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ADV NewsPol Tarres And His Tenere 700 Make History At Erzbergrodeo 2022

Pol Tarres And His Tenere 700 Make History At Erzbergrodeo 2022

First rider in the history of the race to get this far on a twin-cylinder motorcycle.

Published on 06.21.2022
Pol Tarres races Erzbergrodeo Hard Enduro

Well, another Erzbergrodeo is officially in the books, and what a wild ride it was, with many veterans calling the 2022 course the most grueling in the competition’s 26-year history. 

This year’s event, the third of eight stops on the Hard Enduro World championship circuit, was filled with gut wrenching scenes of riders and bikes being devoured by 35.2 kilometers of harsh terrain that included fields of massive boulders, near vertical hill climbs, plunging descents and single track that zig-zagged through thick, muddy forests. Riders also had to survive dust and mud and near triple-digit temperatures.  

Pol Tarres races Erzbergrodeo Hard Enduro

Of the 1500 riders who entered the Red Bull Erzbergrodeo this year, only 500 qualified for the main event. Of those 500, just one raced it on an adventure bike: Pol Tarres, the Spanish trials champ, who’s become so well known for videos of his superhuman romps aboard a series of Yamaha Tenere 700s. While his most recent film, Terrible 7, follows him as he breaks a Guinness World Record for reaching the highest altitude on a twin-cylinder motorcycle (20,203 feet), taking on the Erzbergrodeo on the adventure bike is by far his most ambitious quest to date. 

Pol Tarres races Erzbergrodeo Hard Enduro
Pol has made history becoming the first rider to race Erzbegrodeo’s main event and reach checkpoint 17 on a twin-cylinder motorcycle.

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Pol was no stranger to the notoriously difficult race, having entered aboard more conventional two-stroke mounts three times prior to last weekend’s event, finishing all three times and even landing in the top ten in 2019, the last year the event was held. Anyone who follows the Erzbergrodeo knows that kind of a track record is a nearly impossible feat on its own. To illustrate, out of the 1500 riders who entered this year’s race, only 500 could qualify for the main event. How many of those 500 crossed the actual finish line? Just 8.

Pol Tarres races Erzbergrodeo Hard Enduro

And while Pol wasn’t one of the riders to get a checkered flag, his ride did bring him through checkpoint 17 of 27 in the allotted 4 hours, which is nothing short of miraculous.  

When we first reported Pol was taking on the world’s toughest enduro race on his Yamaha, he said that in order to finish the race, it was imperative he start in the first row of 50 riders. Those coveted spots are won or lost in the event’s Iron Mountain Prologue time trials held the Friday and Saturday before Sunday’s main event. Pol’s Tenere gave him the advantage of speed, though not in his favor this year was a change to the Prologue course that made speed less of an advantage than it had been in years past. 

Pol Tarres races Erzbergrodeo Hard Enduro

While Pol did bag a first place trophy for winning in the multi-cylinder class at the Prologue, he heart wrenchingly ended up placing 52nd in the qualifying event, just two spots from being able to launch from the front row, unfettered by the event’s inevitable carnage and subsequent queues. 

And the backups this year were spectacular. At one point we saw Pol jump off his Tenere and mount the bike of the rider ahead who was blocking his line up a technical, forested climb. Pol easily popped his competitor’s bike from its stuck position before returning to ride his Yamaha through the tricky section. 

During the live streaming of the race, Red Bull commentator and 5-time Erzbergrodeo finisher Darryl Curtis said of watching Pol sea-sawing the T7 through a boulder garden called Machine: “I can’t think of anything worse in my life than riding that thing around the Erzberg.” And he’s right! Who does this kind of crazy sh*t on an adventure bike?

Yet Pol Tarres seems to enjoy every minute of it. Ever since he and his T7, a new build each year, made their debut in the Echevarría Brother’s film The Seeker in 2020, the 28-year-old Spaniard has become a history-making machine. And now he’s become the first rider to race Erzbergrodeo’s main event and reach checkpoint 17 on a twin-cylinder bike. 

WATCH: Follow Pol as he takes on the Iron Giant on his Tenere 700!

