Our bikes are down as we prepare for the winter. We’ve ordered grip heaters, a Gerbing’s heated jacket liner, and a new chain and sprockets. While everything’s apart and being prepared, we’ve been… looking through post about dirt bikes on Derestricted. The tacky grips and sharp pegs, the thrill of the narrow powerband, and the rush of the trees as they go by. It takes effort to find a riding spot, get dressed in the requisite gear, and then focus 100% during the blast through the woods, but the rewards are tremendous.
Here’s a video of a KTM 300 and a Freeride 350 being ridden by two competent riders. We’d take the lighter, more powerful 300 over the 350, though the idea of a detuned motor with a linear powerband and long maintenance intervals does appeal.
For tires, we’d fit Metzeler’s 6 Days Extreme, which was developed with factory riders for the most extreme conditions, and features superior structural characteristics and excellent puncture resistance. The knob distribution offers outstanding grip in all conditions.
Munich, 5 December 2012 – Metzeler will be title sponsor of Hell’s Gate Metzeler 2013, the international extreme enduro competition which is now in its 10th edition.
Hell’s Gate is a race that became a symbol of modern extreme endure from its first appearance on the scene, and set the bar for a new era in enduro. This is a segment where Metzeler can be considered a legend in its own right. Since 1935 Metzeler has won a long series of victories in the German Enduro Championship, various titles in the European Championship and several wins in the International Six Days of Enduro. Before the turn of the century, between 1990 and 1997, Metzeler won twelve Enduro World Championships in different classes with high calibre riders such as Paul Edmondson, Giovanni Sala, Mario Rinaldi and Fabio Farioli. This brings us to our time in which, after introducing the innovative MCE 6 Days Extreme, the German brand has earned an astonishing nineteen world titles in the World Enduro Championship thanks to the performances of riders like David Knight, Ivan Cervantes, Samuli Aro, Juha Salminen, Johnny Aubert, Antoine Meo, Christophe Nambotin and the unforgettable Mika Ahola.
From 2004, the year of the first edition, Hell’s Gate has always been held in the month of February at the tourist Il Ciocco estate in the Tuscan Apennines: a natural paradise for enduro which, for the occasion is transformed into a hellish track to host all the participants in the competition. the track has all types of difficulties: falls, full flowing torrents, mule paths on impossible stony terrain. A decidedly technical and “physical” track.
Hell’s Gate was developed as a two phase race: in the morning an elimination enduro race where 30 ranked riders then access the actual race, the final phase of Hell’s Gate Metzeler. Starting grid and then the riders are ready to be unleashed into the inferno: 4 laps, a special non-stop trial, only checkpoints. The riders that cross with a delay of more than 30 minutes behind the lead rider are eliminated from the competition. The riders are also allowed to receive aid from the public on site, indispensable for tackling the final uphill, the unbreakable Hell’s Peak.
Heavy rains meant that the first day’s Xtreme test went untimed, but there was still lots of action in the seventh round of the World Enduro Championship. Juha Salminen retired from Enduro 1 on the second lap with gearbox trouble, so all eyes were on his main competitor, Metzeler rider Eero Remes. Remes spent the first day battling Rodrig Thain and Frenchman Matti Seistola. Ultimately, Remes managed to fend off both of them to take first place—he was joined on the podium by Thain and Sestola in second and third, respectively.
In Enduro 2, there was fierce competition between Metzeler’s Ivan Cervantes and Frenchmen Antoine Meo and Pierre-Alexandre Renet. Cervantes was looking good in first place until a Meo’s last-second dash in the final special. Metzeler’s Taddy Blazusiak took 6th in his first day of racing E2 this season, and Metzeler’s Cristobal Guerrero took 4th.
In Enduro 3, our own Mika Ahola and Christophe Nambotin had less than a second between them at the end of the third lap, but Nambotin made some mistakes in the last two specials and wasn’t able to capitalize on his first place hopes. And the end of the day, the podium went Ahola, Ljunggren, and Nambotin.
