Braybrook rolls back the years at the Erzberg Rodeo!
Wayne Braybrook has had a long and successful career in trials and Enduro after starting off as an apprentice at Colin Appleyard Motorcycles. This year as he neared his half century, he attacked the fearsome Erzberg Rodeo in Austria, one of the toughest events in biking!
Keighley based Braybrook had chalked up five ISDE Gold medals, won the Scott Trial, Hells Gate Extreme Enduro and many more events before concentrating on his successful RAW Enduro race and training series…. so why return to the ‘Iron Giant’?
Wayne Braybrook explained:
“I’ve only ridden Erzberg once, back in 2007 as a privateer rookie and came away with fourth place but then I started building up my business and training so never gave it a second thought. Then last year I was watching the live stream on Red Bull TV and I suddenly thought, right let’s give it another crack!
It was also the 25th Anniversary this year so that gave it a special meaning, so over winter I started training as I knew how tough it would be, and it didn’t disappoint on that front!
The Appleyard team helped me out with a Husqvarna TE300 2 stroke which is lightweight and powerful - perfect for the nature of Erzberg. I rode a few extreme events leading up to it to get my eye back in.”
Attracting entries from all over the world, the Erzberg event is held in a vast, steep sided working quarry in Austria, with some absolutely brutal obstacles to smash the will of the participants!
On the run up to the main event a Prologue timed run up the mountain whittles down the massive 1500 field to 500 ‘lucky’ riders. This 12km mountain pass saw an insane speed of 139kph (on an Enduro bike) logged this year!
Wayne qualified 86th which gave him a row two start for the main Hare Scramble race which has a four hour time allowance to negotiate some 43km of the nastiest terrain the sadistic clerk of the course could plot!
Riders have to find their way through each area of the mountain to 28 checkpoints to be scanned with a transponder, with the locations in tricky places upon the top of rocky scree slopes.
Wayne made steady progress despite a sprained ankle but then at a particularly arduous area of boulder strewn hillside named Carls Diner, disaster struck:
… “I was a bit sore after hurting my ankle but feeling OK when my leg went down a deep hole and I heard my knee ‘pop’ out” said Wayne with his typical matter-of-fact Yorkshire grit. “I struggled on for a bit but I couldn’t hold the bike up and it was getting more dangerous, so I had to stop. It was a shame to finish there but you go into the event knowing the risks.”
Having made it to Checkpoint 18, Wayne’s position was calculated as 59th. It was impressive considering the quality of entry and the fact that Wayne is now 49 years old.
Husky hard Enduro specialist, Graham Jarvis won the event in an incredible 2 hours 27 minutes and only 16 out of the 500 riders actually got to see the finish line!
Wayne summed up:
“Ultimately I love riding bikes and the harder the event the better, although my body said otherwise at the end of the Erzberg! I love the support we get from Robin and all the staff at Appleyards. We have so much history as I worked there from school on a YTS apprenticeship scheme and trained with Robin when we were youngsters.
Next up we have a load of RAW Enduro events and training schools so we’re going to be busy… but you’ve got to find time to ride and enjoy yourself still.
Photo credit - Ashley Blunt Photography