Motorsport: Hirscher faces Erzbergrodeo


After a two-year coronavirus break, the Erzberg is piling up again for the most daring motorcyclists in the world. The hunt for the rock trophy for the toughest off-road individual race is open from Thursday to Sunday. Ex-ski star Marcel Hirscher, who also wants to conquer the mountain, is also present at the 26th edition of the Erzbergrodeo. “Every checkpoint I make is a success,” said Hirscher.

“I’m really looking forward to this experience. For me, the journey is the reward and I will try to enjoy the race as much as possible,” added the 33-year-old.

The eight-time overall Ski World Cup winner will pilot a Husqvarna TE 300 with start number 89. Hirscher has been a passionate off-road motorcyclist for a long time. Last year, the man from Salzburg broke his leg at an enduro rally in Romania.

Walkner flirting with podium place

For the elite, the Erzbergrodeo is the third stop of the FIM Hard Enduro World Championship. The highlight of the world’s largest dirt bike festival takes place as usual on Sunday with the Hare Scramble, where the top 500 of the prologue compete. Big names like Manuel Lettenbichler (GER), Billy Bolt (GBR) and Taddy Blazusiak (POL) have confirmed their participation again.

GEPA/Daniel Goetzhaber

Michael Walkner is hoping for a top position at the world’s largest dirt bike festival

Austria’s Hard Enduro hope Michael Walkner is also there. The man from Salzburg – not related to ex-Dakar winner Matthias Walkner – is believed to be capable of a podium finish. The latest winner so far is Brit Graham Jarvis, who won in 2019. It was his fifth overall victory on the Erzberg.

Big changes

More than 1,100 participants from 40 nations are expected. Also represented are drivers from Iran, Ecuador, Japan and New Zealand. Participants who have already tried out on the Erzberg must be prepared for changes. The site has changed a great deal in recent years as a result of opencast mining. The court ditch is now up to 80 meters higher after embankments. The bathtub may no longer be driven on, since a pond was created there.

Up to 35,000 spectators are expected. What is new this year is that participants are not allowed to ask for help from onlookers, mechanics or other team members along the entire route (“No Help” zone). Furthermore, there will no longer be any refueling or charging points on the almost 38-kilometer race track, the participants must complete the entire race with a full tank or battery.

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