Bull Erzbergrodeo.
Pol Tarres – Yamaha Tenere
We couldn’t finish this Riders to Watch without a nod to the legend that is Pol Tarres. Always ready for a challenge, the Spaniard will take on the Iron Giant aboard his 700cc Yamaha Tenere adventure bike. How far he’ll get remains to be seen, but if anyone can do the impossible, Pol Tarres can!
Round three of the FIM Hard Enduro World Championship takes place at Austria’s Red Bull Erzbergrodeo from June 16-19.
Watch Sunday’s race live on Red Bull TV from 14.00CET.
Championship Standings (After Round 2)
1. Billy Bolt (Husqvarna) 30pts; 2. Graham Jarvis (Husqvarna) 30pts; 3. Teodor Kabakchiev (KTM) 27pts; 4. Mario Roman (Sherco) 26pts 5. Wade Young (Sherco) 22pts; 6. Alfredo Gomez (GASGAS) 21pts; 7. Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM) 20pts; 8. Michael Walkner (GASGAS) 18pts; 9. David Cyprian (KTM) 16pts; 10. Dominik Olszowy (GASGAS) 14pts…