Jonny Walker and Graham Jarvis renew their rivalry at the Alès Trêm Extreme Enduro in southern France.
Red Bull KTM’s Jonny Walker kicked off the 2015 extreme enduro season by posting a win at the new .
Walker set the tone by winning the prologue on Friday. Walker carried that momentum through to Saturday, where he completed the three-lap main event with a time of 4 hours, 15 minutes and 6 seconds. Jarvis finished second, 2 minutes and 6 seconds behind Walker. Walker’s Red Bull KTM teammate, Andreas Lettenbichler finished third, 13 minutes and 39 seconds behind Walker.
It was a closer race than the times suggest, as Walker left the starting line over 1 minute ahead of Jarvis, who had qualified sixth. But Jarvis rode well and quickly eliminated Walker’s advantage. Jarvis used his trials experience to good effect in the rocks, and he took the race lead on lap two of three. However, Walker kept pushing, and when Jarvis made a mistake, Walker retook the lead. The battle wasn’t over yet, as Jarvis found his way back around Walker to retake the lead at the start of the final lap.
Jarvis and Walker gapped the rest of the field, setting up an epic showdown for the win. That showdown effectively ended when Jarvis made a mistake as he dropped into the final quarry section of the 60-kilometer lap, allowing Walker to pass him for the win.
Beating Jarvis was a real confidence booster for Walker, who, like most of the top extreme enduro riders, was using the Alès Trêm as a warm-up for the traditional Hell’s Gate in Italy, which is schedule for February 15. The new French event attracted 400 starters.
“For a new race it’s been great,” Walker said of the Alès Trêm. “It was hard work, and some parts of the track were really technical on the last lap, but generally it wasn’t overly difficult. Being the first rider to start the first lap meant that I didn’t have any tire tracks to follow. I got lost for a short time on the second lap, and dropped back to third. But I pushed really hard on the final lap and everything went well. Like I said it’s not been overly difficult, but really enjoyable. The prologue on the first day was also great fun.”
Like Walker, Jarvis was using the Alès Trêm to get some testing and riding time in before Hell’s Gate, but he still wanted to win.
“It’s been a good event, but to be honest I’m a little disappointed I didn’t win,” Jarvis said. “I made a mistake on the final quarry section and the victory got away from me there. It wasn’t overly difficult terrain, but with three laps to ride it was quite physical. I got into the lead on lap two and felt good. It wasn’t really possible to break away from Jonny, and for the final lap it was a case of whoever made a mistake lost the race. Unfortunately it was me. I got on the wrong line descending into the quarry and he got past. After that I just couldn’t fight back and had to settle for second. Overall I’m pleased. I’m riding well, the bike feels great and with Hell’s Gate a little over two weeks away it’s been the perfect event to get a few race miles under my belt.”
Alès Trêm Extreme Enduro
Results: January 24, 2015
1. Jonny Walker-KTM/4 hours, 15 minutes, 6 seconds
2. Graham Jarvis-Hus/4:17:12
3. Andreas Lettenbichler-KTM/4:28:45
4. Pierre Pallut-Hus/4:48
5. Alexandre Queyreyre-Bet/4:51
6. Julien Gauthier-Yam/4:58
7. Blake Gutzeit-Hus
8. Cédric Tempier-She
9. Florian Peyret-TM
10. Yannick Marpinard-Bet