The first Red Bull Hard Enduro race of 2016 roars into life tomorrow, April 17 with the inaugural running of Red Bull Minas Riders in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
Breaking new ground, Hard Enduro heads to South America where many of the world’s best riders will tackle some of the toughest terrain Brazil has to offer. Following a similar format to the tried and trusted Red Bull Romaniacs, Minas Riders certainly won’t be an easy one for those brave enough to take on the challenge. With four days of punishing trails under a blazing Brazilian sun, competitors will undoubtedly work up a sweat as they battle to reach the finish line.
Husqvarna’s Graham Jarvis tops the entry list. As the undisputed King of Hard Enduro, Jarvis makes his bid for a first victory on South American soil. As a multi-time winner at Romaniacs, the Brit will be looking to put those skills to good use in Belo Horizonte. Feeling faster, fitter and more hungry for victory than ever before he’s determined to attack from the off.
“I feel ready for Red Bull Minas Riders,” told Jarvis. “I’ve worked hard during the off season to prepare for this race. My goal is to try and set the pace early on. It’s a tactic that’s worked well for me at Romaniacs so I hope it can work here in Brazil.”
Regarded by many as Jarvis’ toughest competitor, KTM’s Alfredo Gomez also has his sights set on victory. With a successful winter of SuperEnduro competition under his belt, Gomez is fighting fit. With dry and technical conditions sure to suit the Spaniard’s style, he too is looking for a winning start to 2016.
“It’s going to be a tough race, we can be sure of that,” said Gomez. “But I’m confident. The advantage of a new race like this is that everyone is on an equal footing. No one knows what to expect and I think that will help me a lot.”
Looking to reach the podium at the very least, the vastly experienced Paul Bolton (KTM) could be a dark horse. Having claimed numerous day wins at Red Bull Romaniacs, Bolton is up to speed with GPS navigation, plus always a favourite for success in the Prologue. Expect the British rider to run up front from the off.
Adding in 2015 Hell’s Gate podium finisher Lars Enockl (KTM) and the ever improving Philipp Scholz (KTM) and the battle for a top five result looks set to be a close affair.
Following many months of hard work building fresh tracks, Red Bull Minas Riders is a four-day Hard Enduro Rally. Day one wastes no time in allowing riders to settle into the Brazilian terrain. An early 7.00am start for the 60-kilometre long time trial loop with sections like “Front Flip”, “Monkey Cascade” and “Tirol Extreme” will offer a perfect wake up call for the unwary.
The fastest 35 riders will then qualify through to a very Brazilian styled Prologue, designed by Romaniacs mastermind Andy Fezekas.
With a 6.30am start, the rally then ventures even deeper into the surrounding mountains. The aptly named “River Jump”, “Snake Trail” and breath taking ridge section make up part of the 160-kilometre ride out to the event’s Day Two overnight stay in Ouro Preto.
Day Three points those left in the race back towards Belo Horizonte. Sections “Stomach Cramps” and “Fly On The Wall” will further test both the rider’s physical condition and determination. On approach to the finish Bronze will be gifted an easy pass. Gold class riders will endure one final sting in the tail on Day Three, where the nasty vertical climb of “Sweaty Climax” will surely decide the outcome of the day’s results.
Finally, all that stands between the competitors and the Minas Riders finish line is Day Four. Another unrelenting day of riding, with “Italian Corner” waiting to punish the weak, it certainly won’t be an easy right to passage.
“I’m really proud to bring the first Red Bull Hard Enduro to South America,” told Martin Freinademetz. “Our team has worked tirelessly during the last two years to put together a Hard Enduro Rally worthy of carrying the Red Bull name.
“With some breath taking trails at our disposal in and around Belo Horizonte we feel we’ve crafted out a race that will challenge the very best but still be enjoyed by those at the opposite end of the ability spectrum. I’m looking forward to seeing how the action unfolds and wish all competitors the best of luck.”