Bellino out of International Six Days Enduro

ROCKSTAR ENERGY HUSQVARNA FACTORY RACING RIDER TO BE REPLACED BY TEAMMATE CHRISTOPHE CHARLIER AT THE PRESTIGIOUS ANNUAL INTERNATIONAL SIX DAYS ENDURO AFTER INJURY

Husqvarna Motorcycles has announced that Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Mathias Bellino has suffered a second shoulder injury, which forces him to miss the 2017 International Six Days Enduro and the remaining two rounds of the EnduroGP World Championship. Standing in for Mathias at the ISDE to represent France, Christophe Charlier will compete in the event for the first time.

Working hard in recent months to return from a shoulder injury sustained prior to the season opening EnduroGP of Finland, Bellino has been gradually building his speed and fitness during the last three GPs.

His latest injury to his right shoulder was picked up while training for the upcoming ISDE, where Matthias fractured his shoulder blade which then required the rider to undergo surgery. He will be out of action for a minimum of three months and will miss the last two round of the EnduroGP series in the United Kingdom and Germany.

“It’s hard to accept I will be forced to miss the ISDE and sit out the rest of the season, he said. I worked hard to come back from my pre-season injury and I was really motivated to keep improving my results in this final part of the season. It was just a slow speed crash but I immediately knew there was something wrong with my shoulder. It’s really disappointing that I’ll have to miss the rest of the season due to this injury.”

Replacing Bellino at this year’s International Six Days Enduro will be Husqvarna Factory Racing teammate Christophe Charlier, with the FE 350 powered rider set to contest the week-long event for the first time in his career.

The 2017 ISDE takes place in Brive, France, from August 28 to September 2.

JARVIS TAKES VICTORY AT ROMANIACS

ROCKSTAR ENERGY HUSQVARNA FACTORY RACING’S HARD ENDURO STAR CLAIMS SIXTH CAREER WIN IN ROMANIA

Putting in a dominant race-long performance in the mountains around Sibiu, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Graham Jarvis has secured a record sixth career victory at the 14th edition of the Red Bull Romaniacs. Enjoying a strong week of racing in Romania, his young teammate Billy Bolt reached the finish in sixth overall.

With only victory in his mind, Jarvis got off to a great start by securing a strong fourth place result in the short Sibiu city Prologue. With the race entering its hardest part right after the start of the first offroad day, the TE 300 mounted rider was able to show more of his extreme enduro prowess.

Successfully battling his way through a long and challenging day of extreme enduro racing, Jarvis topped the opening day in the mountains to open up a gap of 10 minutes over his closest rival.

Continuing his strong run of form by winning days two and three, the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing rider entered the final day of racing with a 26-minute advantage at the top of the provisional overall standings.

Putting in a cautious ride to earn fifth on day four, he eased his way to the finish line and into the record books as a six-time Romaniacs champion.

“It’s an incredible feeling to win Romaniacs for the sixth time, Jarvis said. “When I started racing the event almost ten years ago I couldn’t even dream of winning it six times. It’s a fantastic race that has been growing and growing over the last few years. This time it’s been a battle of survival and I was really happy to get to the finish. Day one was pretty tough and it seemed to go on forever. It was difficult to navigate as well. Day two was a bit of an easier one and not so technical. Jonny Walker caught me but after the service point I managed to pull a gap. Overall, it was a good day for me. We knew day three was going to be tough. There was a lot of pushing before the service point and that was the hardest bit. It was a very long day and the tiredness kept building. On the last day I did my best to stay focused on the track. I was tired so I decided to play it safe and ride my bike to the finish. It’s been a huge team effort to get this winning result.”

Wrapping up a successful outing for the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing team, Jarvis’ teammate Billy Bolt rounded out the top six in the event’s final standings. Following an unsuccessful attempt to reach the finish during his debut appearance in the event last year, the young Brit came back stronger this year to bring his TE 300 home in sixth place.

