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ADV NewsPol Tarres To Take On Erzbergrodeo On The Tenere 700

Pol Tarres To Take On Erzbergrodeo On The Tenere 700

Tarres set to race one of the toughest hard enduro events on his twin cylinder bike.

Published on 06.02.2022

Just when you think Pol Tarres can’t do anything crazier with his T7 he mounts up and outdoes himself. This year, the trials and hard enduro star has been especially busy, racing on the Tenere World Raid Team and even breaking a world record for reaching the highest altitude on a twin-cylinder motorcycle. His next quest? Getting his beloved adventure bike onto the first row starting position of the Erzbergrodeo Red Bull Hare Scramble. 

Those familiar with the four-day hold my beer event held each year in the bowels of an ancient iron ore mine in Eisenerz, Austria, know this will be a massive challenge, even for a winged-footed rider like Pol. Each year around 1500 riders show up to compete, 500 make it to the main event and only a handful finish the grueling event. 

Pol Tarres to race Erzbergrodeo on Yamaha Tenere 700

There’s deep, sloppy mud and gravel, huge boulder fields, steep hill climbs and switchbacks galore, for all of which Pol says he’s ready, especially after his strenuous, record-breaking ride up 20,203 feet on Mount Mercedario in Argentina. He says his time on the mountain shaped him. “I came back mentally super strong and with lots more patience for suffering,” explains Pol. On top of that he says he’s never been stronger physically, having spent the last two months working on strength and putting on 11 pounds of muscle.


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The trick for Pol will be placing well in Iron Mountain Prologue timed trials held on Friday and Saturday. This is the event that separates the wheat from the chaff and a competitor’s only way into the four-hour main event on Sunday. Just 500 riders make the cut. The gravel/dirt/mud route up the quarry’s main hill is roughly 13 km long (this is a working mine so routes change slightly every year) needs to be ridden as fast as possible, and it’s here the twin-cylinder Tenere will give Pol an advantage over the dirt bikes that generally rule the mine.  

Pol Tarres to race Erzbergrodeo on Yamaha Tenere 700

Pol says his biggest concern is not being able to finish the four-hour main event, but rather how he’ll place in the Prologue. “I am not afraid of Carl’s Dinner,” he says of the event’s infamous hillside boulder field. “On the contrary, I think it’s the section where I can make a difference, but I need to make sure to be there on time,” he adds, which will help him avoid the race’s spectacular traffic jams. “I need to do it calmly and to exit with enough energy to finish.”

Pol knows there’s only one way he will finish the wild event — by winning a good starting position. “I will need to start from the first row,” he says. ”There’s no other way.” 

Pol Tarres to race Erzbergrodeo on Yamaha Tenere 700

If you’ve watched Erzbergrodeo’s main event you know it starts in 10 waves of 50 riders spaced 1 minute apart, so getting a jump on the pack for the 35-plus km long laps is everything. Momentum, forward space, safety and line choice depend on it. “I am very well aware of the little chance I have to finish the race,” says Pol who already has three Erzbergrodeo rides under his belt, all performed on lighter, more conventional machines. 

Still, he says he’s “not going to Erzberg to try,” he’s going to finish the race no matter what. “I’ll have to fight like I’ve never fought before,” he says of muscling his adventure bike up, over and across some of the world’s most famously wicked and technical terrain. 

Pol Tarres to race Erzbergrodeo on Yamaha Tenere 700

True, it’s hard to imagine Pol and his trusty Tenere 700 failing at anything. His current machine, built by Dakar racer and FIM 500cc Baja World Champion, Manuel Lucchese, is as up for the challenge as it will ever be. For protection (and there will undoubtedly be lots of banging around) the Tenere 700 wears Outback Motortek crash bars and a custom bash plate, while Takasago Excel rims with reinforced spokes are up to 30% more shock resistant than stock T7 wheels. New gearing, engine tuning and a full Akrapovič system have been dialed for Pol’s trials-riding style, and custom suspension provides 270mm of travel up front while a shock from Rally Raid offers 230mm in the rear.

Pol Tarres to race Erzbergrodeo on Yamaha Tenere 700

Interestingly, the scene is said to be “significantly different” for 2022 since the ore mine has remained fully active for the two years the event was forced into Covid hiatus. The event’s long-time promoter, Karl Katoch, said in a recent interview that new sections have needed to be created for both the Prologue and the Erzbergrodeo tracks, adding new challenges for the riders. 

Time to get your popcorn ready. The action kicks off on June 16th and is streamable on Red Bull TV.  

Photography by Javi Echevarría.

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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