The Toughest Enduro In The World? BMW UPDATE!

It's called the toughest enduro race in the world and after reading about it, I'm pretty sure I believe the hype. The Austrian Erzberg Rodeo is upon us and BMW will be there in force, hopefully with lots of bandages and gallons of the German version of Bactine.

You know anything that unflinchingly uses words like 'humiliation' and 'torture' is bound to be entertaining from a distance, but if this particular form of sadomasochism is your cup of tea, I'm sad to inform you that you're too late for Erzberg '09. Registration is full with 1500 competitors from 34 nations all eager to shout in their various languages, "Hold my beer and watch this!" In addition to the competitors are 100 emergency staff ( mountain rescue, Red Cross and paramedics) and six helicopters. The most prominent disclaimer on the Erzberg homepage is "Riders who need air ambulance services after an accident will have to cover all the costs themselves." So bring Bactine, bandages AND a high limit credit card!

The 'Erzbergrodeo' begins with the Iron Road Prologue, in which riders can ride scooters, sidecar rigs, ATVs, dirtbikes, even Harley street bikes up a nearly ten-mile stretch of mountain. The fastest in the Prologue free-for-all move on to the torture and treachery of the Red Bull Hare Scramble, the Rodeo-X Endurocross or the new Rocket Race. Only 500 of the fastest finishers in the Iron Road Prologue will move on to the Red Bull Hare Scramble, a 4-hour 1-mountain flog staight up a threatening, boulder-strewn, switchback-laden mountain.

Defending champ Blazusiak

KTM factory rider Taddy Blazusiak will be back to defend his title. Former two-time winner and Dakar Champion Cyril Despres will be trying to unseat him. German Andreas Lettenbicher and Austrian enduro champion Gerhard Forster, Rudi Poschl, Jade Gutzeit and Gray Dick will all be taking on the Iron Giant on the BMW G450X. As one event publication put it, "This is going to be one crazy race."

  • To see the Erzberg in all its gory glory, rent the documentary called "Tougher Than Iron: The Enduro at Erzberg 2008".


Taddy Blazusiak was once again crowned champion of the "Iron Giant" but the BMW team riders acquitted themselves very well. Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport´s Andreas "Letti" Lettenbichler placed third in the famous Hare Scramble, and rode the BMW 450 X into the finals of the inaugural Rocket Ride.

"What a brutal affair," said Lettenbichler of the Hare Scramble. "Rocks everywhere and lots of new sections. There were no lines to keep riding, all you could do was drag and tow the bike.“
Lettenbichler finished third in 2:25,17 hrs, behind Poland´s Blazusiak and Britain´s Graham Jarvis.

Interestingly enough, Letti did well on a much heavier 4-stroke while many of his top-challenging competitors rode lighter 2-strokes.
BMW South Africa´s Jade Gutzeit, who enjoyed the support of BMW Motorsport at the Erzbergrodeo, managed to score 15th place. Out of 500 riders qualified for the Hare Scramble, only 21 made it to the mountain top.

Erzberg Hare Scramble Top Ten Finishers
1. Tadeusz Blazusiak (POL), 1:41,46
2. Graham Jarvis (GBR), 2:22,05
3. Andreas Lettenbichler (GER), 2:25,17, BMW Motorrad Motorsport
4. Ben Hemingway (GBR), 3:27,48
5. Cory Graffunder (CAN), 3:37,50
6. Rory Mead (NZL), 3:38,02
7. Dan Hemingway (GBR), 3:54,24
8. Chris Birch (NZL), 3:55,01
9. Gerhard Forster (GER), 3:58,21, BMW Motorrad Motorsport
10. Kyle Redmond (USA), 4:08,49

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