From KTM Newsletter
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jonny Walker continued his winning ways in tough extreme events this season on Sunday when he picked up yet another victory at the Red Bull 111 Megawatt Hard Enduro in Poland.
Walker’s golden season continues to mark him as one of the most skilled riders in these challenging events as he battled it out, this time in the black earth of Poland’s Belcharow coalmine. Riding his KTM 300 EXC, Walker again got the edge over rival Graham Jarvis while Sweden’s Joakim Ljunggrenfinished third riding a KTM 450 EXC.
A large field of 700 riders battled it out in the short sandy prologue on Saturday, with the fastest 500 qualifying for the main event on Sunday. Prologue finishing times decided the starting order, and similar to the Erzbergrodeo’s Red Bull Hare Scramble, rider went off in waves. Walker, who was fourth fastest qualifier, was naturally in the front row of Sunday’s starters.
Sunday’s race was three 21km loops of the course. Walker got away well but the holeshot honors went to Ljunggren on the bigger KTM 450 EXC machine. Jonny stuck with Ljunggren in the opener and continued to push to try to get the edge on him in case the Swede decided not to stop to refuel. Walker managed to pull about a ten-second advantage before the fuel stop. Both riders opted to refuel and Walker took off at speed to put as much distance between him and Ljunggren.
Walker stopped for fuel on the final lap but Ljunggren did not. He managed to narrow the gap to Jonny but wasn’t able to make the pass. Walker then turned up the heat and crossed the line over two minutes ahead of him. Ljunggren looked certain to take second but then he got monetarily stuck on a small hill just before the finish line. It was at that point that Jarvis, the man they like to call ‘the silent assassin’, slipped past and knocked him down to third.
Jonny Walker: “I’m made up with the win – it’s exactly the result I was aiming for. After finishing second last year I really wanted to win badly today. To be honest I can’t really fault my race too much. I got a decent start and tucked in behind Joakim on the first lap. But it was so dusty so I made a big effort to pass him and get into the lead. Shortly afterwards I crashed and dropped three places. Pushing hard to regroup I got back into the lead before the first refuel point starting lap two. After that I just tried to ride my own race, avoid and trouble and take the win.”
Joakim Ljunggren: “I’m disappointed with myself for letting second place slip away on the final hill. I rode great right through the race. I got the holeshot, led for most of the first lap and was never too far away from Jonny. I felt fresh entering the final climb but then it went wrong. I got stuck and probably should have dealt with the situation better. Then Graham got by and I finished third. But I’m pleased with how I rode and showed that in the early part of the race I had the pace to match Jonny.”
Also competing was young Manuel Lettenbichler, son of Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Andreas Lettenbichler, who is currently out with injury. Manuel continued to impress and finished a very creditable fifth in Sunday’s event.
Manuel Lettenbichler: “I’m very pleased with fifth. I had a great battle for most of the race with Alfredo Gomez. We were fighting for third until Graham passed us on the final lap. Then I got stuck on a climb and lost touch with Alfredo and had to settle for fifth. But it’s been a good race and it’s nice to show again that I can battle with these guys.”
Missing from the race lineup was Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Taddy Blazusiak, currently recovering from a bout of the strength sapping Epstein Barr Virus. Taddy was at the track to support the KTM riders, and to greet his many Polish fans. He expects to return to competition for the opening round the FIM SuperEnduro World Championship at the end of the year.
Results Red Bull 111 Megawatt Hard Enduro 2015
1. Jonny Walker (GBR), KTM, 1:41:21.85 h
2. Graham Jarvis (GBR), Husqvarna, +2:48.37 min
3. Joakim Ljunggren (SWE), KTM, +2:54.00
4. Alfred Gomez (ESP), Husqvarna, +3:34.54
5. Manuel Lettenbichler (GER), KTM, +4:28.21
More online: Red Bull 111 Megawatt