KTM mounted Spaniard Alfredo Gomez has asserted himself as the man to beat following a confident day one win at the Red Bull Minas Riders in Brazil.
Ready to prove himself as one of the top contenders in this year’s Red Bull Hard Enduro series, Gomez set a blisteringly fast pace throughout day one to take an impressive four-minute lead over second placed Graham Jarvis (Husqvarna). KTM’s Paul Bolton sits third overall.
With day one’s morning Time Trial kicking things off, it was Jarvis who led the field away followed three minutes later by Gomez. Pushing the pace hard early on, the Spaniard worked his way up to Jarvis’ wheel tracks.
Moving in front after three quarter distance the duo then remained in close contention, crossing the finish line within seconds of each other. Starting fifth, Bolton worked hard to overtake both Lars Enockl and Philipp Scholz to end the Time Trial in third.
Scholz had a dramatic time of things when a broken throttle housing almost forced him out of the race. But with creative hands, the young German mended the housing with cable ties and tape and incredibly completed the Time Trial using only quarter throttle. Even more impressively he ended it fourth.
The feature Gold class Prologue saw the world’s best Hard Enduro riders go head-to-head. Gomez claimed a start-to-finish victory from Jarvis and Bolton.
In the Silver class, Brazilian riders topped the first four positions. Fereira De Oliveira was the strongest rider of the day. Making light work of the difficult Time Trial and then winning the Prologue he already holds a 40-minute lead.
Oliveira holds a 50-minute advantage over Castoldi in third while Arajo in fourth. Ensuring South America command the top five position, Colombia’s Palacio Mejia is fifth.
In the Bronze category, Brazilian Anton is the early leader with a 34-minute advantage over Rocha with Lindtner in third.
Day two will see the race pick up pace with a 160-kilometre ride taking competitors from Belo Horizonte to Ouro Preto.
Alfredo Gomez: “Today was pretty much perfect. It feels great to lead the race after day one. I tried to push hard from the beginning of the time trial loop. The tracks were tricky but I felt confident with my bike. Graham Jarvis had a three-minute head start but gradually I managed to reel him in. From there we pretty much rode together to the finish line. A winter of SuperEnduro really helped me for the prologue. I felt sharp and got the holeshot. Graham challenged me early on but I pulled away from him towards the end. Like I said it’s been a great start to the Red Bull Minas Riders so I hope to continue like this.”
Graham Jarvis: “I rode steady today. Leading the race out on fresh tracks wasn’t to my advantage so I knew the guys behind me would be pushing hard to catch me up. I found a pace I was comfortable with and despite a few mistakes midway through the time trial loop I was happy enough. Again for the prologue I just rode steady. Alfredo Gomez has raced a full season of SuperEnduro so I knew he’d be the guy to beat. Second is good and it means I’ll start second tomorrow too. Day two is a long 160-kilometre ride and that’s when the race will really get started.”
Paul Bolton: “That was a hard opening day. It was short but tough. It took me a while to get going in the time trial, the dirt feels so slippery here so I took some time to adapt. Once I found my rhythm I stepped up my pace and caught up to Lars Enockl and Philipp Scholz. I passed them in a riverbed section and then rode my own race to the finish. The prologue was fun. I started third and battled a bit with Graham Jarvis. I’m happy to end day one third overall and I’m looking forward to the rest of the week.”
Provisional Results – Day One
1. Alfredo Gomez 3:00:29
2. Graham Jarvis 3:05:47
3. Paul Bolton 3:17:33
4. Philipp Scholz 3:29:28
5. Lars Enockl 3:30:36
1. Ferreira De Oliveira 3:21:58
2. Oliveira 4:02:18
3. Castoldi 4:51:17
4. Araujo 5:06:33
5. Palacio Mejia 5:13:09
1. Anton 3:19:08
2. Rocha 3:53:35
3. Lindtner 3:56:21
4. Figueiredo 4:36:39
5. Ezequiel Leonardelli 5:05:56
Photo credit: Redbull Content Pool