After a four-year absence, David Knight proves to be worthy at The Tough One Hard Enduro.
While Red Bull KTM rider David Knight had missed the 2014 Hard Enduro season-opening Hell’s Gate Hard Enduro and was also making his return to Sunday’s The Tough One Hard Enduro after a four-year absence from the event, the Brit was hardly an unknown quantity, having won The Tough One five times previously.
Sunday at Hawkstone Park in England, Knight proved that he still has the skill and the will, as he landed a record sixth The Tough One overall win in the face of equally tough competition. That’s six wins for night in the 10-year history of the event. How’s that for tough?
“I’m over the moon to win this one–no one was going to beat me around Hawkstone Park,” Knight said after he crossed the finish line at the end of the gruelling three-hour race.
However, the race was far from a cakewalk for Knight. KTM rider Jonny Walker, who finished a solid runner-up at the 2014 Hell’s Gate Hard Enduro grabbed the early lead at Hawkstone Park, and Knight has to work hard to find a way past Walker. Knight made the pass on lap two, only to crash after a rope became tangled in his rear wheel. By the time he got going again, Walker had a five-minute lead. Knight put his head down and charged cutting into Walker’s lead and passing him again for the lead just past the two-hour mark in the and as the race crossed the two-hour mark he was back in the lead for good. Knight completed 18 laps of the Hawkstone course, finishing with a time of 3 hours and 24 seconds.
“I thought my race was ruined when I crashed, but I refused to quit” Knight said, “I put my head down and just charged. When I began to close in on Walker I knew I could win. I’d nothing left to give after I crossed the finish line. That was a tough win.”
After Knight passed Walker, Walker didn’t have the energy to mount another challenge for the lead, and he has to settle for second place.
“When Knight started to catch me I wasn’t able to lift my pace,” Walker said. “He was on a mission. There was no stopping him today. It’s tough to take second, but I gave it my best shot.”
Alfredo Gomez of Spain completed the podium, finishing a distant third after holding off a late charge by former The Tough One winner Graham Jarvis.
“It’s great to be on the podium,” Gomez said “That was a hard race. The pace was high and the track was punishing. I’m happy to see the finish in third.”
Jarvis, who was riding a four-stroke instead of his usual two-stroke, was hampered early on due to arm pump, but the factory Husqvarna rider put together a strong run in the final hour to finish fourth. Paul Bolton finished fifth. Andreas Lettenbichler finished sixth.
The Tough One Hard Enduro
Results: April 20, 2014
1. David Knight-Sherco/18 laps; 3:00:24
2. Jonny Walker-KTM/18 laps; 3:02:19
3. Alfredo Gomez-Hus/18 laps; 3:09:24
4. Graham Jarvis-Hus/18 laps; 3:11:46
5. Paul Bolton-KTM/17 laps; 3:01:16