|Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jonny Walker, Taddy Blazusiak, Josep Garcia and Nathan Watson are fully prepared and ready to race round three of the World Enduro Super Series – the iconic Erzbergrodeo. The four-rider team will be joined in Austria by Laia Sanz as she attempts to become the first female rider to complete the world’s toughest one-day enduro and Cody Webb who is aiming to be the first American to top the Erzberg podium.|
Now celebrating its 25th year, Erzbergrodeo is one of the best known, and toughest, extreme enduro events in the world. 500 riders will take on the daunting ‘Iron Giant’ on Sunday June 2, and with only four hours to complete the course just a handful will make the finish.
The terrain of Erzberg is legendary. Held in one of Europe’s largest open-cast mines, riders will face near-vertical climbs right from the start, followed by treacherous descents, huge boulder gardens and technical forest tracks.
Three-time winner of the event, Jonny Walker comes to round three with the aim of claiming his fourth victory. Finishing as runner-up in 2018, Walker was just 41-seconds shy of the top step of the podium following over two hours of racing. Now one of the most experienced competitors in the event, the British rider knows what is needed to succeed.
Jonny Walker: “I’m happy with how the first two rounds of WESS have gone. My wrist has held up well and that gives me confidence for round three. Obviously Erzberg is a seriously tough race, but it’s also shorter than what we have been riding recently so I’m hoping I should be able to stay strong to the finish. The key to success is to have a solid race – make no mistakes, keep to a good pace and not burn yourself out by riding too fast. All being well, I’m confident of a strong result.”
The most successful rider at Erzberg – five-time winner Taddy Blazusiak – returns in 2019 also aiming to top the podium. Despite showing incredible pace at last year’s race, Taddy suffered a number of crashes that put him down the order, ultimately finishing eighth. Fully fit and motivated for 2019, the Polish star is looking forward to taking on the challenges of the Iron Giant once again.
Taddy Blazusiak: “With so many different types of races in WESS, it’s difficult to concentrate on one thing. My extreme riding has been going really well though recently and I’m feeling good, too. So much has to come together to get the win at Erzberg – a good start, saving energy, saving the bike – but if the weather is in our favour, I know I am capable of standing on the top step again.”
Successfully finishing at his first attempt, Josep Garcia returns to Erzberg hoping to improve on his 2018 result of 17th. However, as current WESS championship leader, the talented Spaniard knows the importance of earning good points at all events and will primarily be aiming for a safe finish to defend his series lead.
Josep Garcia: “I love Erzberg, it’s one of the hardest races in the world, but the atmosphere there is incredible. I was very happy to finish it last year but I know the result can be very different if things don’t go your way. My plan is to not take anything for granted and hopefully come away with a strong finish. This championship is long and every point counts.”
Nathan Watson enjoyed a strong 2018 Erzbergrodeo Red Bull Hare Scramble, but unfortunately timed out before reaching the chequered flag. With a year’s WESS experience now under his belt, the Red Bull Knock Out winner is aiming to reach the finish and defend his current fourth place in the 2019 WESS standings.
Nathan Watson: “I’m looking forward to Erzberg. For me it’s one of the most enjoyable extreme races as it’s more of a sprint that the likes of Romaniacs. I just fell short last year so the plan is to make the finish this year. My riding has come on so much since my first attempt so I’ll give it my best and hopefully should be able to come away with a good result.”
Joining the four WESS regulars, FMF KTM Factory Racing’s Cody Webb will once again take to the steep ascents of the Eisenerz quarry. Injured in the 2018 prologue, the two-time Red Bull Hare Scramble podium finisher aims to become the first American rider to claim the top step of the Erzberg podium.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Laia Sanz also hopes to make history in 2019 by becoming the first female rider to complete the tough event. The nine-time Dakar Rally finisher has been training hard over the past few months in preparation for the challenges of the world’s toughest one-day extreme enduro.
Erzbergrodeo – WESS round three – commences May 30 in Austria.