There’s a type of motorcycle hard enduro that turns motorcycle racing into a sort of carnival event. Imagine 500 riders gearing up to scramble up the walls of an iron mine and then back down again. And less than 3 percent are expected to finish. That’s what happened in Erzeberg, Austria.
“You know, I’ve raced in Baja, but this stuff is treacherous,” remarked a commentator during the 2015 race.
The past two years at the Austria Hare Scramble, known as the Iron Giant, only 14 riders finished. Hare scrambles happen on closed course tracks which can vary from 2.5 to 40 mi or more. The largest Hare Scrambles series is the East Coast Enduro Association.
Some trails are cut to 30 in (760 mm) or less so motorcycle handlebars will not fit between trees, requiring special skills to navigate. The winner of each class is typically determined by who completes the most laps within a predetermined period of time. The most common time period for a hare scramble competition is 1, 2 or 3 hours.
In Austria at the Iron Giant, most of the race is run on moonscape-style strip mine terrain. Loose rocks and steep ledges dominate the course, which winds its way up and down the mine like a cruel snake, demanding more from the riders each minute.
Veteran British racer Johnny walker dominated the race, plowing through checkpoints and punishing uphills to keep his fans happy. Walker went on to win the Scramble, as he did the year before.
“Yeah it feels awesome, you know I really can’t believe it,” said Walker in a finish line interview. “But I put a lot of work in beforehand so you know this has come easy.”
Photo credit: Flickr Creative Commons