David Knight (GB, KTM) outclasses the international Extreme Enduro elite and truly deserves his forth triumph at the 10th Tough One. The “Knighter” lapped all competitors in the pro class except his fellow British rider Tom Sagar (Suzuki) who finished second followed by Dougie Lampkin (Beta).The second race in the warm-up season of the World Xtreme Enduro Championships (WXEC) attracted even more top riders than the Hell’s Gate two weeks earlier. Besides international top riders such as the “Roof of Africa” winner Chris Birch (NZ, KTM), European Cross Country Champion Simo Kirssi (FIN, BMW), “Red Bull Romaniacs” hero Andreas “Letti” Lettenbichler (D, BMW) and South Africa’s Enduro legend Darryl Curtis (KTM) all the British top guns came to Wales: The two-times Enduro World Champion David Knight, the twelve-time trial world champion Dougie Lampkin, Graham Jarvis (Sherco), Paul Edmondson (Suzuki) and Paul Bolton (KTM) just to mention a few. Unfortunately Taddy Blazusiak had to withdraw on short notice due to a flue – sad for both, Taddy and the spectators. Sad for Taddy, because he wanted to defeat the 2009 victory at this event and sad for the spectators, because they had desperately awaited the fight between Blazusiak and Knight.
Promoter Steve Ireland’s concept for the Tough One clearly is to create a two hours extreme Enduro battle on a track that the pro riders can do in about 8 minutes per lap. As simple as it sounds, these short lap times make sure that the spectators will see the riders much more frequently at the Tough One than in most of the other extreme Enduro races. Despite the icy conditions the riders widely considered the track ridable and much less challenging than the Hell’s Gate.In the “Kriega Pro Hot Lap” qualifying David Knight made his ambitions very clear by scoring the fastest lap. The ten fastest riders of the hot lap were rewarded with a privileged start ahead of the field. Ireland however removed a couple of sections including a very steep downhill and uphill for the main event in the early afternoon to avoid potential crashes and queues in those sections.Right from the start the “Dark Knight” left no doubt that he was on a clear mission to win the race. His fellow British rider Graham Jarvis, who had won the hearts of many extreme Enduro fans with his outstanding performance at the Hell’s Gate, lost some ground in the second half of the race and had to give up shortly before the end of the race with a broken clutch. Andreas “Letti” Lettenbichler from Germany had a technical problem with his BMW in the first lap of the main event and lost 2 laps. Letti however didn’t give up and finished the race exactly two laps behind Knight and Sagar – which would have put him on the podium without the problem in the first lap.
David Knight was very happy about the first victory in his first race back on the KTM: “Winning The Tough One is a great way to start the year. Every other year I’ve won the event I’ve gone on to win either a World Enduro Championship or US GNCC title, so let’s hope the same happens this year. I really enjoyed the race, and it was certainly a good work out for me ahead of the first round of the British Enduro Championship. I banged my clutch lever up as I went off the start and managed to break my handguard pushing it back down, so I had that flapping around for a while. But once I got going things went well. Because we started behind the Expert class riders I was soon in amongst them, and getting stuck at the back of some of the single-track sections of the course. Every time I pulled away a bit I’d get stuck in amongst a load of riders so I decided not to push too hard during the first few laps. Once I was past all the Expert riders I pushed hard. There were a lot of places that were one-lined so you had to wait. I had about a two-minute lead after the first hour, when I came in for fuel and goggles. The second hour went really well. I extended my lead and didn’t have any problems from there to the finish. The track was frozen in a few places but it rode well. All in all it was a good race for me.”
1. David Knight (GB), KTM, 14 laps
2. Toma Sagar (GB), Suzuki, 14 laps
3. Dougie Lampkin (GB), Beta, 13 laps
4. Roy Mead (NZ), Yamaha, 13 laps
5. Paul Bolton (GB), KTM, 13 laps
6. Ben Hemingway (GB), KTM, 12 laps
7. Juan Knight (GB), GAS GAS, 12 laps
8. Richard Ellwood (GB), KTM, 12 laps
9. Simo Krissi (FIN), BMW, 12 laps
10. David Myers (GB), KTM, 12 laps
11. Andy Cripps (GB), Kawasaki, 12 laps
12. Andreas Lettenbichler (GER), BMW, 12 laps
13. Dan Hemingway (GB), KTM, 12 laps