CLOSE SECOND FOR KTM'S JONNY WALKER IN "THE TOUGH ONE" 2014!
Red Bull KTM factory rider Jonny Walker fought the good fight in the traditional "The Tough One" Hard Enduro on Saturday at the UK’s Hawkstone Park finishing two minutes behind winner David Knight after the grueling three-hours race.
Jonny Walker, who rides the KTM 300 EXC was fastest off at the start and held onto the lead for the opening laps before getting into difficulties in some difficult climbs and steep descents in the woods section. Knight managed to get past him only to relinquish the lead later into the race when he crashed out but the veteran of six wins recaptured the front position when Walker got into difficulties and went on to seal the victory.
It was these two riders who dominated and had distanced themselves from the rest of the field by about seven minutes by the end of the race.
“It was good but a very difficult. I led for a good part of the race but I know I have to improve my stamina”, Walker said. “I wanted to push as hard as I could early on and try to gap everyone but it didn’t happen. David was right on my tail and I couldn’t sake him off. When he got past me I wanted to follow him and see what lines he was riding but he crashed and I was back in the lead again. Once he came past me I had nothing left to hold him off”, the 22 year-old Briton conceded.
Walker recently moved to France to be nearer training and racing possibilities and to take advantage of better weather. He will now concentrate on getting ready for the Erzbergrodeo in six weeks time.
This year’s "The Tough One" was a different character to other hard enduro events on the calendar, according to Julian Stephens from Walker’s KTM support team. “It was very sandy and incorporated a lot of the motocross track but there were man-made obstacles and some very difficult climbs in the woods with lots of rocks and big tree roots to negotiate. Today’s race favored riders with motocross and traditional enduro experience."
Alfredo Gomez of Spain completed the podium. Veteran British extreme enduro specialist Graham Jarvis was fourth followed by KTM rider Paul Bolton and KTM factory rider Andreas Lettenbichler was sixth to give KTM three of the top six places.
Results "The Tough One" 2014 – Hawkstone (GBR)
1. David Knight (GBR), Sherco, 3:00:24 h (18 laps)
2. Jonny Walker (GBR), KTM, 3:02:19
3. Alfredo Gomez (ESP), Husqvarna, 3:09:24
4. Graham Jarvis (GBR), Husqvarna, 3:11:46
5. Paul Bolton (GBR), KTM, 3:01:16 (17 laps)
6. Andreas Lettenbichler (GER), KTM, 3:10:09
8. Dougie Lampkin (GBR), KTM, 3:01:20 (16 laps)
10. Lars Enöckl (AUT), KTM, 3:06:03