Back on the calendar for the first time since 2019, this year’s Red Bull Erzbergrodeo didn’t disappoint. Under a blazing sun and in temperatures reaching 30 degrees, the 500 starters faced hot and dusty conditions as well as the iconic named sections that earn the event the reputation as being the toughest one-day hard enduro in the world.
After a solid qualifying performance that saw him post the fifth fastest time on the Iron Road Prologue, Manuel Lettenbichler safely earned his front-row start for Sunday’s main race. A strong start off the line put Mani second into the first corner and after quickly making his way to the front, the KTM 300 EXC rider began to stretch a lead over the chasing pack.
As the first rider to face each and every section, Lettenbichler had to pick his own way through, creating his own lines through the ultra-technical terrain. Despite the disadvantage, Mani was able to maintain his lead and stay ahead of the hard-charging Mario Roman behind him.
Exhausted, 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. The victory marks the first father and son duo to claim the top step of the podium at the iconic race – Mani’s father Andreas was joint winner at the 2015 event.
Missing the first round of the FIM Hard Enduro World Championship due to recovering from surgery to his knee, Mani now has two wins from two starts in this year’s series and now lies third overall, trailing the championship leader by just five points.
Manuel Lettenbichler: “I think this year’s race will definitely go down as one of the hardest editions in history, especially the sections that they changed overnight – none of us really knew what to expect and the organisers certainly delivered. To take the win means so much to me. After my dad did it in 2015, I always said I wanted to bring another winner’s trophy back to the house and now I have done it! Another one ticked off the bucket list, that’s for sure.”
In only his second Red Bull Erzbergrodeo, FMF KTM Factory Racing’s Trystan Hart has definitely made his mark on the world of hard enduro with his third-place finish – the first ever Canadian to podium at the Iron Giant. A tough start saw Hart have to battle through a number of riders to make his way through to third place, but once there he was able to stick to a strong pace through the many tough sections on his way to the finish.
Although Trystan isn’t racing the full FIM Hard Enduro World Championship, he will line up for Red Bull Romaniacs, Red Bull TKO, and Red Bull Outliers later this season. The 25-year-old will undoubtedly be looking to mix it with the championship regulars once again.
Trystan Hart: “I set out to put Canada on the map and I think I managed to do that in style. They definitely stepped things up this year, we had walked a lot of the new sections, but as always, they changed them for the race, and some were near impossible. We all had a challenge today and I think if things had fallen a little differently, I could have been in contention for the win, but I’m so happy with third place and already looking forward to racing some more rounds of the Hard Enduro series.”
The next round of the FIM Hard Enduro World Championship will be Red Bull Abestone in Italy, from July 9-10.
Results – FIM Hard Enduro World Championship, Round 3
Red Bull Erzbergrodeo (Provisional)
1. Manuel Lettenbichler (GER) KTM 2:58:51
2. Mario Roman (ESP), Sherco 3:02:17
3. Trystan Hart (CAN), KTM 3:11:53
4. Billy Bolt (GBR), Husqvarna 3:18:25
5. Alfredo Gomez (ESP), GASGAS 3:20:30
Championship Standings (Provisional) After Round 3
1. Billy Bolt (GBR), Husqvarna 45pts
2. Mario Roman (ESP), Sherco 43pts
3. Manuel Lettenbichler (GER), KTM 40pts
4. Graham Jarvis (GBR), Husqvarna 37pts
5. Teodor Kabakchiev (BG), KTM 35pts