Enjoying a great start to the five-day-long event, Bolt earned a strong runner-up result in the Prologue. Finishing within the top 10 in each of the four remaining offroad days, Bolt’s highlight was a sixth-place result at the end of a gruelling day three. Reaching the finish line without any major issues, the young Brit proved he has mastered the art of GPS navigation.

 

Chris Birch Pulls Out Of Romaniacs

Kiwi Hard Enduro Legend Chris Birch has had to pull the pin on his 2017 Red Bull Romaniacs challenge – which this year was to ride a KTM 1090 Adventure R through the Iron Class of the event–  after a fall resulted in a badly broken hand.

Birch was riding outside the Romanian town of Sibiu in search of a photo location when the fall occurred.

“So today’s test ride on the beautiful #redbullromaniacs ktm did not go well, Birch posted to his Facebook page.  “After only about 200m of riding up a track to find a photo spot I didn’t see a rock and crashed hard and have broken a bone in my hand. It’s very hard not to be angry at myself. However you can see what shape the cast is in, with the right pills this might not be over. I honestly can’t remember the last time I crashed and now this…”

Sadly despite his hopes to be able to compete in the famous Hard Enduro, the extent of Birch’s injury has forced him to withdraw from the event in order to get his hand operated on in Germany.

It must be a tough blow for Birchy, as he says he’s not exactly used to coming into contact with the ground the hard way. It’s a rare occurrence, but it does show that despite his superhuman riding ability and the extensive training he has put in riding the heavy KTM adventure bike, even the pro’s make mistakes.

While we’ve got no word on exactly what the hand surgery is to remedy, the fact that Birch is heading straight to Munich to get it operated on signals that it is reasonably serious, especially when your bread and butter (and meal ticket) is riding KTMs HARD.

Gomez conquers Erzberg Rodeo

Spaniard wins second Red Bull Hare Scramble in Austrian open-pit mine.

There were 500 riders on the start line on Sunday, but only 25 managed to finish the motorcycle event within the four-hour time window. Alfredo Gomez came out on top, racing in a record time of just 2 hours and 17 seconds.

Every year, the Red Bull Hare Scramble puts the world’s best riders to the test like no other race on the Enduro calendar. It offers steep climbs, scree fields and forest stages; all paced by infamous Machine, Bathtub, Carl’s Dinner, Green Hell and Dynamite sections.

Shortly after the start, three-time Erzberg winner Jonny Walker (GBR) took the lead ahead of Wade Young (RSA), Cody Webb (USA) and Billy Bolt (GBR). But Gomez quickly appeared on Walker’s heels followed by Webb and Bolt, while Young fell back into fifth.

At the Carl‘s Dinner section, Gomez finally overtook Walker. Last year’s winner Graham Jarvis (GBR) also came back charging, leaving Walker in his dust. But Gomez kept on building his lead. Jarvis tried to defend his title, but Gomez was just too strong and after 2 hours and 17 minutes, the Spaniard reached the Erzberg Rodeo Arena in first. The chequered flag was waved, crowds cheered, and Gomez enjoyed his second triumph here, two years after his first win in 2015.

Thanks to a sensational comeback, Jarvis crossed the line in second place 3 minutes and 22 seconds later. Webb took third to complete the podium. 

Want to watch the action? Watch the full event on Youtube HERE

ERZBERG RODEO STANDINGS*
Alfredo Gomez (ESP) 02:17:06

Graham Jarvis (GBR) +00:03:22

Cody Webb (USA) +00:05:04

Wade Young (RSA) +00:09:31

Jonny Walker (GBR) +00:10:41

Paul Bolton (GBR) +00:15:53

Billy Bolt (GBR) +00:18:24

Manuel Lettenbichler (GER) +00:24:47

Mario Roman (ESP) +00:30:20

Travis Teasdale (GBR) +00:34:06

*Subject to change – for final standings, check out www.erzbergrodeo.at

New NZ Enduro Champion Crowned

Christchurch’s Angus Macdonald (Sherco 300 SEF-R), on his way to victory at Tokoroa on Queen’s Birthday Monday.

