“Don’t bet against the house” goes the old gambling adage. Those words to the wise also apply to the Erzbergrodeo. Of the 1,500 competitors that took on the challenge, only 500 progressed to the main event on Sunday, June 19, 2022. With 35.2 kilometers of boulder gardens, steep hill climbs, and muddy forest between the starting and finish lines, only eight contenders actually completed the course within the four-hour race time.

Hard enduro rider Pol Tarres already knows what it takes to conquer the Erzbergrodeo, though. Aboard a conventional two-stroke enduro, Tarres completed the grueling off-road race three times and finished in the top ten in 2019. Apparently, the experienced Erzbergrodeo rider needed an even bigger challenge in 2022, piloting a specially-equipped Yamaha Tenere 700 through the first 17 of 27 stages of the competition.

Sadly, Tarres wasn’t able to finish the race for his fourth consecutive campaign, but he became the first rider to reach the 17th stage on a twin-cylinder bike. On the other hand, his ascent to that stage was anything but easy.

Each rider is allotted four hours to progress as far as they can through the tough and treacherous terrain. However, certain stages present more challenging obstacles than others, and a queue of riders builds up as a result.

Tarres’ pace was impeded by these natural traffic jams, but he pushed through with every resource at his disposal. At one point, Tarres even helped a fellow competitor dislodge his bike from a particularly tricky section before blasting through with his T7.

Despite his best efforts, the Yamaha rider’s Erzbergrodeo bid ended between Stony Party (Checkpoint 17) and Udo’s Playground (Checkpoint 18). He finished in 77th position as a result, but that result is a miraculous feat when considering the 1,500 riders that started the race weekend.

Tarres will now carry that momentum to the Africa Eco Race with the Tenere 700 World Raid Team on October 15-30, 2022. No, you may not want to bet against the house, but it’s just as unwise to bet against Pol Tarres and his Tenere 700.

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