Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Manuel Lettenbichler delivered the goods at round seven of the FIM Hard Enduro World Championship to claim victory at Red Bull Outliers. Claiming the top step of the podium at the Canadian hard enduro, the German now takes over the series points lead with just one round remaining. Pushing him all the way, FMF KTM Factory Racing’s Trystan Hart made it a KTM 1-2 with the Canadian finishing as a close runner-up.
Held in the heart of Canada’s Badlands, Red Bull Outliers featured two days of racing. Saturday initially got underway with an urban endurocross-style prologue in nearby downtown Calgary. However, a torrential downpour forced organizers to cancel the action soon after it began as conditions proved unsafe.
Regrouping for Sunday’s main event, the barren, desert-like region featured a hard enduro course filled with steep climbs, unforgiving off cambers, and tough descents. Factoring in the high temperatures, it was a physically demanding two-and-a-half-hour battle for victory.
Fastest away, Trystan Hart was quick to put his KTM 300 XC-W out front. Determined to add to his winning tally from Red Bull TKO, the Canadian set the pace. However, Manuel Lettenbichler was not to be outdone, and shortly put his wheels in front to take the lead.
For the duration of the race the duo were neck and neck. Lettenbichler would try to make a breakaway, only for Hart to reel him back in. Hart would then try his own luck, but this time Lettenbichler would level the scores.
Knowing the victory was set to be decided on the final climb, Lettenbichler took the lead on his KTM 300 EXC and managed to open up a slight advantage. Digging deep, he arrived at the final climb with just enough of an advantage over Hart, and despite a mistake within meters of the finish line, the German remounted to beat Hart to victory by just six seconds.
Coming into round seven trailing the championship leader by just one point, Mani’s win gives him an all-important four-point lead in the provisional FIM Hard Enduro World Championship standings with one round to race.
Manuel Lettenbichler: “I’m pretty tired but so stoked to take the win. It was such an epic battle all the way. The race was so intense, we were back and forward all the time. Trystan really wanted it and wasn’t giving up, but I wasn’t giving up either. And I just made it for the win. For the championship it’s a pretty good result too. I’m leading now with one round to go and with Trystan finishing second today it’s added a few extra points between Mario and myself too.”
For Hart, despite not claiming the home win he’d hoped to secure, the Canadian enjoyed the titanic battle with Lettenbichler, and in finishing second was more than pleased with his day’s efforts.
Trystan Hart: “Man that was a crazy race. Mani, Mario, and myself were just going at it. It was a battle the whole race. I was swapping places with Mani and then it came right down to the wire between us two. Every time I thought I would break away I made a mistake and vice versa. It was a heck of a race for two and a half hours.”
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing return to FIM Hard Enduro World Championship action with the final round seven of the series, Spain's Hixpania Hard Enduro on October 7-9.
Provisional Results: Round 7 - Red Bull Outliers
1. Manuel Lettenbichler (GER), KTM, 2:20:14.3
2. Trystan Hart (CAN), KTM, 2:20:20.8
3. Mario Roman (ESP), Sherco, 2:24:06.8
4. Graham Jarvis (GBR), Husqvarna, 2:45:34.0
5. Taddy Blazusiak (POL), GASGAS, 2:47:48.2
Provisional Championship Standings (After round 7)
1. Manuel Lettenbichler (GER), KTM, 107pts
2. Mario Roman (ESP), Sherco, 103pts
3. Graham Jarvis (GBR), Husqvarna, 82pts
4. Teodor Kabakchiev (BUL), KTM, 72pts
5. Billy Bolt (GBR), Husqvarna, 62pts
8. David Cyprian (CZE), KTM, 57pts
9. Trystan Hart (CAN), KTM, 50pts