KTM rider Jonny Walker put in another impressive Extreme Enduro ride on Saturday to finish second in the notoriously difficult Hell’s Gate in Italy coming in behind veteran Husaberg rider Graham Jarvis. It was only Walker’s second attempt at Hell’s Gate and his first as a KTM factory supported rider.
The 22-year-old Briton who has been grabbing attention in a range of Enduro, EnduroCross and Extreme races claimed yet another podium in what is considered one of the most grueling one day events on the calendar. He arrived at Hell’s Peak five minutes behind Jarvis but to uproarious cheers from the Italian crowd.
Jonny started the day strongly winning the five laps in the morning qualifying to take pole for the main race. He had a good start, secured the holeshot and led briefly before making a small mistake that cost him the advantage he had won at the start when he lost valuable time recovering his bike. This put him three minutes behind Jarvis, a time that Jonny managed to cut in half going into the second last lap. Then the very experienced Jarvis turned up the heat and pulled clear in the final lap.
Jonny Walker: “It went very well this morning. I took it steady and I still won but in the night race I lost time when I crashed and the bike slipped down the slope. It's a very long day with the five laps in the morning before the main race and the last hill is impossible to ride, you have to be pulled up by the spectators. But I’ll be back next year and I’ll be coming back to win this race.”
Other leading KTM riders like David Knight and Taddy Blazusiak are past winners of Hell’s Gate and it is a race that Taddy describes as ‘brutal’. For the night race, only those that get to the peak within 15 minutes of the leader are considered finishers.
Results Hell's Gate 2012
1. Graham Jarvis (GB), HUSABERG
2. Jonny Walker (GB), KTM
3. Xavi Galindo (E), HUSABERG
Well earned podium for KTM's Jonny Walker
Walker battles slopes of Hell's Gate
Big crowd at summit to cheer on KTM's Walker