The Extreme Enduro is becoming more and more popular. Last month we talk about the King of the Moto which is a long tough race in the Californian desert but the Hell’s Gate is a different story.
The Hell’s Gate is in Tuscany, and although the beautiful hills of Italy might not relate to the tough name this is a hard race. It takes place every year in February under every weather condition including snow. There are two stages, the first it’s an elimination race, the best 30 riders get to the second stage which consists of a four laps time race. Every rider with a delay of 30 minutes away from the lead is disqualified. The remaining riders get to the final part, the Hell’s Peak. This part is so hard to climb that the help of the audience is actually allowed.
What motorcycles do they ride?
It sounds strange but they don’t ride 4-stroke machines like in an enduro race. There are basically two reasons. The first is that a 2-stroke engine is much lighter that a 4-stroke which makes it easier to control in those trial-like sections. The second is the engine response while climbing the riders use a lot the low range of the engine. A 4-stroke at 700 rpm will die but a 2 stroke does have something to give. The race is also so tough that the bikes are often severely damaged and some team is trying to find a solution to protect the expansion chamber.
Who Conquered the Hell?
Extreme enduro does have similarities with enduro but the skills that the track requires are closer to trial. That’s why many riders come from trial like Graham Jarvis, who won the Hell’s Gate this year. The Husqvarna rider was the protagonist of a great battle with his young team colleague Billy Bolt but at the end, the more experienced Jarvis conquered the Hell’s Peak first. Jarvis won the Hell’s Gate from 2011 to 2014 for a total of five races, making him the most successful rider here.