2019 Red Bull Override Race Report

Lettenbichler tames inaugural Red Bull Override hard enduro in Texas.

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing's Manuel Lettenbichler dominated the inaugural Red Bull Override hard enduro in Decatur, Texas.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing's Manuel Lettenbichler dominated the inaugural Red Bull Override hard enduro in Decatur, Texas.Shan Moore

Fresh off of winning this year’s World Enduro Super Series (WESS) Championship, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Manuel Lettenbichler dominated the inaugural Red Bull Override hard enduro in Decatur, Texas, beating runner-up finisher Chilean Benjamin Herrera (Beta) by nearly 17 minutes after six hours of racing.

Starting at 2:00 p.m. and finishing at 8:00 p.m., the Red Bull Override is a six-hour hard enduro that is unique in that the final two hours take place after dark. Riders, of course, mount headlights and helmet lights for the final portion of the race, and to help spectators see the action, the toughest portions of the course, called “Override sections,” are lit up. The pro riders were required to take each of the three Override sections starting at a certain time in the race.

Chilean Benjamin Herrera (8) impressed a lot of people by finishing second in only his first hard enduro.
Chilean Benjamin Herrera (8) impressed a lot of people by finishing second in only his first hard enduro.Shan Moore

Right off the start, the riders encountered a massive log jump just to get them warmed up for what was coming. Before the end of the first lap, Lettenbichler had established a solid lead while Herrera, RPM KTM’s Trystan Hart, SRT’s Cory Graffunder, Beta USA’s Max Gerston, and FactoryONE Sherco’s Nick Fahringer ran in a small group behind.

RPM KTM’s Trystan Hart finished third.
RPM KTM’s Trystan Hart finished third.Shan Moore

The lap times averaged in the 45-minute range and the riders were pitting every two laps for fuel and drink. After six hours of racing, Lettenbichler crossed the finish line to complete his eighth lap and win the race. “It was a really long and tough day,” Lettenbichler said. “Especially in the dark, it was challenging. We had to put lights on for the night portion, so it was unique. It was long and grueling, and I think I had a good pace from the beginning on. I actually kept a good pace until the last lap, but if I’m honest, I was struggling a little bit on the last lap. I was just tired because I knew that I had a good gap.”

SRT’s Cory Graffunder finished one step off the podium in fourth.
SRT’s Cory Graffunder finished one step off the podium in fourth.Shan Moore

Nearly 17 minutes later, Herrera completed the race to finish in second place. Lettenbichler and Herrera were the only two riders to make eight laps. “The track was hard, but if you stayed calm, you could make all the sections clean,” Herrera noted. “The hardest point was when the night came and you got [to] the lappers and all that, but the track was really nice. For the public, it was also really good to watch. I’m really happy with this race and for [finishing in] second place.”

Hart came in third, a lap down from Herrera. “The first couple laps, the marking wasn’t exactly perfect, so a bunch of us were just running around like chickens with their heads cut off,” Hart explained. “Then Benji [Herrera] and I started battling pretty good and it was fun. Then I had a mechanical problem and I lost sight of him. Then I got going again and then I had another problem; I got a hole in my radiator hose. A couple of nice guys helped me get back on track and finish third, so it was a long six hours. I was cramping unbelievably; I just couldn’t even sit anymore. I’m happy to finish third though.”

FactoryONE Sherco’s Nick Fahringer, a former National Enduro ace, rounded out the top five.
FactoryONE Sherco’s Nick Fahringer, a former National Enduro ace, rounded out the top five.Shan Moore

Graffunder finished one spot off the podium in fourth. “On that first lap, I was in second, and then eighth, and then third, and then seventh…just all over the place,” Graffunder said. “That part was really fun. I was having a really good time, even though it was frustrating getting lost. It was cool to be in a race and also have fun because at that point in the race, it really didn’t matter. Everyone’s learning the track, so the race hadn’t really started yet. Manni [Lettenbichler] got away, but other than that no one else was able to get away, so it was really cool. We were yelling at the other riders and throwing our hands up in the air like, ‘Where’s the course?’ Then someone would see it and take off and then we’d all take off, so I had a lot of fun there.”

Fahringer, a former National Enduro ace, rounded out the top five. “I had a few little incidents on the course,” Fahringer said. “I smashed my foot and didn’t really start dropping the bike until the last two laps. [I was] just running out of steam halfway up a hill. I was pretty happy coming from working Monday through Friday. [I’m] just doing the best I can to be training.”

Beta USA’s Max Gerston was all smiles after the race, noting that he felt that he paced himself too much in the beginning stages of the race.
Beta USA’s Max Gerston was all smiles after the race, noting that he felt that he paced himself too much in the beginning stages of the race.Shan Moore

Gerston, who was sixth, said afterwards that he could have paced himself better. “I think it was a cool race,” Gerston said. “I was pacing myself, but I paced myself a little bit too much. I didn’t go hard enough early enough. I should have pushed the envelope a little bit more, which sounds crazy since I was on the bike for six and a half hours. So I kind of paced myself a little too much, but at the end of the day I had fun. I’m ready to take a little time off and hit next year hard.”

Sherco-mounted Grayson Gonsalves was seventh, 16 minutes behind Gerston. David Garza (Husqvarna) was eighth, while Didier Goirand (KTM) and Mitch Carvolth (Sherco) rounded out the top 10, respectively.

2019 Red Bull Override Results

Position Rider Brand
1 Manuel Lettenbichler KTM
2 Benjamin Herrera Beta
3 Trystan Hart KTM
4 Cory Graffunder Husqvarna
5 Nick Fahringer Sherco
6 Max Gerston Beta
7 Grayson Gonsalves Sherco
8 David Garza Husqvarna
9 Didier Goirand KTM
10 Mitch Carvolth Sherco