Eero Remes started strong and was full of confidence after his E1 victory one day one. Victory slipped through his fingers and the day wore on, and he saw Juha Salminen take it from him at the very end and had to settle for second place. E2 saw Metzeler riders Guerrero and Cervantes battling all day long. Meo won the war, however, as his 3rd place puts him in a sufficiently strong position to win the championship, despite there being one round left. Taddy Blazusiak worked his magic on the Xtreme Test to the crowd’s delight, and finished the competition in 5th place.
On the big bikes of E3, there was a 3-way fight for first place. Ahola, Nambotin and Ljunggren. On the last lap, they were separated by a second, but the final order was Metzeler’s Nambotin in first, Ljunggren in second, and Ahola in third.
Make sure to check out the videos to see how fierce this competition was. The skill these guys have is incredible, and to compete for more than seven hours in two days requires tremendous stamina.
All our riders were using Metzeler’s 6 Days Extreme Enduro or variations. It was developed with factory riders for the most extreme conditions, and features superior structural characteristics and excellent puncture resistance. The knob distribution offers outstanding grip in all conditions—just check out the results below.
Final Standings (Metzeler riders in bold)
1 NAMBOTIN Christophe
2 LJUNGGREN Joakim
3 AHOLA Mika
1 GUERRERO Cristobal
2 CERVANTES Ivan
3 MEO Antoine
5 BLAZUSIAK Tadeus
Metzeler makes a range of tires, from racing slicks to touring tires to motocross tires and beyond. We also make a product that you may not be familiar with. It’s like an inner tube but never gets flats, and is used in off-road competition.
It takes a lot of preparation to ride in the top levels of off-road racing, and the last thing any competitor wants is to DNF because of a flat tire. Metzeler has the answer. Mousse is just like an innertube but is made from foam and so cannot be punctured. To aid with mounting, a properly-sized mousse provides an equivalent tire pressure of about 10 psi—too low for street use but perfect for a rocky enduro; in a harescrable situation, mousse provides traction but prevent pinch flats. Check out the terrain these riders have to cover:
Mousse converts report that mousse substantially reduces the mental load of racing. It’s easy to back off on the really rough stuff in order to preserve the tires, but with mousse it’s not necessary. Is that less mechanically sympathetic? Yes. Is it necessary to win at the top level? Absolutely
As with any product that is so specialized, there are caveats. Roling resistance is slighty greater, and a lubricant must be used on the inside of the tire to prevent premature wear, but the advantages far outweigh the drawbacks, and many a top-rider has used mousse to make it to the podium without wincing at every bump.
It’s not too hard to change either–check out this video at Enduro Talk.
Television can make it seem like motorcycles are good only for the X Games, World Superbike Championship and motocross, but in Europe there are other genres of motorcycle competition that are equally awesome. The FIM World Enduro Championship events, for instance, are banzai caricatures of a typical weekend ride. The two-day events comprise an enduro section held on woodsy trails, a motocross section on a motocross course, and an extreme test where riders tackle terrifying hillclimbs, rock gardens, and mild trials-type obstacles. The Turkish race this past weekend had seven hours of riding over 180km in 13 different timed specials, all in scorching 100+ degree weather.
The three classes are based on engine displacement—E1 is 125cc 2-strokes (250cc 4-stroke), E2 is 250cc 2-stroke (450cc 4-stroke) and E3 is run on up to 500cc 2-strokes or 650cc 4-strokes. The bikes have to be street legal too—check out the action in the videos and keep in mind that all these bikes have lights and plates and could be ridden to the grocery store. These rules motivate the manufacturers to come up with some wild—but legal—dirtbikes. Metzeler is in on the action too, sponsoring riders and developing some terrifically capable yet legal rubber.
The 2011 series is half over, and at the conclusion of the June 10-11 Turkish event the championship performance of Metzeler riders has been outstanding. Finn Mika Ahola leads E3, Spaniard Ivan Cervantes is in second place in E2, and Finn Eero Sare second in the standings in E2 and E1. We’re rooting for you guys—the race footage is great and we’ll continue doing our best to emulate you on our weekend rides.