Alfredo Gomez landed a convincing victory at the first edition of the Red Bull Minas Riders Hard Enduro Rally in Brazil. Winning three out of four days of racing he kicked off his Red Bull Hard Enduro season in the best possible way.
Despite only focusing his attentions back to Hard Enduro five weeks ago following the end of the FIM SuperEnduro World Championship, Gomez showed improved navigational skills and renewed determination to win.
Enduro21 caught up with Alfredo before he headed home to Spain to find out more about his winning ride in Brazil…
Alfredo, it seems that you had a clear strategy to attack the race from the start. How did that pan out for you?
“My goal was to push hard from the beginning and that’s what I did. I had worked a lot to be ready for this race and luckily everything worked out well. The tracks were tricky but I felt confident with my bike and managed to create a gap to Graham (Jarvis) early on. To be fair, as we were getting closer to the finish I became a little nervous despite holding a good lead. But I settled into things and began to enjoy the ride a lot more.”
Do you think your Minas Riders result is a clear statement that you’re looking for success in 2016?
“Winning the first Red Bull Hard Enduro of 2016 was fantastic and I think I proved I’m a much better rider now than I was last year. My speed in long extreme enduro races was never a big issue, it was the navigational skills that I seemed to be lacking. I’ve worked really hard to improve on that and I think that last week in Brazil I showed I can be good at both.”
The SuperEnduro World Championship finished five weeks ago, how hard was it to make the switch to outdoor racing?
“I knew long before that there wouldn’t be much time to switch from indoor to outdoor racing so I tried to make the most of the time given. Three days after the SuperEnduro final in Madrid I started working hard for Minas Riders. Since then I’ve been riding almost every day up until the time I boarded the place to Brazil. I’ve also been doing a lot of GPS training. I’m lucky enough to have good friends who help me a lot preparing the GPS tracks back home. I just can’t thank them enough.”
You got off to a flying start on day one at Minas Riders. Was that the way you planned things?
“Yes, that was actually the way I wanted things to happen. It was a perfect start for me. The offroad part in the morning was hard both physically and mentally. I pushed a lot from the start and came out with a gap of almost five minutes to Graham (Jarvis) in the end. It was a key moment I believe, as I also surprised him. I think he was expecting me to be that strong and it worked to my advantage. Then we went to the prologue and obviously with a winter of SuperEnduro behind me that really helped to secure the win there.”
On day two your bike slid off a narrow ledge. How close did that come to ending your race?
“Day two was so long day it was draining your concentration for that length of time. I made a silly mistake before the service point. I let my back wheel slide a bit more than I should have and saw the bike sliding of a narrow ledge. It was impossible to pull it out but Lars Enockl and Philipp Scholz helped to get it out. A big thank you to them otherwise my race would be over. After that I pushed hard and made some time back. For some strange reason I was enjoying my riding a lot more each day after the service point.”
Jarvis launched his own attack on the last two days of the event. How did you manage to respond to that?
“The last two days were a hard battle all the way to the end. On day three Graham started about six minutes in front of me so I wanted to do my best to catch him. I rode well before service and then went on the attack after it. I managed to get him and knew then I’d gained more time on him. But I think I pushed my pace too hard because when we reached the final hill climb my tyre was toasted. I lost so much time but somehow managed to retain my lead. Then on the last day I was a bit nervous. But took my time to settle into things and pushed as much as I could to reach the finish line. I was so happy riding when it was all over and I was the winner.”
How important is to have good support in such multi-day events?
“It’s a big part of the whole picture. As a matter of fact I can’t thank enough Georgio and Damo and all the KTM family for helping me earn this victory. I’d also like to dedicate my victory to a close friend of mine Alberto Lessmann who sadly passed away while I was racing in Brazil. The victory is for Alberto.”
Finally, with Erzberg now little more than a month away, are you looking forward to make another statement there?
"Yes, I'm definitely looking forward to Erzberg now. My goal is to keep working hard. If I manage to stay focused on my training plan I'm pretty sure the results will come."