Red Bull athlete Dougie Lampkin returned to action after last weekend’s break
HELL’S GATE EXTREME ENDURO
Red Bull athlete Dougie Lampkin returned to action after last weekend’s break, when he contested the now infamous Hell’s Gate extreme enduro held in the Italian hills. Lampkin has a strong association with this unique competition having placed third during his debut back in 2009 and then winning it a year later, before finishing as runner-up twelve months ago.
Unfortunately on this occasion the ex multi FIM Trial World Champion and Gas Gas teamster was unable to continue his run of podium results as he was classified sixth after a less tough day than compared to usual on the rocky terrain.
Responding to feedback over more recent years, the organisers ensured that the ninth edition of the aptly named Hell’s Gate event was easier than the last two encounters that had proved extremely severe for all concerned. Following a similar format to previous years the riders qualified for the afternoon’s main event by first completing four laps of more traditional enduro going during the morning session.
Dougie got his day underway in strong fashion by placing second after the initial lap behind fellow and newly recruited Red Bull athlete Jonny Walker, and ahead of 2011 winner Graham Jarvis for an all British opening 1-2-3. Fifth, Fifth and seventh positions respectively over the next three laps earned Lampkin fifth place overall at the end of the qualification process.
Reflecting the softer nature of the 2012 edition, the afternoon action got underway by using part of the course used in the earlier session, but this time ridden in the reverse direction. This meant that the overall speed was much higher than usual, and it was this faster pace and less technical going that would eventually rule Dougie out of podium contention.
The soon to be thirty-six-year-old veteran campaigner’s day was to come to a premature end as he was stopped at the final check point after having dropped just over thirty minutes behind the leading rider. This meant that Dougie was unable to fight his way up the famous final climb that defines this event and that ultimately decides the winner, which was Jarvis for the second year in a row.
Speaking post event Lampkin stated. “Its been a bit of a disappointing day all round. Hell’s Gate was always known for how tough it is, but today it did not really live up to previous year’s. Even this morning the lap was much shorter than usual, and was a sign of things to come.”
“I was surprised when we used basically the same route in the opposite direction this afternoon too. There was only really one tough part, which was the normal river section, but even that was easier than usual as it had become quite filled over the winter.” Continued Dougie.
“The overall speed was much faster than before, which certainly didn’t suit me at all.” Lampkin ended by saying. “I came here thinking I could challenge for the win again, or be on the podium at least, so this result is far from what I was hoping for.”
Images by kind permission of Jonty Edmunds