Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Manuel Lettenbichler has won the 27th edition of the Red Bull Erzbergrodeo. The result ensures Lettenbichler’s name goes down in history as one of the few riders to claim back-to-back victories at the iconic Austrian hard enduro. FMF KTM Factory Racing’s Trystan Hart secured the final podium position in his third participation at the Iron Giant.
A strong qualifying ride in the prologue held over Friday and Saturday saw Lettenbichler take his 2024 KTM 300 EXC to seventh place and safely qualify on the front row for the start of Sunday’s main race. When the flag dropped, Mani made an excellent start, soon moving into the top three after the first few climbs.
It was Trystan Hart who moved into an early lead with Mani right behind his KTM teammate, but at around 20 minutes into the race Lettenbichler pushed back in front, only to then lose his advantage to long-standing rival Billy Bolt. As the race entered the woods, Mani came into his own and put in a masterclass of hard enduro skill, strength, and technique to retake the lead and open up a sizeable gap to the chasing pack.
Riding smoothly and without incident, Lettenbichler completed the remaining kilometres of the course, including the tricky signature sections, to ultimately take the win by an impressive 11 minutes over the second-placed rider.
Mani now has two wins from two starts in his FIM Hard Enduro World Championship campaign and is well on the way to successfully defending his 2022 title.
Manuel Lettenbichler: “I can’t believe it! After the start, I was following Trystan, just conserving my energy a little, but then Billy passed me and looked really strong. He opened up a bit of a gap, but I knew I had to stay focused and ride my own race. When we got into the dirt of the hills, I knew I’d be able to make up some time, and thankfully it all came good. I was able to get back into the lead. After that, I just continued to maintain that solid pace and brought it home at the end. The new bike was incredible. We worked a lot over the winter, and it seems to have paid off as it felt perfect out there today.”
Making his third appearance at the Red Bull Erzbergrodeo, FMF KTM Factory Racing’s Trystan Hart got his race off to an excellent start and moved into an early lead, which he held through the first five checkpoints. Dropping down to third, the Canadian held his podium position all the way to the finish, despite a few errors costing him some time.
Happy with how he rode, but always wanting more, Hart now lies second in the FIM Hard Enduro World Championship standings, 12 points behind Lettenbichler, and now looks ahead to the next round of the series – Red Bull Romaniacs in late July.
Trystan Hart: “Taking back-to-back podiums is great, and a lot of people would be happy with that, but I’m a little disappointed as I really wanted to finish a little higher this year. I put myself into a really good position early on and was leading for the first 20 minutes or so. I made a few mistakes after that, even taking the wrong route and having to turn around – it’s all those little things that really sap your energy. It was a tough race and overall I’m happy with my riding, but my goal is to be here fighting for the wins with Mani and Billy, so I still need to work on some things and hopefully elevate things a little higher.”
Results – FIM Hard Enduro World Championship, Round 2
Red Bull Erzbergrodeo (Provisional)
1. Manuel Lettenbichler (GER), KTM, 2:31:15
2. Billy Bolt (GBR), Husqvarna, 2:42:15
3. Trystan Hart (CAN), KTM, 2:57:09
4. Jonny Walker (GBR), Beta, 2:59:30
5. Wade Young (RSA), Sherco, 3:04:21
9. Teodor Kabakchiev (BUL), KTM, 3:25:00