There’s a rodeo in Europe. One held with dirt bikes. Over in Austria since 1995 competition motorcycle riders have enjoyed an enduro event that always promises a thrill for the audience.
Racers fly up loose rock walls and bomb up and down twisted single-track. It’s a motocross circus with winners and losers.
The Erzberg Rodeo is a four-day event, held in an abandoned open pit iron mine, with a different event each day. The Rodeo X showcases some of the world’s best motocross riders doing mind bending stunts and gravity-defying jumps.
The Rocket Ride is the next event in the rodeo. In this steep slope race, 300 riders start the 3-part slope to climb in record time. From these 300, only 48 will move forward, and ultimately a top three are chosen to advance to the Iron Road Prologue. This is a 13 km long gravel path to the vicinity of the summit.
This event is also the qualifier for the final day, and several classes start here: Desert Bomber (multi-cylinder bikes), street bikes, scooters and mopeds, women’s class Standard Singles (street-legal single-cylinder enduro) and quads.
It’s a small rodeo; the starting field is limited to 1,500 participants, with starters going in 20 to 40 seconds intervals.
Since 2008, competitors from over 40 countries competed, and the event draws revenue for this economically challenged region of Austria.
So, when you make it to Austria, the Alps are one attraction, while the Erzberg Rodeo is altogether another.