The first ever Red Bull Sea to Sky wrapped up on Sunday with Graham Jarvis taking the overall on his Husaberg ahead of fellow Brit Johnny Walker and Kiwi Chris Birch.
The event gave riders three distinct challenges starting with the beach race on Saturday morning in Kremer on the Turkish coast. The KTM duo of Birch and Walker fought it out in the deep sand with Johnny finishing in front of Chris to grab a good starting position for the forest ride in the afternoon. Xavi Galindo and Graham Jarvis finished in third and fourth. The beach race was designed in MX style with spectacular jumps and high-speed sections over a race distance of 15 minutes plus two laps.
Johnny was first off in the forest race which immediately followed the beach race on Saturday with riders started at 30-second intervals. “I enjoyed being out there in front and loved to focus on my own flow and the track,” says Johnny. “But Chris showed up and put on the pressure.”
The forest race offered more demanding terrain over 35km and 13 check points. Riders started at the beach, went through the city of Kemer then into the forest to attack challenging single trails and riverbeds and a fairly steep downhill over larger rocks. At the end of the day only 40 per cent of the starters completed the course. Others could still start in the main event on Sunday – the Olympus Mountain Race – but with a 30-minute penalty. At the end of the forest race Chris had taken the lead in front of Johnny but Jarvis was right behind and looking menacing. This was a real hard enduro event and Jarvis proved invincible.
The ride up the mountain saw only a handful of riders succeed and pushed those who did to the limit. Walker took the lead from the start and put up a huge fight, particularly given the fact that he rode with an injured shoulder. But it was Jarvis that took over the lead in the second half of the race. Chris Birch finished third
“I’ve had a great weekend,” says Johnny. “I’m so pleased that KTM, Red Bull and the organisers helped me to race in Turkey. The beach race was so much fun and the mountain trails really spectacular, the club made a really good course, I pushed hard in the main race but I was making a few mistakes and getting tired so I decided it was better to follow Graham and try to learn from him but I hit a tree very hard with my shoulder and have damaged it quite bad and thought at first maybe I would need to stop.
“After this it was difficult to ride the bike and I could no longer match Graham’s pace but I was too close to the finish to give up.”