Wednesday, June 17


The WEC round in Finland isn't the only race where BMW's off road division enjoyed success this past weekend. At the 15th edition of the Erzbergrodeo in Eisenerz (Austria), Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport's Andreas Lettenbichler raced onto the podium of the infamous Hare Scramble.

"Letti" excelled already on Thursday at the event opener, the inaugural "Rocket Ride". The German factory rider and his BMW 450 X easily qualified for the final by finishing top three in both the quarter and semi finals. Lettenbichler mastered the tricky three-storey uphill battle with speed and finesse to clinch a superb second place in the superfinal.

The prologue on Saturday turned out to be a rather relaxed affair for Lettenbichler and his team-mate Gerhard Forster. The focus of this race is primarily to secure a front position on the grid for Sunday's event-closing Hare Scramble, which is known to be the world's toughest one-day Extreme Enduro. Among 1,500 participants, Lettenbichler captured 13th andForster 19th place.

The highly anticipated Hare Scramble traditionally starts Sunday at 12.00 o'clock. The gruelling race to the top of the iron mountain saw Lettenbichler claim an early lead, but the 34-year-old was taken out by another rider at the first downhill section and, to make matters worse, the two bikes got tangled up. Suddenly chasing the pack had become the new order of the day.

It didn't take long and "Letti" was back inside the top three, eventually climbing up to second place with a fine move in a slippery forest section. "The excellent traction of my bike paid off," Lettenbichler said later.

In the following nasty rock section Lettenbichler was passed by some of the Trial pros, but that proved to be a tactical move. While Lettenbichler paced himself nicely, his rivals dropped like flies due to the sweltering heat. "What a brutal affair.

Rocks everywhere and lots of new sections. There were no lines to keep riding, all you could do was drag and tow the bike."

In the end, after 2:25,17 hrs, Lettenbichler finished third, behind Poland's Taddy Blazusiak and Britain's Graham Jarvis.

"Letti" had all reason to be satisfied with his result, after all his BMW 450 X was by far the best four-stroke among a sea of light-weight two-strokes.

Meanwhile Gerhard Forster did his own thing, coming home in ninth position and achieving his goal of a top ten result. BMW South Africa's Jade Gutzeit, who enjoyed the support of BMW Motorsport at the Erzbergrodeo, managed to score a fine 15th place.

Out of 500 riders qualified for the Hare Scramble, only 21 made it to the mountain top.

Erzberg Hare Scramble

1. Tadeusz Blazusiak (POL), 1:41,46

2. Graham Jarvis (GBR), 2:22,05
3. Andreas Lettenbichler (GER), 2:25,17, BMW Motorrad Motorsport
4. Ben Hemingway (GBR), 3:27,48
5. Cory Graffunder (CAN), 3:37,50
6. Rory Mead (NZL), 3:38,02
7. Dan Hemingway (GBR), 3:54,24
8. Chris Birch (NZL), 3:55,01
9. Gerhard Forster (GER), 3:58,21, BMW Motorrad Motorsport
10. Kyle Redmond (USA), 4:08,49