But Pol wasn’t the only rider making history in Eisenerz, Austria, this year. Manuel “Mani” Lettenbichler took an early lead and rode his KTM to a definitive first place finish, making him and his enduro champ dad, Andreas Lettenbichler, the first father and son to have won the Erzbergrodeo’s main event (and on Father’s Day no less). Mani’s winning time was 2 hours, 58 minutes, and 51 seconds.

In second was Spaniard Mario Roman, followed by Trystan Hart, the first Canadian to podium at Erzberg. Billy Bolt and Alfredo Gomez came next, then Michael Walkner, who made the best time ever for an Austrian rider, who arrived to huge cheers from his home country fans. And perhaps the biggest hero of the day was multi-time ‘rodeo winner Graham Jarvis, who was favored to triumph in this year’s event after two consecutive wins in the lead up. 

But Graham’s bike suffered a mechanic issue at the start and the fix cost him nearly a full hour of ride time. The 47-year-old Brit quite literally took off in 500th position, yet over the course of the remaining 3 hours he made it through the infamous boulder field of Carl’s Dinner and into the top 20 field. Sadly, Graham was disqualified from the results for — rumor has it — receiving mechanical help with his bike, which is prohibited. 

WATCH: Pol’s Erzbergrodeo Tenere 700 Bike Build.

Pol’s race ended in a huge queue behind riders stuck between Stony Party, the 17th checkpoint, and the 18th checkpoint, Udo’s Playground, when the working ore mine’s horns signaled the end of the race. His final position was 77th out of the 500 riders, many of whom spent the entire 4 hours trying to get through just the first few checkpoints.

Pol Tarres makes history at Erzbergrodeo Hard Enduro
Pol Tarres makes history at Erzbergrodeo Hard Enduro
Word from the crew is the bike ran perfectly throughout the race although, not surprisingly, it sustained some bodywork damage.

How did the T7 hold up to such horrific abuse? Word from the crew is the bike ran perfectly. Although it does appear to have sustained some bodywork damage in the front.

So what’s next for the world’s most fun to watch adventure bike ambassador? Pol will continue riding with Yamaha’s Tenere 700 World Raid Team while chasing more unique challenges on his custom T7s, all of which will undoubtedly be captured in all their glory by the talented Echevarría Brothers, Javi and Mito, aka The Who. 

Pol Tarres makes history at Erzbergrodeo Hard Enduro

If you missed Red Bull’s live coverage of the Erzbergrodeo you can white knuckle your way through the torture fest online from the comfort and relative safety of your couch, which is undoubtedly the sanist place for one to partake in the world’s hardest Hard Enduro. 

Photos by Javi Echevarria.

Author: Jamie Elvidge

Jamie has been a motorcycle journalist for more than 30 years, testing the entire range of bikes for the major print magazines and specializing in adventure-travel related stories. To date she’s written and supplied photography for articles describing what it’s like to ride in all 50 states and 43 foreign countries, receiving two Lowell Thomas Society of American Travel Writer’s Awards along the way. Her most-challenging adventure yet has been riding in the 2018 GS Trophy in Mongolia as Team AusAmerica’s embedded journalist.

Author: Jamie Elvidge
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13 thoughts on “Pol Tarres And His Tenere 700 Make History At Erzbergrodeo 2022

  1. A word ofcompliment to the bike builder and rally team manager, Manuel Luchese, he helps Pol to make it possible

    • Indeed. We recently did a whole write up on Manuel Lucchese’s work on Pol’s new T7 and another on the Tenere World Raid Team. What an amazing guy!

    • You are correct, I saw the video too. I am not aware if he qualified or not, either way the coverage was only interested in like 6 guys. Pol being one of them. Even the third place finisher – Trystan Hart wasn’t a favorite and they gave him almost ZERO coverage because he wasn’t one of the choosen ones…some on in the broadcast finally googled Trystan and found out he is leading the US Hard Enduro series and a crazy good rider other wise, they didnt mention his name even when he was in third.

  2. Great write up. Amazing rider to be entering a predominately two cycle dirt bike class with a 200 Kg. two cylinder adventure bike.

  3. Pingback: Yamaha entre dans l'histoire à l'Africa Eco Race lors du Tenere 700 World Raid - Blog Voyage

  4. Pingback: Yamaha Makes History At Africa Eco Race On Tenere 700 World Raid – ADV Pulse – MAROC MOROCCO

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