Dougie Lampkin (GB, Beta), the twelve-time trial world champion, secures his first international extreme Enduro victory ahead of fellow British rider Graham Jarvis (GB, Sherco) at the legendary Hell’s Gate race.103 riders from all over the world came to the little but beautiful village named Castelvecchio Pascoli, situated in heart of the beautiful Tuscany, Italy, to compete in the first race in the “warm-up” season of the World Xtreme Enduro Championship (WXEC): The current extreme and indoor Enduro dominator Taddy Blazusiak (Poland, KTM), who won the Hell’s Gate in the two previous years, the 2009 Roof of Africa champion Chris Birch (New Zealand, KTM) and 2009 Red Bull Romaniacs winner Andreas “Letti” Lettenbichler (Germany, BMW) just to mention a few.The Hell’s Gate was invented in 2006 by Italy’s Enduro legend Fabio Fasola and has been a magnet for the worlds best Enduro pilots ever since. In the 2010 edition only 30 of the 103 riders survived the brutal four laps of qualifying in the morning and only two riders finished the final four laps in the afternoon – so it’s obvious that Fabio had designed a much more selective track compared to 2009 when 7 riders made it to the finish line called “Hell’s Peak”.
Taddy Blazusiak again showed an impressive performance in the qualifying and most spectators expected Taddy to claim the third victory at the Hell’s Gate. But he crashed heavily in the first of the final four laps when he hit some ice in the higher on one of the highest sections of the track, broke his front brake and had to give up: “Obviously not finishing Hell’s Gate this year isn’t what I was hoping for but it can happen. I’ve had a really great run of results recently so although it’s disappointing it’s not the end of the world. I’ll get myself ready for my next event – the Tough One in the UK in a few weeks.”Graham Jarvis took the lead after Taddy’s crash and showed a very impressive performance throughout the following 3 laps followed by Dougie Lampkin and Andreas Lettenbichler. While Lampkin was able to keep up with the very high speed of Jarvis, Lettenbichler lost more and more time as there were sections impassable – for all riders – without the assistance of the event staff.In lap 3 Jarvis, Lampkin and Lettenbichler were the only riders left in the competition. At the Hell’s Gate main event riders with more than 40 minutes behind the leader at any given checkpoint are pulled out of the race which resulted in only three riders left in the third lap. Letti had to give up so there were only Jarvis and Lampkin battling for the victory. Despite being 7 minutes behind Lampkin never gave up and made up more and more time.
When Jarvis reached the bottom of Hell’s Peak he was only a minute ahead of Lampkin. Hell’s Peak is an uphill section which is extremely steep, simply unridable. About 2,000 primarily Italian Enduro enthusiasts gather together at the Hell’s Peak to wait for the riders to arrive. The organizers of the race make sure that the first riders arrive in the darkness so that the crowd suddenly screams when the first headlight shows up in the darkness at the bottom of the hill. Once the rider has reached the unridable section there are groups of spectators who will use ropes to pull up the bikes. Jarvis arrived and it took a moment until his bike was hooked up. Lampkin however came from behind with a lot of momentum and was able to climb up the hill about 100 ft higher than Jarvis and made it to the top just a minute earlier than Jarvis. A very disappointing result for Jarvis who – also according to Taddy – had shown an outstanding performance at the grueling Hell’s Gate. But Lampkin never gave up and deserves the victory.Results – Hell’s Gate 2010Qualifying
1. Taddy Blazusiak (KTM Enduro Factory Team) 34.02:70
2. Graham Jarvis (Sherco) 34.30:22
3. Andreas Lettenbichler (BMW) 34.41.15
4. Dougie Lampkin (Beta) 36.19.70
5. Cory Graffunder (Husqvarna) 36.40:89Main Event
1. Dougie Lampkin (Beta) 4 laps
2. Graham Jarvis (Sherco) 4 laps