Open pit mines seem like the perfect place for a hare scramble... right?
The self-proclaimed biggest off-road motorcycle event in the world, the Erzbergrodeo, was founded in 1994, ran through its inaugural mud pit in 1995, and has been going strong and getting bigger ever since.
The amazing variety of surfaces involved in this race challenge even the toughest competitors. Pay close attention to the rocks and gravel and mud these competitors are rolling over, and climbing, and getting stuck in. There are boulders the size of end tables, deep mud, steep gravelly hills and loose terrain everywhere. Riders need to climb, descend, and stay on the throttle through and over trees. Some years it’s dry and the gravel is dusty. Some years it’s a giant mud pit. Yet others, there’s snow on the ground!
Competitors have to make it to the finish line through obstacles with names like “the bathtub” and “fairy tale forest.” More than 1500 riders attend the race each year, but only five hundred will qualify to run it, and only a few handfuls will actually finish it. For many, finishing alone is a great accomplishment. The elite few who have won this race are a rare breed.
The location in Erzberg, Austria is known for its mining. The ground itself is ore, and the races are run on and through these open pit mines. Some of the largest open pit mines in Central Europe are in Erzberg, German for “Ore Mountain.”
The competitors have two days to practice riding around the gravel roads, up and down the hills and around all of the obstacles in the mine and it surrounding forests, before the final event. It is ostensibly the most difficult enduro ride in the world, even though it is only 35 kilometers long, the terrain is something most of us would look at and say there’s no way to ride a motorcycle over, through, or up that!
Good news, though: you can attend this event as a spectator, and the region would love to have you! This event brings competitors from all over the world and Erzberg welcomes all the tourists that join them.