Jonny Walker has claimed a hard fought runner-up result at the 10th running of the Hell’s Gate Hard Enduro event in Italy, despite sickness prior to the race resulting in the KTM rider reaching the finish of the four-lap main event exhausted and barely able to stand. Winning the morning’s qualifying enduro, Jonny went on to lead the main event during the early stages before eventually securing a second consecutive runner-up result.
With heavy snow falling during the lead up to the race, the 10th running of the Italian classic was in many ways the most challenging. Despite the course being eased slightly the deep snow that covered the tracks and trails ensured few riders made it to the end of the morning’s qualifying race without falling. For Jonny the morning race went extremely well, as the KTM mounted rider secured the win ahead of Graham Jarvis and Cody Webb.
Leading from the start of the main race a crash half way around the opening lap dropped Jonny to third. Soon back in the runner-up position it wasn’t long before his pre-event sickness started to take its toll as he began to struggle during the third and fourth laps. Falling on numerous occasions Jonny finally found his rhythm on the penultimate lap, going on to claim a well-deserved runner-up result.
Jonny Walker (KTM 300 EXC): “It’s been a tough race for me, but I’m really pleased to have finished as runner-up. I was sick this week and half way through the final lap I hit the wall. I had absolutely no energy left and started seeing double at times. I knew Cody wasn’t too far behind me so I couldn’t ease off – I can’t believe I managed to hold on the second. The morning race went well for me. It wasn’t too hard, despite the deep snow, and was quite high-speed. I enjoyed it and topped the results, which was good as it gave me the first starting spot for the main race. I got the holeshot and led for a while but then made a mistake in one of the river beds. Graham and Cody both came passed me, I crashed so many times after that. It seemed that I was off the bike more than I was on it during the first two laps. I just couldn’t get into any rhythm, but on the third lap I pushed hard and started to ride well. About a quarter of the way around the last lap I was done, my eyes started going funny and I had no strength. But I knew Cody was close behind so I just kept pushing. The final hill was crazy – I didn’t really know what was going on. But I managed to get to the top and get the runner-up result. I was exhausted when I got to the top of the last hill, but considering I was ill before the race I’m really happy to have got another podium result.”
RESULTS – HELL’S GATE, 2013
4 laps completed – 1. Graham Jarvis (Husaberg) 4 laps
2. Jonny Walker (KTM) 4 laps + 12.17
3. Cody Webb (Beta) 4 laps + 17.32
4. Alfredo Gomez (Husaberg) 4 laps + 21.52
5. Ben Hemingway (Beta) 4 laps + 29.28