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25 Years of Insane Erzberg

The Erzbergrodeo celebrated its 25th edition this year, at round three of the World Enduro Super Series. The world-renowned Austrian Hard Enduro has witnessed many great battles and triumphs during its quarter of a century history, creating household names and notable careers for those who have graced the top step of the podium.

South Africa’s Alfie Cox was the first rider to write his name on that elusive list when he won the inaugural running of the event back in 1995. Claiming a double win in 1996 and 1997, Germany’s Chris Pfeiffer put himself on the Enduro map and with two more victories coming in 2000 and 2004 he went on to become the joint-second most successful rider ever to compete in the Erzbergrodeo Red Bull Hare Scramble. Italy’s Stefano Passeri took his KTM to the top of the podium in 1999.

Multi-time world champions and Dakar Rally winners have also conquered the Iron Giant over the years. Five-time World Enduro champion Giovanni Sala (Italy) has a winner’s trophy in his home, while five-time Dakar Rally winner Cyril Despres (France) stood atop the podium in 2002 and 2003. Enduro’s most decorated world champion Juha Salminen (Finland) was victorious in 2001, while sporting legend David Knight (GB) was the rider to beat in 2005 and 2006.

However, it’s Poland’s Taddy Blazusiak (KTM) – one of the contenders battling to become this year’s ULTIMATE ENDURO CHAMPION – who has the most victories around the Iron Giant. Claiming a breathtaking five consecutive Erzbergrodeo Red Bull Hare Scramble victories from 2007 until 2011, Blazusiak is the most successful rider to compete in the Austrian race. Winning at the first time of asking in 2007, that memorable victory catapulted the KTM rider onto the world stage and led him to become a household name, going on to enjoy an illustrious career.

A fresh-faced Jonny Walker (KTM – GB) bounced onto the Enduro scene in 2011, placing third overall in his debut ride. Twelve months later and he secured his first of three Erzbergrodeo Red Bull Hare Scramble victories to cement his place in Enduro folklore. But still only 28 years young, and runner-up in 2018, another Iron Giant triumph is well within his grasp. As the 2018 winner, Graham Jarvis (Husqvarna) enters this year’s race with four wins to his name. The British rider has been an Erzbergrodeo stalwart for over a decade and has become monumental in creating iconic racing memories. Arguably his greatest victory in 2013 came in the most horrendous of conditions and against the odds.

Greeted with flash floods and starting from row two, Jarvis carved his way through the pack to win the wettest edition on record. The Erzbergrodeo Red Bull Hare Scramble has a habit of creating historic memories and in 2015 we witnessed no less than four winners on the top step of the podium. In a now iconic twist of faith, the Iron Giant tried to stop everyone in their tracks, including the world’s best Enduro riders. Teaming up in true Enduro spirit, Graham Jarvis, Andreas Lettenbichler (GER), Jonny Walker and Alfredo Gomez (ESP) overcame the notorious Downtown section, eventually crossing the finish line together as joint winners.

Two years later and Gomez finally etched his name onto the winners list as a ‘solo’ winner, becoming the first Spaniard to do so. For the 25th edition of the Erzbergrodeo Red Bull Hare Scramble, and round three of WESS, Jarvis starts as favourite and is eager to join Blazusiak at the top of that illustrious winners list. However, the competition for victory will be fiercely contested. Among those chasing a debut win include Germany’s Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM).

A win on Sunday would see him emulate his father Andreas, while becoming the youngest victor of the race and the only father and son duo to have claimed a win. Cody Webb (KTM) is another rider keen to create history. Twice a podium finisher, going one step higher on the box would see Webb become the first American winner in the event’s 25-year history.