Day two win with victory of his own on day three of Red Bull Minas Riders.
With competition continuing to ramp up, Gomez responded to Jarvis’ attack by securing his second day win of the Hard Enduro Rally. Marking the start of the second half of the four-day race, day three saw riders return to Belo Horizonte following their overnight stay in Oro Preto.
Under fierce Brazilian heat, the weary competitors left in the race faced another long and demanding day in the saddle. While the mountains were a familiar sight to many from the previous day, a host of new trails and hidden challenges were waiting to catch out the weak.
With organisers easing riders into things during the morning ride, the intensity level was soon ramped up a couple of notches. Culminating in a spectacular final “Sweating Climax” hill climb for Gold class only, the penultimate day of racing favoured only the fit and strong.
Following his day two win, Jarvis was served with the honour of leading the field out at 6.30am sharp. Knowing Gomez – starting behind in third – would be chasing hard, Graham set about keeping the KTM rider at bay until the midway service point.
Gomez came out swinging as they left service, closing the gap to Jarvis by 30 seconds. Reaching the three quarter distance, the Spaniard had latched onto his rival’s rear wheel and looked certain to take a commanding victory. But there was a final sting in the tail to day three.
The “Sweaty Climax” hill climb almost swung the result back in Jarvis’ favour. As Gomez struggled to make traction on a shredded tyre, Jarvis worked his magic to scale the almost vertical ascent with incredible skill.
Crossing the finish line first, the clocked ticked on to see if Jarvis had done enough to dampen Gomez’ spirits. But with the Spaniard just doing enough to make it home, he beat Jarvis by 45 seconds to secure his second day win of the event.
The battle for third was again played out between Paul Bolton (KTM), Lars Enockl (KTM) and Philipp Scholz (KTM). Starting together, Bolton and Enockl, spent the majority of the day riding in tandem. Catching up to Scholz, they quickly moved in front and remained that way until the finish with Bolton gaining the edge on Enockl during “Sweaty Climax” to take third.
In the Silver class Rigor Rico Ferreira De Oliveira once again proved the rider to beat. Making short work of day three, the Brazilian was top of the standings. With three wins from three starts, Oliveira is on course to claim the Silver class victory.
Ripi Galileu Oliveira wasn’t so close to Ferreira De Oliveira this time around, finishing over nine minutes behind in second. With the Oliveira pairing setting the pace out front, Sergio Araujo finished a further 30 minutes behind in third.
Loandro Anton was again the clear winner of the Bronze class topping the day’s standings by over 22 minutes. Enjoying his best day of the race so far, Austria’s Martin Lindtner claimed a very impressive second position. Lucas Rocha completed the top three.
For the fourth and final day of competition, the Red Bull Minas Riders will start and finish in Belo Horizonte. While the chequered flag is almost in sight, the road to the finish line won’t be an easy one. Sections like “Raposo Down”, “Rio Acima” and “River Climb” are waiting to ensure that only the best will reach the final Red Bull finish line arch of Minas Riders 2016.
Graham Jarvis: “With yesterday’s win it was my turn to start off first on the road. The morning part of the race was nice – flowing and good riding. After service it got much tougher and about three quarters of the way through Alfredo caught up to me. We rode together until about the final climb. It was a brutal hill but I got up it best. With one day left it’s still all to play for tomorrow.”
Alfredo Gomez: “It was a hard fight today. Graham started about six minutes in front of me so I wanted to do my best to catch him. I rode well before service and then went on the attack after it. I managed to catch Graham and knew then I’d gained more time on him. But I think I pushed my pace too hard because when we reached the final hill climb my tyre was finished. I lost so much time there, which was disappointing. But I still have the overall lead with one day to go.”
Paul Bolton: “It was another tough day out there. This morning was long, nothing too extreme but it stepped up a few levels after service. Lars Enockl and myself started together and pretty much rode the day together. The hill climb was the final sting in the tail of a hard day but I’m pleased to have come home in the top three.”
Lars Enockl: “I had a good day. The track was nice. There were some really hard sections but there was enough flowing trails between them to offer a breather in this heat. It was a blast riding with Paul for most of the day, I enjoyed it out there.”
Provisional Results – Red Bull Minas Riders, Day Three
1. Alfredo Gomez 6:07:51
2. Graham Jarvis 6:08:36
3. Paul Bolton 6:12:40
4. Lars Enockl 6:13:34
5. Philipp Scholz 6:17:38
1. Rigor Rico Ferreira De Oliveira 6:19:19
2. Ripi Galileu Oliveira 6:28:48
3. Sergio Araujo 6:59:59
4. Guilherme Farah 7:35:48
5. Felippe Knapp 7:41:35
1. Loandro Anton 5:38:43
2. Martin Lindtner 6:01:19
3. Lucas Rocha 6:14:29