The first Hard Enduro of the year and inaugural running of Red Bull Minas Riders drew to an exciting close yesterday in Belo Horizonte with Gomez securing the win on the fourth and final day of racing to end the event as the overall winner.
As the rider to beat from the start of this year’s race Gomez didn’t disappoint on day four. With victory within his grasp the Spaniard hardly put a foot wrong throughout the day. Pulling clear of his closest rivals towards the latter half of the day, the KTM rider rode into the record books as the winner of South America’s first Red Bull Hard Enduro.
With the chance of overall victory still possible, Husqvarna’s Graham Jarvis began the final day of racing in high spirits. But a costly mistake effectively ended any hope of winning. Mistakenly riding a few extra kilometres at one of the Gold class No Help Zones, Jarvis ran out of fuel about 15 minutes from the end of the day.
Flagging down classmate Lars Enockl (KTM), who he’d earlier helped, Enockl returned the favour by giving Jarvis enough fuel to get him home and secure his position as runner-up in the four-day event.
“It’s an incredible feeling to have won the Red Bull Minas Riders,” said Gomez. “It’s the first Red Bull Hard Enduro of the year so to come here and win like this is fantastic.
“I was a little nervous today despite holding a good lead in the race. But I soon settled into things and began to enjoy the ride a lot more. I was so happy riding into the finish line.
“It’s been a tough week of racing, really hard, so to win is just amazing. I can’t thank KTM and my team enough for their support in achieving this result. Finally, I’d like to dedicate this victory to a close friend of mine Alberto Lessmann who sadly passed away yesterday. This victory is for you Alberto.”
Jarvis commented: “It was always going to be tough to pull a victory out of the bag on the final today. But I’m pleased enough to end Minas Riders in second overall.
“To be fair Alfredo has been riding well all week so he’s earned this win. Day four was a bit unlucky for me. I understood that we were to ride this no help Gold zone twice, which I did, but I think I was mistaken. It resulted in me running out of fuel about 15 minutes from the finish line. Luckily I had earlier given Lars Enockl my wire cutters so when he came past he returned the favour by giving me some of his fuel to get me home.”
The battle for the final step on the podium was a close affair between Paul Bolton (KTM) and Philipp Scholz (KTM). With little to separate the duo, the pair rode at maximum attack to try and win the final piece of silverware on offer.
Reaching the finish line first, Bolton did enough to hold Scholz at bay. Despite giving his best Scholz missed out on a potential debut Hard Enduro podium but ended the event as one of the most impressive performers in Brazil.
“I’m made up with third overall in what’s been a hard week of riding,” Bolton said. “To end the first Red Bull Hard Enduro of 2016 on the podium is a brilliant result.
“The battle for third was tight between Philipp Scholz and myself entering today – it was only about a one-minute gap. We were both pushing but I managed to stay in front of him and get third.”
Along with the award for Good Samaritan for helping Jarvis, Enockl crossed the day four finish line in fourth to cement his position of fifth overall at Red Bull Minas Riders.
In the Silver class there was no denying Rigor Rico Ferreira of victory. With a sizeable lead, the Brazilian put his KTM in cruise mode on day four. Riding together with his brother Ripi Galileu Oliveira he crossed the finish line safely to claim his first ever Hard Enduro win at his first attempt.
Making it an Oliveira 1-2 in Silver, brother Ripi Galileu got the honour of winning day four to join his brother on the podium in second overall. Confirming a Brazilian lockout of the podium, Sergio Araujo completed the top three.
With a 95-minute lead in the Bronze class entering the fourth day of racing, Loandro Anton had the luxury of not needing to ride anywhere near his limit. Enjoying his final ride in the 2016 Red Bull Minas Riders, he finished second to secure the overall victory in Bronze. Showing that European riders didn’t only take to the start in the Gold class at red Bull Minas Riders 2016, Austria’s Martin Lindtner earned himself an overall podium result in Bronze.
Vicenzo Barbagallo had the honour of winning the final day of racing in Bronze.
With the inaugural running of the Red Bull Minas Riders now in the books, the world’s best riders can look forward to the next Red Bull Hard Enduro Rally – Red Bull Romaniacs on July 12-16. Will Gomez be able to win again? Or will Graham Jarvis or Jonny Walker, once back in action when his broken leg is fully healed, ensure British riders return to the top step of the podium?
Martin Freinademetz said: “After two years of planning it’s fantastic to see the very first running of a Red Bull Hard Enduro in South America completed.
“It’s been a lot of work behind the scenes to keep a mammoth event like this running smoothly. But I’m so thankful of my team for their hard work in getting the job done so professionally. I think we’ve shown to the world what a place like the States of Minas Gerais can offer and we’ve really only scratched the surface of what’s possible here.
“Finally, a big congratulations to Alfredo on his win and to each and every rider who reached the finish line of Red Bull Minas Riders 2016.”
Provisional Results – Red Bull Minas Riders, overall
1. Alfredo Gomez 21:50:24
2. Graham Jarvis 22:14:02
3. Paul Bolton 22:30:02
4. Philipp Scholz 22:30:44
5. Lars Enockl 23:13:05
1. Rigor Rico Ferreira De Oliveira 21:11:34
2. Ripi Galileu Oliveira 21:58:04
3. Sergio Araujo 23:56:25
4. Daniel Palacio Mejia 25:27:03
5. Felippe Knapp 25:47:37