Spanish rider Peru Irazola Arbulu emerged as the winner of the third edition of the Red Bull Ace of Dirt, which was held at the Big Rock Dirtpark near Bengaluru. SuperEnduro world champion Sandra Gomez was second, while Shardul Sharma was the highest ranking Indian rider.
- Arbulu wins ahead of Gomez and Sharma
- 2021 Dakar Malle Moto winner Gelazninkas participated as well
2022 Red Bull Ace of Dirt:course layout
One of the main highlights of the Red Bull Ace of Dirt is the course, which consists of Motocross, Enduro and Dirt track sections. The 1.2km long course was designed by rally ace CS Santosh, and this year it featured a number of new obstacles to make it as challenging as possible.
Some of the noteworthy obstacles included the Mud Pie – a steep downhill slope with a puddle of slush at the bottom followed by a steep uphill climb, the Splatter – a near-vertical climb followed by tractor tyres set in staggering sizes, and the newly added Wall Ride, which is basically a wall placed at a 45-degree angle, right next to a bed of rocks, so the rider has to either choose the wall or the rocks. CS Santosh had earlier described the course as one that “mimics the requirements that are needed for an athlete to complete a rally like Dakar”.
2022 Red Bull Ace of Dirt: international riders
The number of participants doubled to over 60 this year. For the first time ever, international riders like SuperEnduro world champion Sandra Gomez and 2021 Dakar Malle Moto winner Arunaz Gelazninkas participated as well. This gave Indian riders the chance to compete against and learn from some of the best international talent. Furthermore, Hero MotoSports’ rally racer and Dakar stage winner Joaquim Rodrigues was also present to guide all participants.
Most of the competitors were riding Hero XPulse 200s or Impulses.
2022 Red Bull Ace of Dirt: Peru Arbulu takes victory
On the first day of the event, the riders were divided into batches of 10 and the five fastest riders from each batch progressed to the mega final the next day. The 36 remaining riders then competed across four different heats to make it to the top 16.
Spanish enduro rider Peru Irazola Arbulu set the fastest time of 18mins 49.578secs to take overall victory. Gomez came second with 21mins 59.117secs. Shardul Sharma from Uttarakhand bagged the final podium spot, with a time of 22mins 49.156secs. Prior Red Bull Ace of Dirt winners Yuva Kumar and Mahesh VM also participated this year and finished 7th and 10th, respectively.
Speaking about the event, CS Santosh said, “It’s the first time that we had a format of racing like this, which is enduro and hard enduro merged into one. This is also the first time we had participation from stellar international riders, including Sandra Gomez, World Champion in Enduro, and Dakar Malle Moto winner Arunaz Gelazninkas. I think the race was spectacular, everyone was so excited and learnt tremendously from athletes like these and then competing on a course that was unlike anything else in India and giving them the possibility to experience this.”
“It is pretty much the hardest motorcycle race we have in India, also in a format which could help a rider improve skills he or she might need, because Dakar is one of those kinds of races. Looking forward to building this from here and it’s going to keep moving upwards,” he added.