The Iron Giant is back! It’s all systems go this week as the FIM Hard Enduro World Championship heads to Austria’s iconic Red Bull Erzbergrodeo for round three. Put on hold during the Covid pandemic, the idyllic Austrian town of Eisenerz will once again come alive to the excitement of Hard Enduro, as thousands of competitors and race fans ready themselves for the Red Bull Erzbergrodeo. The ultimate tests of man and machine versus the mountain, the four-day festival is one everyone has been waiting for in 2022.
• Red Bull Erzbergrodeo returns this coming weekend
• The iconic Iron Giant plays host to HEWC round three
• Four days of Hard Enduro action begins on Thursday
• Watch Sunday’s Red Bull Erzbergrodeo live on Red Bull TV
This year’s Red Bull Erzbergrodeo is long awaited. The Iron Giant has lay dormant since 2019, but now it’s finally ready to roar into life again. Excitement is already running high. While Sunday’s epic Red Bull Erzbergrodeo is naturally the showstopper of the event, everything about this legendary four-day festival is all things Hard Enduro – thousands of riders and fans all having a good time on dirt bikes.
Just for fun, Thursday’s MITAS Rocket Ride kicks the action into life. An infamous hill climb, competitors go head-to-head through a series of qualifiers trying to tame one of the Iron Giant’s cliff-like quarry walls. Home hero Ossi Reisinger has in recent times made this race his own and no doubt he’ll be looking to make it four wins in a row. Things turn high-speed on Friday with the first day of the Blaklader Iron Road Prologue. A test of flat-out speed and bravery, competitors tackle the quarry roads in a 13-kilometre-long time trial race from the bottom of the mountain right to the top. Some take it seriously as they bid for one of the 500 places available for Sunday’s main event, while the remainder of the 1,200 strong entry just want to have fun. Everything goes for the Blaklader Iron Road Prologue, from full-factory prepped Enduro race bikes to wild screaming street bikes with offroad tyres, and not forgetting the occasional pimped out moped! Saturday is again another day of qualification on the Blaklader Iron Road Prologue as those on the fringes of qualification give it one last shot, while others aim to better their start grid position for Sunday.
Sunday’s Red Bull Erzbergrodeo is what everyone has been waiting for. No matter if you’re one of the 500 competitors nervously waiting for the off down on the quarry floor, a spectator lining the many vantage points along the course, or watching it live on Red Bull TV from the comfort of your living room, this is the biggest stage for Hard Enduro and is not to be missed. At the strike of 2.30pm riders are set loose on the iconic Red Bull Erzbergrodeo course. Waved away in groups of 50, it’s riders against the mountain. Only an elite few will cross the finish line within the four-hour allowed race time, with the majority scrambling to get as far as they can. From the early climbs of Wasserleitung and Three Kings, the course increases in difficulty with punishing sections like Machine, Carl’s Dinner, Cuckoo’s Nest, Dynamite, and Lazy Noon coming thick and fast. Expect a few new sections to be added into the mix too. Currently jointly leading the FIM Hard Enduro World Championship, Graham Jarvis has won the previous two editions of Red Bull Erzbergrodeo, in 2019 and 2018. Already on the podium twice during the 2022 season, the Jarvis Racing Team rider has high hopes of making it a hat trick.
However, Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Billy Bolt and KTM Factory Racing’s Manuel Lettenbichler are arguably his biggest challenge for victory come Sunday. Neither Bolt nor Lettenbichler have yet to stand on the top step of the Red Bull Erzbergrodeo podium, will Sunday see that change for one of them? Round three of the FIM Hard Enduro World Championship takes place at Austria’s Red Bull Erzbergrodeo from June 16-19. Watch Sunday’s race live on Red Bull TV from 2.00pm CET.