As the traditional Hard Enduro season opener, the 2013 Tough One event proved to be every bit as challenging as in previous years, despite several of the harder sections of the track being eased in anticipation of the wet weather. With early morning snow covering the quarry in a temporary white blanket, the start of the Pro race thankfully took place under dry skies.
Eager to make a good start Walker found himself down in eighth as he fired his KTM 300 EXC into life. Battling his way up the leader board Jonny was quickly among the race leaders but in trying to pass eventual winner Graham Jarvis fell, losing valuable time and covering his hands in mud. Forced to stop and remove his gloves, having tried to ride on for several laps, Walker then pulled into the pits for fresh gloves and goggles. Losing sight of Jarvis, Jonny pushed hard to close the gap but was unable to reduce the deficit. Riding unchallenged for the majority of the race Jonny comfortably claimed the runner-up result.
Jonny Walker (KTM 300 EXC): “I didn’t get the best of starts as it was pretty full-on when the flag dropped. As everyone started I was getting pulled and pushed, but I made it to my bike ok, just a little further behind the leader than I had hoped. I was about eighth as I started but managed to move forward several places quite quickly.
“But then I fell trying to pass Graham – he went one way and I went anther, and it didn’t work out for me. My gloves got completely covered in mud, and then I started getting arm-pump because I couldn’t hold on properly. I decided to remove my gloves and then had to stop for clean ones, and that’s when I lost Graham’s wheel. I pushed hard to try and catch him, and did manage to close the gap at one stage, but he was riding really well and I just wasn’t able to get back in contention with him.
“The course was plenty extreme enough. There were no big stoppers, but it was really enjoyable. I didn’t get stuck behind any riders, which was good, but once Graham opened up a gap I just couldn’t close it. I’m pleased to start the year with a podium result, and enjoyed the race despite things not quite going to plan early on. I know where I can make improvements so I’ll work hard to be ready for my next race.”