NEW CHAMPION CROWNED ON WEEKEND OF HIGH DRAMA 

New Zealand has a new national enduro champion, with Canterbury’s Angus Macdonald surviving a flurry of attacks and taking the title following an intense Queen’s Birthday Weekend of racing.

The double-header final weekend saw positional changes for all but one of the top 10 expert grade riders as the 2017 New Zealand Enduro Championships wrapped up with back-to-back events, rounds five and six, held just two days apart and at two vastly different North Island venues.

Fortunes changed dramatically over the two events – on muddy farmland at Waitiwhiti, east of Pahiatua, on Saturday and in forestry south of Tokoroa on Monday – with the eventual rankings changing for nine of the top 10 riders.

Macdonald was the only top-10 rider unaffected by this last-ditch, mad scramble for points, his position seemingly secure from the start of the weekend thanks to his consistent results at the earlier rounds.

The Sherco rider started the weekend on top of the standings and that’s where he finished.

Macdonald would have had to finish eighth or worse at Monday’s final round if he was to have the title slip from his grasp.

In the end, he finished fourth at Waitiwhiti and fourth again at Tokoroa, easily enough for him to take the top trophy for 2017.  Macdonald also won the over-300cc four-stroke bike class.

Taupo’s defending national champion Brad Groombridge (Suzuki RM-Z250), finished runner-up at Waitiwhiti and then took his bigger RM-Z450 bike to win the day at Tokoroa, but it was too little and too late for him to salvage his season after he’d crashed out of the day spectacularly at round three near Wellington in March.

It was perhaps some consolation for Groombridge that he did finish runner-up, and he also won the under-300cc four-stroke class title, especially considering he’d been so far back in the points after his Wellington mishap.

Fortunes fluctuated also for all the other riders, with rankings changing at Tokoroa for nine of the top 10 men.

Macdonald’s younger brother, Hamish Macdonald (Sherco 300 SE-R), slipped from second at the start of the day at Tokoroa to settle for third overall in the championship; Helensville’s Tom Buxton (KTM 350 EXC-F) dropped from fourth to fifth overall at the final round; Mokau’s Adrian Smith (Yamaha YZ250X) finished runner-up at Tokoroa and rose from fifth to fourth overall for the series; Cambridge’s Simon Lansdaal (Husqvarna FX350) did not finish the day at Tokoroa and he therefore slipped from sixth to seventh overall; fellow Cambridge man Dylan Yearbury (Husqvarna TE250) took advantage to move up from seventh to sixth; Coatesville’s Sam Greenslade (KTM 250 EXC-F) was the biggest mover at Tokoroa, finishing third on the day and elevating himself from 12th to eighth in the final standings; Aucklander Carl Steadman (Yamaha YZ250X) went from eighth to ninth, while Titirangi’s Callan May (Yamaha WRF450) was a no-show at Tokoroa and he slipped from ninth to tenth. 

Hamish Macdonald won the over-200cc two-stroke class; Kaikohe’s Mitchell Nield (Yamaha YZ125) won the under-200cc two-stroke class and New Plymouth’s Dougy Herbert (Husaberg TE300) was crowned veterans’ (over-40 years) class champion.

Meanwhile, it was a battle between two young up-and-comers for intermediate grade honours at Tokoroa.

In only her first appearance in the enduro nationals this season, 15-year-old Te Awamutu girl Rachael Archer (Husqvarna TX125) was in scintillating form to win the intermediate grade on Monday by nearly a minute from the series leader and eventual champion, 16-year-old Whitianga rider Blake Wilkins (Husqvarna TX125).

Ellerslie rider Jeff Van Hout (KTM 350 XC-F) was sixth in the grade at Tokoroa and this was enough for the 54-year-old to claim intermediate grade overall runner-up honours for the series. Fellow Aucklander Cameron Manley (KTM 250 EXC) finished the series third overall in the intermediate grade. 

Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com