Husqvarna Monster Energy Speedbrain rider Andreas “Letti” Lettenbichler scored a hard-fought, but well deserved third place finish at the seventh edition of the Tough One extreme enduro race in the north of England on 13 March.
Steve Ireland, the Tough One mastermind, had moved his three-hour race to a new venue for 2011 – the demanding Back Cown Quarry north of Manchester, which had a lap length of about four miles (roughly 6.3km) with several fast stages and a few technically demanding sections, including a small MX track.
With this in mind, Letti decided to change the transmission settings on his Husqvarna WR300 to achieve slightly higher speeds. It appeared to be the right decision since in the initial stages he was able to keep up with the British extreme enduro rider and Hell’s Gate winner Graham Jarvis, who was remarkably quick and passed Letti to take the lead in the first lap.
Competing against a field of mainly British riders, Letti unfortunately hit a rock while passing an ‘expert class’ rider on the second lap, which damaged his foot brake lever. Changing the broken part would have cost him too much time so it was down to Letti’s exceptional technical skills to continue this demanding race without the use of a rear brake – a serious challenge considering the high number of steep downhill sections.
Once again proving his “never-give-up” attitude, Letti took a lot of risks to keep as close as possible to eventual winner Jarvis, who was clearly dominant in front of his home fans. In fact, Letti was looking good for second place, but his good friend, British rider Paul Bolton managed to catch and pass him on the last of the 12 laps. However, Bolton’s speed didn’t come as a surprise since he lives close to the Tough One venue and it’s his regular training ground so he knows it like the back of his hand.
Without his rear footbrake, Lettenbichler had a little crash while pushing as hard as possible to keep hold of his second place, so under the circumstances, he was forced to settle for third.
“While I am very happy having secured a podium finish at the Tough One I am also a bit disappointed since I had this early technical problem,” said the 2009 Red Bull Romaniacs winner. “But this is off-road racing and these things can happen, so you have to make the best of it. I had a very good start and felt comfortable on the Husqvarna on this pretty fast track. Passing an expert class rider in the second lap I suddenly had to change my line to avoid a collision, hit a rock and recognized I had completely lost my rear brake. The track was constantly undulating, so without any rear brake it was hard going – and pretty much impossible to go at the same speed as Jarvis.
“There were some scary moments in some of the downhill sections because I had to stall the engine to achieve some sort of braking effect! Paul was getting closer and it was a real challenge to push even harder in the last laps. While rushing into a corner, the front wheel locked and I had a little crash so Paul was then able to pass me. Considering the loss of the rear brake and having to make two (instead of one) pit stops I am happy with the result. Now the team and I will concentrate on the preparations for the Erzbergrodeo. We will optimize the Husqvarna for the biggest and most prestigious event in our calendar and I will train very hard to finally make it to the top of the podium at this famous Hare Scramble!”
The Tough One results
1. Graham Jarvis (Husaberg, UK), 12 Laps
2. Paul Bolton (KTM, UK), (+10 minutes)
3. Andreas Lettenbichler (Husqvarna, Germany), (+11 minutes)
4. Xavier Galindo Arbones (Husaberg, SP)
5. Ben Hemingway (KTM, UK)
6. Andy Cripps (GASGAS, UK)
7. Gavin Houson (Husaberg, UK)
8.Michael Vukcevic (Sherco, BE)
9. Richard Ellwod (KTM, UK)
10. Gerhard Forster (Husqvarna, Germany)