Jonny Walker took victory in the Red Bull Hare Scramble at the 2012 Erzberg Rodeo on Sunday to top an all-British podium after another gruelling battle on the Iron Mountain. But there was more bad news for Graham Jarvis, who crossed the line first only to learn that he had been disqualified for missing a section early in the race.
Britain's Neil Flockhart was quickest away but Walker soon overhauled him and steadily built up a strong lead early on in the race. A fall at Carl's Dinner in which Walker was thrown over his handlebars held him up for a minute, but his grit showed through as he jumped back on the bike and powered through.
“It's fantastic,” a breathless Walker told redbull.com at the finish. “It's been a dream for me to win this race and it's just a fantastic feeling!”
There was drama right up to the finish as Graham Jarvis caught Walker. The Husaberg rider overtook his compatriot to cross the finish line first.
However, in a cruel twist of fate – and a repeat of his bad fortune from last year – Jarvis was disqualified after it was confirmed he had missed a checkpoint in the early stages. He was unable to mutter more than a dispirited “unbelievable” after being delivered the news by race organiser Karl Katoch.
With Jarvis out, Walker came in to take the chequered flag and claim victory for KTM, going one better than his superb debut podium finish last year.
Speaking about his fall, Walker said: “I came in a bit too fast and my front wheel slipped off one of the rocks. Then it just tucked and the bars hit me in the face and put me over. It took the wind out of me a little bit!”
The 21-year-old was also aware of Jarvis' misfortune before the man himself knew, and added: “At the bottom of Carl's Dinner I heard that he had missed a checkpoint, so I could just take it easy and save the bike. When Graham started catching me, I knew I could relax.”
Andreas Lettenbichler, another hot favourite before the race, passed the post third but committed the same error as Jarvis and was ruled out.
Race director Hans Werth later explained that both Jarvis and Lettenbichler had strayed substantially off course and missed a section of the Red Bull Hare Scramble course, adding that the low lying cloud had made navigation extremely difficult.
Dougie Lampkin came in next. The 12-times trials champion followed a disqualified Lettenbichler across the line to repeat his 2011 result by taking second place, with his cousin Ben Hemingway completing an all-British top three.
Britain's Paul Bolton was fourth with Japanese rider Taichi Tanaka completing the top five finishers.