C Motorsport

Gerhard Kerschbaumer makes his way on the Erzberg.

Pure adrenaline: Gerhard Kerschbaumer at the Erzbergrodeo

Former South Tyrolean mountain bike professional Gerhard Kerschbaumer (32) tackled a challenge that wasn't exactly an everyday challenge last weekend.

With his 110 kilo motorcycle (GasGas) he took part in the toughest one-day enduro race in the world, the infamous Red Bull Erzbergrodeo in Styria. At the end of the grueling competition, the Verdinger came in 29th place.

“Never before in my entire professional career have I been plagued by so many cramps towards the end of a competition,” says Kerschbaumer, summing up the weekend’s racing strains. But taking part in the Red Bull Erzbergrodeo was definitely worth it; he will never forget the impressions for the rest of his life.

Three South Tyrolean participants, from left Andreas Gasser, Gerhard Kerschbaumer and Elias Gasser.

Steep and slippery forest sections have to be mastered within the 4-hour limit as well as brutal scree fields - a victory at the Erzbergrodeo is equivalent to an accolade in this scene. And ultimately only a handful of elite riders make it to the finish within the time limit. The rest of the field of 500 drivers is classified based on the checkpoints passed.

Previous experience as a mountain biker is an advantage

Gerhard Kerschbaumer mastered 25 checkpoints, which meant an impressive 29th place in the final ranking. “There was of course a solid basis due to my past as a mountain biker, but I also knew that at some point I would run out of strength in my upper body and hands,” he looks back. But the bottom line is that things went better than expected.

There was a lot of respect, especially for the two prologue races for the qualification, where it was all about speed. The field of participants was reduced from the original 1300 to 500 riders. There were also several from South Tyrol among the starters - in addition to Gerhard Kerschbaumer, Maximilian Zelger (rank 100) also made it into the top 74, Manuel Eschgfeller came 120th, and Johannes von Klebelsberg came 126th.

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