MIXED FORTUNES FOR KTM RIDERS AT UKUPACHA EXTREME ENDURO
KTM factory rider Jonny Walker, coming off a great win at the Red Bull Sea to Sky went to Ecuador for the Enduro Ukupacha last weekend but came away with a mixed bag of results. But while Walker scrambled a second in the prologue but failed to finish the main on Sunday, Chris Birch of New Zealand who reported ‘a revolting’ start in Saturday’s prologue went out and finished second in the main.
Jonny Walker finished the EnduroCross-style prologue well, despite losing his chain in the early part of the qualifier while he had a solid lead. This dropped him back to fifth with a handful of laps to go but he still fought back to second place and was ready for the final.
Then in the prologue final Walker went down on the third corner. He quickly remounted and closed down on American Taylor Robert who had grabbed the holeshot. The KTM rider finished a solid second in front of a big crowd of enthusiastic fans while Chris Birch managed to salvage a fifth.
With organizers remaining tight lipped about what was in store for riders in the mountains around Quito for Sunday’s main event no-one knew what to expect for the three hour ride that took them to even higher altitudes. Robert went off first, followed by Walker, the veteran Graham Jarvis with Birch in fifth.
The race is notorious for having few finishers and in the end this was to also be Walker’s fate. He was in the lead but damaged his radiator after the third checkpoint and his best efforts to repair the damage failed to allow him to continue.
Meanwhile Chris Birch reported on Facebook that his race was eventful, even if in the end he pulled off second place in the Pro Class. He broke his GPS, together with Tailor Robert got a gate locked on them by an irate farmer then narrowly missed hitting a truck. All that aside, Chris, veteran of the Red Bull Romaniancs and multiple winner of Lesotho's Roof of Africa Extreme event still managed to pull of second place in the main. Ukapacha is billed as the toughest Extreme Enduro in South America.
Results Ukupacha Extreme Enduro
1. Alfredo Gómez (E) / Graham Jarvis (UK), Husaberg
3. Chris Birch (NZ), KTM
4. Jésús Zavala (MX) / Wilson Malo (EC), Husaberg
DNF Jonny Walker (UK), KTM