Josep Garcia sets the fastest time on his rookie run up Erzbergrodeo’s Iron Road Prolog ahead of Dakar winner, Matthias Walkner.
Turning up the heat at round two of the World Enduro Super Series in Austria, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Josep Garcia set a blisteringly fast qualification time on day one of the Erzbergrodeo Iron Road Prolog.
Garcia provisionally tops the standings on the first of two days contesting high speed runs up the Iron Giant against the clock and ahead of 1530 competitors.
Making his debut ride at the iconic Erzbergrodeo, the reigning Enduro 2 World Champion edged out 2018 Dakar Rally champion Matthias Walkner and two-time SuperEnduro World Champion Colton Haaker in third.
With qualification starting early at 08.00 hours, clear and sunny skies greeted the 1530-strong entry, all eager to blast their way up the infamous Iron Giant. Returning to action having missed the WESS opener in Portugal due to a knee injury, 2017 Erzbergrodeo Red Bull Hare Scramble winner Alfredo Gomez led the field away. Quickly followed by three-time winner Graham Jarvis and reigning SuperEnduro World Champion Cody Webb.
When the times were tallied up, it was Garcia who beat Walkner on his KTM 450 Rally bike by just over one second. Two seconds further back, Haaker stopped the clocks just two seconds further back in a tight top three finish.
Maintaining a good run of form during the 24th edition of the Erzbergrodeo, Mitas Rocket Ride winner Ossi Reisinger was fourth and with fellow countryman Walter Feichtinger fifth, it ensured three Austrian’s filled the top five positions in qualification.
With the fastest 50 earning a front row start for Sunday’s Erzbergrodeo Red Bull Hare Scramble, the main WESS contenders have all provisionally made the cut. Bear in mind though Walkner will not contest the main Hare Scramble come Sunday afternoon.
Runner-up at round one, Jonny Walker finished sixth, Travis Teasdale was seventh and Poland’s Taddy Blazusiak eighth. Behind were Paul Bolton, Cody Webb, Wade Young and Rannar Uusna with third placed finisher at WESS round one, Manuel Lettenbichler provisionally holding 13th for this epic enduro event.
Reserving himself a provisional front row for Sunday’s main race, championship leader Billy Bolt is 15th, with team-mate Jarvis two positions further back in 17th.
Aiming to make history as the first competitor on an electric-powered motorcycle to finish the Erzbergrodeo Red Bull Hare Scramble, Alta Motors’ Ty Tremaine is off to a promising start in 43rd.
Josep Garcia (KTM - ESP): “I’m so surprised to set the fastest time in today’s prologue. As it’s my first time here I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I really enjoyed my run up the Iron Giant. It was a crazy feeling to ride with such speed for so long. Hopefully I can hold onto my lead and start Sunday’s race with the number one plate on my bike.”
Matthias Walkner (KTM - AUT): “The prologue was a lot of fun today. There were lots of long straights and long sweeping corners to really show what my 450 Rally bike could do. I had hoped to be fastest, I gave it my best shot, but Josep just beat me to it. I’ll try again tomorrow to take the win.”
Colton Haaker (Husqvarna - USA): “This is my third year at the Erzbergrodeo and that’s my best qualification run so far, so I’m more than pleased with that. I’m happy just to secure a front row start but it is also nice to be a top three finisher today of over 1500 riders.”
The Erzbergrodeo continues with day two of qualification on Saturday, June 2, where competitors will get a second opportunity to try and claim one of the 500 places available for Sunday’s Erzbergrodeo Red Bull Hare Scramble.
Photo Credit: Future7Media
Top 10 Results:
- Josep Garcia (KTM) 10:11.02
- Matthias Walkner (KTM) 10:12.58
- Colton Haaker (Husqvarna) 10:14.88
- Ossi Reisinger (Husqvarna) 10:20.27
- Walter Feichtinger (KTM) 10:24.10
- Jonny Walker (KTM) 10:25.60
- Travis Teasdale (Beta) 10:25.57
- Taddy Blazusiak (KTM) 10:26.81
- Paul Bolton (KTM) 10:27.69; 10
- Cody Webb (KTM) 10:29.93
Jon PearsonEnduro21 Editor and Bike Testerjon.email@example.com