KTM rider Manuel Lettenbichler wins Erzbergrodeo

Under a blazing sun and in temperatures reaching 30 degrees, the 500 starters faced hot and dusty conditions as well as the iconic named sections that earn the event the reputation as being the toughest one-day hard enduro in the world.

KTM rider victorious in world’s toughest motorcycle race image

“I think this year's race will definitely go down as one of the hardest editions in history, especially the sections that they changed overnight - none of us really knew what to expect and the organizers certainly delivered,” said this year’s Erzbergrodeo champion, Manuel Lettenbichler.

After a solid qualifying performance that saw him post the fifth-fastest time on the Iron Road Prologue, Lettenbichler safely earned his front-row start for Sunday's main race. A strong start off the line put Mani second into the first corner and after quickly making his way to the front, the KTM 300 EXC rider began to stretch a lead over the chasing pack.

As the first rider to face each and every section, Lettenbichler had to pick his own way through, creating his own lines through the ultra-technical terrain. Despite the disadvantage, Mani was able to maintain his lead and stay ahead of the hard-charging Mario Roman behind him.

KTM rider victorious in world’s toughest motorcycle race image

“To take the win means so much to me. After my dad did it in 2015, I always said I wanted to bring another winner's trophy back to the house and now I have done it! Another one ticked off the bucket list, that's for sure,” added the 24-year-old rider from Germany.

Exhausted, Lettenbichler successfully reached the famous finish line in just under three hours, having raced through some of the most grueling sections seen on the FIM Hard Enduro calendar. The victory marks the first father and son duo to claim the top step of the podium at the iconic race – Mani's father Andreas was a joint winner at the 2015 event.

Missing the first round of the FIM Hard Enduro World Championship due to recovering from surgery to his knee, Mani now has two wins from two starts in this year's series and now lies third overall, trailing the championship leader by just five points.