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Euro Tour 2009 June 10 to 16 - The Rocky Orgy Of The Erzbergrodeo!


by Marc Cantin ,

After trying out four bikes in Paris, it was time to place myself in the hands of KTM, who was hosting a few members of the press at the Erzbergrodeo XV, that crazy race in an open-air mine pit near Linz, in Austria.

Wednesday, June 10
After a quick Paris-Munich flight, I was greeted by my family-for-a-week at the Munich airport, led by lovable and iron-fisted Eva Mitsche, the VP of marketing for KTM North America.

John Hinz (KTM US), Mark Hoyer and Jeff Allen (Cycle World), Jose-Luis Materradona (Motociclismo Mexico), Cyril Despres (God-on-a-bike), Eva Mitsche (KTM US), and the author. Missing are Niel Graham (Cycle Canada), Jean Turner (Cycle News), and Homero Diaz (KTM Mexico Pro Enduro Rider and funny man).

We all piled into two Peugeot vans, filled to the brim with huge KTM bags to carry our riding gear and civvy clothes, and four full sized males in our case, for the four hour trip to Erzberg, a small village West of Salzbourg in the Styrian Alps. Check out the map - we were within a few hours of Munich, Bratislava, Vienna, Budapest, Zagreb, Venice, Modena and Innsbruck. Welcome to Central Europe!

The Austrian Alps showed up - literally - about half an hour out of Munich, and the small, torque-free engines of the French mini-vans showed its weakness, with John Heinx, aka Hinzy, rowing his way up hills, and having to brake hard to go around tighter bends in the overloaded wagon - not a confidence inspiring ride at all!

But we made it, first to the mine pit, err... track, where it seemed everybody wore a piece of KTM orange gear, and seemingly knew and loved Eva, who had moved to her new US job a few months ago. Duly wrist-banded after signing away our rights and those of our successors in case of an accident, it was back in the vans for the five minute ride up another mountain road to our all-wood ski cabin, our home for four nights. Beautifully built, with Austrian TV but no air conditioning (Not required in the mountains!) and a sauna, we transferred food and clothing into our rooms - Neil was my roomy - and went back down to the track for some free time before an all-KTM supper, then crashing for the night around 11pm.

Here's a section of the track with some Austrian high peaks in the background. You can see clouds of dirt made by riders and spectators during the race.
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