Enduro

Manuel Lettenbichler Wins Red Bull Erzbergrodeo 2022

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Photo of Manuel Lettenbichler at the 2022 Red Bull Erzbergrodeo
Winner Manuel Lettenbichler successfully reached the famous finish line in just under three hours, having raced through some of the most grueling sections seen on the FIM Hard Enduro calendar.

In what was a near-perfect ride Germany’s Manuel Lettenbichler claimed a hard-fought victory at round three of the 2022 FIM Hard Enduro World Championship, the Red Bull Erzbergrodeo.

Out of action since 2019, the legendary Red Bull Erzbergrodeo roared back into life for round three of the FIM Hard Enduro World Championship. And it didn’t disappoint! In what proved an epic 26th edition at the Iron Giant, it was Manuel Lettenbichler who led home the field of 500 starters. A debut win for the German, it also marked the first father and son duo to win the race, with Mani matching his father Andreas’ victory in 2015.

At 14.30CET the long-awaited Red Bull Erzbergrodeo finally began. With all the top contenders qualified on the front row, the battle was on to get a wheel in front. Hungry to lead, Lettenbichler was quick to do so, and it was a position he would never let go of.

Photo of Mario Roman at the 2022 Red Bull Erzbergrodeo
Spaniard Mario Roman finished second at the 2022 Red Bull Erzberg Rodeo in Eisenerz. Photo: Joerg Mitter

As the competitors battled section after section, Lettenbichler led the way. Early on, home favorite Michael Walkner was close behind in second, with Billy Bolt, Teodor Kabakchiev, and Roman in contention. Drama struck championship leader Graham Jarvis off the start as a technical issue resulted in him taking over one hour to make repairs before continuing.

As the race progressed, the new section of Udo’s Playground – an uphill rock garden – saw the leading group of Lettenbichler, Walkner, and Roman bunch up. Dropping into the infamous Carl’s Dinner, Lettenbichler had managed to extend that gap while Roman overtook a fading Walkner to move into second.

Trystan Hart became the first Canadian to podium at Austria’s Iron Giant with third. Photo: Future&Media

With the latter sections coming hard and fast, the fight for victory hung in the balance between Lettenbichler and Mario. At times there was very little in it, but Lettenbichler always maintained the upper hand, pushing through to take a memorable three-minute margin of victory after three hours of racing.

Behind the top two, Trystan Hart was showing incredible pace in just his second time racing at the Iron Giant. The Canadian was inside the top five early on, before slipping back to seventh at Udo’s Playground. Giving it absolutely everything through Carl’s Dinner, Hart reached the top five before then moving to third. Negotiating the final sections of Dynamite and Lazy Noon, Hart crossed the finish line to become the first Canadian to podium at Red Bull Erzbergrodeo.

Photo of Billy Bolt at the 2022 Red Bull Erzbergrodeo
Fourth place for Billy Bolt extends his lead in the FIM Hard Enduro World Championship after round three. Photo: Future7Media

With the podium complete, the battle for the remainder of the top five was played out between Bolt and Gomez. At Motorex Highway, Gomez was ahead but Bolt was not giving up. Pushing on, he found a way past to take fourth, with Alfredo completing the top five.

After an incredible start, an exhausted Walkner hung on to take sixth and become the best-finishing Austrian in the 26 editions of the Red Bull Erzbergrodeo. An up and down race for South Africa’s Wade Young saw him take seventh.

Putting in an incredible ride, and securing his first finish of the Red Bull Erzbergrodeo, Matthew Green was the eighth and final finisher of this year’s race. The result puts him as the top Junior of the 2022 Red Bull Erzbergrodeo.

For Jarvis fans, the Hard Enduro legend put in one of the comeback stories of the day. After re-joining the race from the start line after one hour, and last of the 500 competitors, Graham raced his way to CP21 Carl’s Dinner to take an amazing 18th.

Photo of the start at the 2022 Red Bull Erzbergrodeo

“Ahh, I’m definitely exhausted,” Lettenbichler said after the race. “I had to push so hard, but I’m completely over the moon. Winning this race has always been on the bucket list. I got close a couple of times, but now it’s done, it’s ticked! The whole race was so stressful, especially with Mario so close during the second half of it too. As the first rider in Motorex Highway, there was no line and I had to move trees. I just had to keep pushing. I’m so stoked though. I always said I wanted another trophy into the Lettenbichler house and now I’ve finally made it happen!”

Second-placed Mario Roman echoed Lettenbichler’s thoughts, “It was super hard. We had walked a lot of sections, but there were a lot of surprises to contend with,” Roman said. “It was probably the hardest edition I’ve ever done. Mani and I were close all the way and at Dynamite it was down to nearly 20 metres, but I couldn’t close the gap. He rode a great race. I lost my grandfather on Monday too, so I want to dedicate this result to him.”

Third-placed Trystan Hart, who became the first Canadian to podium at the Iron Giant, with third was happy to be on the podium but left ruing mistakes. “On the section before Carl’s Dinner I made a huge mistake and dropped to about eighth,” Hart explained. “I thought my chances were done. When I got to Carl’s Dinner I knew I had to make a run for it there if I wanted a good result. But that took a lot out of me and I was exhausted coming out of it. I wasn’t crazy tired, but I was cramping so bad in my legs. Getting on the podium is a huge result for me. I really wanted to put Canada on the map for Hard Enduro, so hopefully this does it!”

Billy Bolt secured a career-best fourth at Red Bull Erzbergrodeo. The result sees the Brit extend his lead at the head of the FIM Hard Enduro World Championship after round three.

“That was hard, probably the hardest Erzbergrodeo I’ve ever done so I’m happy with fourth considering my fitness and the injuries I’ve got,” Bolt said. “I was struggling a little at Machine, but I just kept plugging away and taking things section by section. I managed to pass two riders in the closing stages to get fourth, so I’m happy for that and to also extend my lead in the championship is sweet too.”

The FIM Hard Enduro World Championship continues with round four at Red Bull Abestone in Italy on July 8-10.

Photo of Manuel Lettenbichler at the 2022 Red Bull Erzbergrodeo
Manuel Lettenbichler (C), Marios Roman (L) and Trystan Hart (R) on the podium at the third stop of the FIM Hard Enduro World Championship.

Results: Round 3 – Red Bull Erzbergrodeo
1 Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM) 2:58:51
2 Mario Roman (Sherco) 3:02:17
3 Trystan Hart (KTM) 3:11:53
4 Billy Bolt (Husqvarna) 3:18:25
5 Alfredo Gomez (GASGAS) 3:20:30
6 Michael Walkner (GASGAS) 3:40:32
7 Wade Young (Sherco) 3:55:13
8 Matthew Green (KTM) 3:55:54

Championship Standings (After round three)
1 Billy Bolt (Husqvarna) 45 Points
2 Mario Roman (Sherco) 43 Points
3 Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM) 40 Points
4 Graham Jarvis (Husqvarna) 37 Points
5 Teodor Kabakchiev (KTM) 35 Points
6 Alfredo Gomez (GASGAS) 33 Points
7 Wade Young (Sherco) 32 Points
8 Michael Walkner (GASGAS) 29 Points
9 David Cyprian (KTM) 16 Points
10 Matthew Green (KTM) 16 Points

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