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- Oct 27, 2014
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Delivering the goods in one of the toughest Hell’s Gate extreme enduros of recent times, KTM’s Jonny Walker claims the top step of the podium
Going down in the record books as one of the most brutally demanding editions ever of the event, Walker finally secured his debut win in the race.
“That was quite possibly the hardest race I’ve ever done,” told Walker moments after crossing the finish line as the winner.
“It really was hell out there. First there was rain and when I thought it couldn’t get any worse it then began to snow. But the pain was worth the glory.”
© Edmunds / enduro21.comWith heavy rain followed by heavy snow making conditions treacherous around the Il Ciocco venue in Italy, the opening extreme enduro of 2015 was certainly not for the faint hearted.
With only fourteen riders qualified through from the morning elimination race, it was clear from the outset that this year’s race would be a survival of the fittest.
Starting on pole position, extreme enduro rookie Mario Roman initially got the jump on his rivals when the flag dropped for the main event. In close pursuit, Alfredo Gomez soon hit the front and tried to set the pace.
Losing his seat early on, Gomez ran into trouble when his bike sucked in water during one of the numerous rocky riverbeds and he became an early retirement.
© Edmunds / enduro21.comAs the leaders entered the notorious Cascata waterfall towards the end of lap one Graham Jarvis had taken over from his teammate Gomez with Walker right behind in second. But disaster struck Jarvis when he drowned his bike.
Capitalising on the situation Walker grabbed his chance to take the lead and never looked back while Jarvis struggled to get going again. Little by little Walker built up a comfortable cushion over the chasing pack as the heavy rain turned to snow.
Not faltering during the final stages of the race, Walker arrived to the final Hell’s Peak climb in darkness as the clear leader. With one last effort he scaled the hill and rode his way into the record books as the winner of Hell’s Gate 2015.
“I’ve been trying for four years to get this win and now I’ve finally done it,” continued Walker.
“Today was hard, proper hard – it was a real killer. The whole time I was just focused on keeping out of trouble and not making mistakes. I’m completely exhausted now. I wouldn’t want to do another lap out there!”
© Edmunds / enduro21.comBehind Walker the battle for the remainder of the podium was played out between Roman and Lars Enockl. Neck and neck the duo swapped and changed positions as the race unfolded.
Finally getting the better of Enockl, Roman put himself into second position with just the final Hell’s Peak to go and claimed the runner-up result in his debut Hell’s Gate ride.
Coming agonisingly close to securing second, Enockl lost out to Roman in the closing stages of the race but still claimed his first ever podium result at Hell’s Gate.
After four years dominating the race, Jarvis unfortunately saw his winning streak come to an end. With his bike running badly having drowned it early on, he was forced to call it a day on lap three.
© Edmunds / enduro21.com
RESULTS - Hell's Gate 2015
1. Jonny Walker
2. Mario Roman
3. Lars Enockl
HELL'S GATE HIGHLIGHTS
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