It’s just about as far as you can go for a race, but a trip that was well worth making. It’s always exciting to travel to that part of the world but when you also get to go racing there it makes the trip much cooler.
With Red Bull backing the race and many top riders heading across to it, I knew it would be important to be on top form for it. When you’re racing across the Auckland harbour, inches from falling in, the last thing you want is an early bath due to jetlag. With that thought in mind I headed out a week early to prepare for the event.
Getting there early also gave me a chance to run a trials and an enduro school the weekend before the race. The big unknown factor when you do these schools is the quality and size of the land you are going to use. Fortunately in New Zealand we were riding where they ran the ISDE a few years ago, so there was no shortage of good terrain, and an excellent time was had by all.
On the Tuesday and Wednesday in the build up towards the race, event organiser Chris Birch (and fellow competitor), a couple of locals and myself did some filming. Most of it was on the beach and the rocks close to the harbour. It was quite a big budget affair with a helicopter and everything so hopefully the finished result will be something special. I’m not sure exactly when it is coming out but I’ll keep you posted, as it will certainly be worth a watch. After that I had a couple of days off to stay with friends and relax before the big day.
The course for the City Scramble was really cool. The majority of the track was artificial but quite technical and included a 10 metre-long ladder bridge that was floating in the water. It wasn’t so much extreme enduro but more indoor enduro taken outdoors. Overall lap times took just over a minute.
Walking On Water: Jarvis wins in Auckland ©Graeme Murray/Red Bull Content Pool
In the morning there was timed qualifying and then they ran nine heat races with about 90 riders taking part. I got to grips with the track really quick and was able to find a few fast lines that set me up with pole position for the main event. In the final my start was almost perfect and I managed to grab an early lead to stay out of trouble but so too did Paul Bolton. “Bolts” was fired up for a good finish and he pushed me hard. We swapped positions more times than I can remember as we both wanted to win really badly but in the end the result came my way and I was able to bag the win.
Winning the City Scramble makes it four wins from the four races I’ve done this year – I’m sorry but that’s about the best I can do! Hopefully I can keep my run of good form going all the way through to the Erzberg in June. That’s the next big event on my “must win” race list, so between now and then I’ll be doing a demo ride at a bike show in Romania and an awful lot of training to help me tick the Iron Giant off my list!