Can Jonny Walker return to his former winning ways at Erzberg this year? Here’s what the British youngster has to say ahead of the 20th edition of the Austrian classic…

Jonny, what is it that makes the Erzbergrodeo so special?

Jonny Walker: “The Erzbergrodeo is like a festival for enduro riders. It’s a crazy place to be and there’s always something going on. I love it. You get to talk to fans all day about enduro and then at the end of it is the Red Bull Hare Scramble race. It’s complete madness but brilliant at the same time. The Red Bull Hare Scramble is the race I most look forward to every year. It’s the toughest race on the Hard Enduro calendar and it’s the most important. It’s the one that everyone wants to win.”

You suffered some cruel luck at Erzberg in 2013. How did it feel to miss out on a podium result and finish fourth?

JW: “Finishing fourth in 2013 wasn’t goo at all. After flooding my bike during the start I came from a long ways back to get that result, but it wasn’t the result I wanted. It was a tough moment but it’s my motivation to not let it happen again.”

How have you prepared for Erzberg this year?

JW: “Since The Tough One I’ve been really busy. The Red Bull Hare Scramble takes every ounce of energy out of you so you need to be super fit. I’ve worked hard in the gym, cycled a lot and then got as much time on my bike as I could. Red Bull helped me out and I spent a week in Austria at their training clinic. I feel good. I’m in shape and I’m motivated for Erzberg.”

jonny.walker Erzberg-2013 1592

You also took some time out to compete in the Wings For Life World Run?

JW: “Yes, I took part in the Wings For Life World Run on May 3rd. The concept was really cool. At 34 different locations around the world the Wings For Life World Run started at exactly the same time. I was running at the Silverstone Race Circuit and managed to clock up 25km before getting eliminated. It was a fun day out and was cool to raise funds for those who can’t run. I was pleased with my distance and finished 87th out of the 650 British entrants. I’ve still got a long way to go to catch the guy that won, he finished with a distance of 78km!”

Unfortunately victory at The Tough One 2014 slipped from your grasp. What happened?

JW: “I’m disappointed with myself with how that race ended. During the early part of the race I did everything right. I got the holeshot, lead and was setting the pace. Then when David Knight crashed it handed me a big advantage, which actually threw me. I lost focus and relaxed. Then when David started to catch me I couldn’t get out of the rhythm I was in to fight back. I was annoyed with myself for losing but gutted to have let my team and everyone that supports me down.”

Is the Red Bull Hare Scramble your chance to make amends for a runner-up result at The Tough One?

JW: “Exactly. I’m fired up for this race. I really feel like I’ve some unfinished business and will be giving it everything I’ve got to win. I know the level of competition is extremely high and anything can happen at the Iron Giant but I’ve got great support, which is more than good enough to get the job done. I can’t wait to go racing.”