Germany’s Manuel Lettenbichler has ridden to victory at round seven of the FIM Hard Enduro World Championship, Red Bull Outliers in Canada.
Lettenbichler overcame a titanic battle with home favourite Trystan Hart to take the win and claim the championship lead with just one round remaining. Mario Roman pushed the duo hard all the way to round out the podium in third.
Making its first ever stop on Canadian soil, the FIM Hard Enduro World Championship witnessed a bar-to-bar battle at Red Bull Outliers. In the heart of its Badlands region, the world’s best Hard Enduro riders went head-to-head at the penultimate round of the season.
Staged across two days, racing got underway in downtown Calgary with an urban Endurocross prologue. However, with the weather turning sour, extremely heavy rain meant the action was short-lived with racing brought to an early close for the day.
With the weather back on side for Sunday, riders faced a two-and-a-half-hour multi-lap Hard Enduro battle through the Badlands region. Famed for its dinosaur fossils, the barren area also served up a mean Hard Enduro course. Steep climbs, tricky off camber traverses and tough drop offs ensured a brutal course to master.
Chasing a home win, Hart meant business at Red Bull Outliers and was eager to add to the victory he secured last time out at Red Bull TKO. However, with round seven also serving as the penultimate stop of the season, it was crunch time for both Roman and Lettenbichler in the championship fight. Separated by only one point, in Roman’s favour, going into the event both knew a winning result in Canada could dramatically turn the tables heading into round eight.
Hart was quick off the line and tried to make a break, but Lettenbichler, and soon after Roman, had closed the gap. Numerous times each rider pushed to open a lead, but every time they were pulled back in. Back and forth, the lead changed hands multiple times.
With the laps closing down Lettenbichler made a final break for it, taking Hart with him, Roman unable to respond this time. The duo were neck and neck. With the final climb set to decide the outcome, Lettenbichler left it all on the line. Despite a mistake in the final 20 metres, he was quick to remount and took the win by just six seconds.
Although missing out on the home win he came to get, Hart was happy with his efforts for second. Completing the podium, Roman finished just three minutes behind in third. With the top three breaking away, Graham Jarvis took fourth, while Taddy Blazusiak rounded out the top five.
With one round remaining, the advantage is now on Lettenbichler’s side. The German holds a four-point lead over Roman, with just the eighth and final round of the 2022 FIM Hard Enduro World Championship remaining, the 24MX Hixpania Hard Enduro on October 7-9.
“I’m pretty tired but so stoked to take the win,” Lettenbichler said. “It was such an epic battle all the way. The race was so intense, we were back and forward all the time. Trystan really wanted it and wasn’t giving up, but I wasn’t giving up either. And I just made it for the win. For the championship, it’s a pretty good result too. I’m leading now with one round to go and with Trystan finishing second today it’s added a few extra points between Mario and myself too.”
Provisional Results: Round 7 – Red Bull Outliers
1 Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM)
2 Trystan Hart (KTM)
3 Mario Roman (Sherco)
4 Graham Jarvis (Husqvarna)
5 Taddy Blazusiak (GASGAS)
Provisional Championship Standings (After round 7)
1 Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM) 107 Points
2 Mario Roman (Sherco) 103 Points
3 Graham Jarvis (Husqvarna) 82 Points
4 Teodor Kabakchiev (KTM) 72 Points
5 Billy Bolt (Husqvarna) 62 Points
6 Alfredo Gomez (GASGAS) 57 Points
7 Michael Walkner (GASGAS) 57 Points
8 David Cyprian (KTM) 57 Points
9 Trystan Hart (KTM) 50 Points
10 Wade Young (Sherco) 46 Points