FMF/KTM rider Kurt Caselli reported in to give a rundown of his first attempt at the Erzberg Rodeo.
FMF/KTM Factory rider Kurt Caselli was formally invited by the KTM Factory European Racing Team to race the legendary Erzberg Rodeo. He called the KTM Headquarters in Murrieta, CA yesterday to give a recap of his premier at the highly celebrated race.
Kurt Caselli: I have always wanted to race the Erzberg race and was really excited to get this opportunity to race such a well-known event for the first time. The event has always conflicted with my schedule and finally the dates worked out and I had an opening to make it happen.
The event was held in beautiful surroundings – everything was so green. This was the biggest off-road event I have been to in my whole life. There were over 30,000 spectators and 1,800 entries. Five-hundred people qualified for the main race. I was able to qualify 4th out of the top 500 qualifiers. At the end of the event only 15 of 500 people finished the race and I was lucky enough to finish 8th overall, but it wasn’t easy.
My goal going into this race was just to finish the race. I have heard so many horror stories about this race that I knew I would be satisfied just to finish. I got off to a great start in the first half of the race sitting 2nd to eventual winner Taddy Blazusiak.
For the first half of the race you are allowed to have assistance from your team and fans to help you tackle the obstacles on the course. After the pit at the mid-way point you enter the “no help” zone which means there is absolutely no help allowed from anyone throughout the remainder of the race. So I went from actually trying to race in the first section of the event to just trying to survive in the second half of the race. There were gnarly up and down hills and huge rocks it was definitely the most technically challenging course I have ever ridden in my life. I was in 6th place near the end when I got stuck on a big down hill. I just worked away on the hill taking a few breaks here and there until I finally got through it. You definitely have to be an experienced rider to come out here and ride. If I didn’t have some off-road, desert and trials experience I would have never survived. I focused on keeping the bike together and not making serious mistakes that could damage my KTM 300 EXC, and luckily, I survived!
This race was so fun I would recommend it to anybody who can make it over. It is the most challenging event I have raced but definitely worth the trip. I have been more fatigued in races, but never more technically challenged. I was able to escape with no technical problems except for a dented pipe that was my own fault and a memory to last a lifetime. I’m glad KTM gave me this opportunity and you can bet I will be back next year.