Erzbergrodeo: Lettenbichler writes history / Hard Enduro World Championships

Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM Factory Racing Team) gets the victory everyone wants: he wins the Ersbergroteo for the third time in a row and is now unbeaten in 10 World Championship races.

After 35 km and 27 checkpoints, only 9 of the 500 participants reached the finish line in the 28th edition of the world’s most prestigious hard enduro race in Styria, Austria. Manuel Lettenbichler from Kiefersfelden drove his KTM over the finish line in a breathtaking time and didn’t give his pursuers the slightest chance on the “Iron Giant”. He is also writing motorsport history with his 10th consecutive World Cup win.

German Chris Gundermann took the holeshot at the start from the pit and led the race until just before the first checkpoint, known as the Water Pipe. However, Lettenbichler overtook him on the track and pulled away from his pursuers as the race progressed.

In 4th place out of 27 checkpoints, the hard enduro’s dominance was 30 seconds ahead of Jonny Walker (GB, Beta) who has already won the Ersbergroteo three times. After Lettenbichler fell behind Theodor Kabaksiev (Sherko) and Will Hoare (Riju) at checkpoint 6, he was back in front after two more checkpoints and never relinquished the lead after that.

30 minutes after the start, the leading group reached the “Carl’s Dinner Light” section, where “Letty” picked up the pace and managed to gain five minutes better than Canadian Tristan Hart. The Kiefersfelden player continued to increase their lead in the following divisions, and the victory was never in danger. Especially in the most technically demanding sections in the woods, Lettenbichler showed his best class and mastered one important point after another.

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It’s worth noting that no route inspection is allowed this year, meaning the new sections in particular demand everything from the drivers. What was required here was quick selection of the right lines and riders with a testing background always had an advantage due to their experience in technically demanding sections.

Behind Lettenbichler things remained exciting until the end. Tristan Hart got off to a very poor start, crashing in the first bend and then putting 49 participants on the front row before him. But the Canadian didn’t let that discourage him, overtaking one opponent after another in the tough and narrow passages, showing true strength and taking his KTM to second place.

Behind Hart, Mario Roman (Sherko) and legend Graham Jarvis battled it out for the rest of the podium. In the segment “Motorex Highway” they both get stuck in a driveway and help each other. The camaraderie that makes the grueling sport of enduro so special and valuable was once again evident here, as even the best drivers always help each other out in critical racing situations.

Mario Roman paid tribute to Jarvis, now 49, at the end of the interview. During the final interview, Jarvis, who has already won the Ersbergroteo five times, announced to rapturous applause from fans that he would make another attempt next year at the “biblical” age of 50. The performance of the exceptional driver, also known as the “Silent Assassin”, cannot be overstated because it was unique to finish fourth at the age of 49 and leave behind drivers not even half his age.

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Mitch Bridmore finished eighth in the 4-hour race and was therefore the top driver in the Junior World Championship standings.

Manuel Lettenbichler explained: “I’m really tired now, it’s a crazy race. When I go into some new sections, I’m like, ‘Are you crazy?’ But they did a good job on the track this year, and somehow I always found it funny to get your third win at Ersbergroteo.

Tristan Hart said: “The start was obviously very bad, I had to come round the field from behind, it was like a war zone. But in the narrow places I was able to overtake four drivers here and five drivers there. At Carl’s Dinner I got to second and felt really good, Not tired. Shortly after Carl’s dinner, Dio and Graham were closing in. But I haven’t made any big mistakes since then, and I can improve on that.

Mario Roman, for his part, commented: “When you come to Ersbergroteo, you always expect a hard race. But this time I found it ten times harder. There were many new sections, hard rocky areas, and in the forest it was very slippery. In the first 45 minutes of the race I was very Struggled, but after that it went well, I was able to overtake four riders on a slip road, and I’m very grateful to Graham for helping me on the Motorex highway. I even thought about waiting for Graham for a moment, because it’s nice to fight for third place with a driver like that.

Preliminary result Red Bull Erzbergrodeo

1. Manuel Lettebichler (KTM) 2:47:23,277 hrs
2. Trystan Hart (KTM) 3:07:40,648
3. Mario Roman (Sherko) 3:21:47,03
4. Graham Jarvis (KTM) 3:23:39,296
5. Wade Young (GASGAS) 3:39:48,824
6. Theodor Kabakshev (Sherko) 3:40:27,812
7. Johnny Walker (Beta) 3:40:28,735
8. Mitch Brightmore (Husqvarna) 3:48:32.153
9. Matthew Green (KTM) 3:56:31,455

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Provisional World Championship standings after 2 out of 7 races

1. Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM) 45 pts
2. Theodore Kabakshev (Sherko) 30
3. Mario Roman (Sherko) 30
4. Wade Young (GASGAS) 25
5. Mitch Brightmore (Husqvarna) 19

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