The little-known German rider was one of the stars of this year’s Red Bull Sea to Sky Hard Enduro.
Germany’s Philipp Scholz is one of the rising stars of Hard Enduro. Only two years in the sport, the former trials rider claimed a career best result when he placed fifth overall at Red Bull Sea to Sky in Kemer, Turkey.
After a bad start, he steadily worked his way into contention. Catching and passing both Dougie Lampkin and Paul Bolton during the latter half of the race, Scholz crossed the finish line inside the top five. Redbull.com spoke with the German rider to find out a little more about him…
RedBull.com: Congratulations on your first top five result in Hard Enduro?
Philipp Scholz: Thanks very much. It feels great to finally get a top five result in Hard Enduro. I’ve been working a long time for this goal.
RB: How did your race go?
PS: My start was terrible. I lost a lot of time to the leaders early on. I was trapped in the dust and during the first technical riverbed I had to slow my pace due to arm pump. It took a couple of sections to finally get into a fast rhythm but after that I began to work my way into contention.
RB: At what point did you reach the top five?
PS: At the fuel point but I wasn’t 100 per cent what position I was in. I caught up to Dougie Lampkin and was able to ride with him. But around the Dark Canyon section, Dougie ran into some trouble with his bike and we lost touch. I kept pushing on and could see Paul Bolton in front of me. Once I saw him I knew I was in contention for a strong finish.
RB: What did it feel like to end the Red Bull Sea to Sky in fifth?
PS: It was incredible moment for me. With about five kilometres to go I passed Bolton and pulled away from him. I told myself to ride smart and safe as I didn’t want to damage my bike. It’s been a major target of mine to break inside the top five in Hard Enduro and now that I’ve done it the feeling is amazing.
RB: What is your background in the sport?
PS: I’ve only been racing Hard Enduro for about 18 months and before that I spent eight years riding trials in Germany. In the beginning I tried a few races to see if I would enjoy them and instantly I was hooked.
RB: What areas of your riding did you work on to improve?
PS: I could do the tough technical sections but it’s been difficult to get used to the speed element in Hard Enduro. I trained a lot on motocross tracks and now it’s starting to pay off.
RB: Now that you’ve achieved a top five result, what goals have you set for 2014 and beyond?
PS: I just want to keep improving and become a regular top five guy. I’ve proved that it’s possible at the Red Bull Sea to Sky. Ultimately, my goal is to make it on to the podium – that would be incredible. But the level is so high – these are the best Hard Enduro riders in the world. I still work a regular job and ride my bike at the weekends for fun.
RB: Congratulations once again and good luck in the future!