xross challenge hard enduro 2017 Photo Predrag Vuckovic 1

Photo Credit: Predrag Vuckovic

Philipp Bertl showed that he is a sovereign ruler of the the champion throne at the biggest hard enduro event in Serbia, since he defended his title for the second consecutive time and triumphed at the Xross Challenge race. 

His unreal endurance, persistence and courage had a solution for every obstacle that Tara Mountain put in front of him. Matija Zec (Croatia) and Miha Spindler (Slovenia) followed him on second and third place.

The fourth edition of Xross Chllenge – the biggest and toughest Hard Enduro race in Serbia — has welcomed around 180 riders from 10 European countries. During three hellish days of enduro riding, they have passed around 200 kilometres and coped with harsh obstacles that awaited them in beautiful but harsh Tara Mountain. 

Even the best riders had hard times, they were riding through the mud, got in overflowed streams where water was too deep and many of them almost lost their motorbikes. They have left the last atoms of their strength on tough hills such as “Mousetrap” – the name came from the fact that the riders don’t have a grip so their bikes easily flow over their heads and fall on them like a mousetrap. There was also one hell of a tough hill where they had to ride zig-zag and often needed help of the audience to get to the top.

Motorbike parts were falling off, riders got lost in the woods, fell into the streams, but also managed to enjoy a unique and unreal beauty of Tara. Despite the hell they just went through they reached the finish line with muddy smiles on their faces, dead tired but extremely happy to have outsmarted nature and pushed their own limits.

 

xross challenge hard enduro 2017 Photo Predrag Vuckovic 0002

Photo Credit: Predrag Vuckovic
 

The most interesting moment in the first day of the race was a tense duel between defending champion Philipp Bertl and rider from Slovenia, Miha Spindler. The two were on each other tail during the whole race but in the finish, Miha was faster. It was the only day where it seemed that title defense will not be easy for Bertl. However, this guy with the will of steel has managed to find his pace in the next two days of the race and overcome anything in his way to reach the finish line first, ahead of everyone else.

“The most beautiful parts of the race for me, they are the hardest ones, last year it was downhill and this year we went up that hill. It seemed impossible, we had to ride a zig-zag. It is not easy, but as soon as I catch the momentum, I just tried not to lose the track and focus on riding. 

“I think the key is the balance, especially on days like this when you spend four or five hours on your bike each day, you have to find a way to rest your body a bit while riding. I’m very happy to win Xross Challenge again, it has been a great weekend. I like the track even better than last year, it’s much harder and I am looking forward to coming next year,” Bertl said after the race.

 

xross challenge hard enduro 2017 Photo Predrag Vuckovic 2

Photo Credit: Predrag Vuckovic
 

Young Croatian rider Matija Zec had his debut at the Xross Challenge so he is very satisfied with his result, Miha Spindler was aiming for the highest place at the podium, but he had a bad luck this weekend so he ended up on the third place and it’s also his third podium on Xross Challenge so far. 

In class B the best riders were Tomas Zupan, Ivica Platuzic and Andrej Crnkovic, while in Class C on the podium we saw Vanja Fabijancic, Niki Brec and Gregor Krizman. 

Hard Enduro riders left the Tara mountain satisfied, they say that track was one of the best they had a chance to ride and the organization of the race was on the top level, and many of them are looking forward to accepting the challenge next year.