Competing in the weeklong King of the Hammers offroad racing festival for the first time, Manuel Lettenbichler kicked off his 2020 racing season in the arid, rocky Californian desert. Racing in the GPS based King of the Motos – a natural extreme offroad event designed to test the mental, physical and mechanical fortitude of all competitors – the reigning WESS Enduro World Champion challenged for the win throughout the three-lap race.
Qualifying well, Mani took the King of the Motos holeshot, reaching the top of the event’s first rock-strewn climb ahead of more experienced desert racers Cody Webb, Trystan Hart and Colton Haaker. With the leading quartet completing much of the opening lap together, Lettenbichler edged ahead on lap two, together with Webb.
With the event increasing in difficulty, Lettenbichler successfully completed the second lap before a trouble-free pit stop saw him ready to take on the third and hardest lap of the event. Frustratingly, while continuing to challenge for the win, a wrong line choice while riding through a canyon used earlier in the day resulted in Mani receiving a one-hour time penalty.
Despite the penalty he incurred, Lettenbichler still finished on the podium to make a highly-positive start to his participation in the 2020 AMA Extreme Off-Road West Series.
Lettenbichler will return to the 2020 AMA Extreme Off-Road West Series on March 28/29 for the RevLimiter Extreme Enduro, in Decatur, Texas.
Manuel Lettenbichler: “King of the Motos has been a great experience, racing out in the desert is such a cool thing to do. Yeah, I’m a little disappointed that I wasn’t able to win, but the small mistake I made close to the end of the race cost me a chance of a better result. I think I was only 20 meters off line but I will learn from this for next year. Riding in the desert for the first time has been a completely new experience, but it was so much fun. It’s very different to what I’m used to, and it’s been difficult to adapt to everything in just a few days. Racing with GPS is also pretty new to me. I would say that I got used to it all and I felt like I rode well. Everything was good apart from my one mistake close to the end of the race – qualifying went well, I got the holeshot in the main race, my bike was awesome, I rode well, my pit stops were good and I was running up front. There’s not too much I can be unhappy with. Starting this championship with a podium result is a great beginning to the season.”
Results: 2020 AMA Extreme Off-Road West Series Round One – King of the Motos
- Cody Webb (USA), Sherco
- Trystan Hart (USA), KTM
- Manuel Lettenbichler (GER), KTM