Making it a record-breaking six Tough One victories, David Knight stamped his authority on the race
Sherco’s David Knight
Returning to Hard Enduro following a four-year absence from the event, David Knight proved he’s lost none of his speed and flavour for the race. With a new venue for 2014 keeping everyone guessing who’d rule the roost, it was Knight who ultimately stole the show to take the win at the 10th edition of the race.
“I’m over the moon to win this one – no one was going to beat me around Hawkstone Park,” said Knight after he crossed the finish line at the end of the gruelling three-hour race.
But it wasn’t plain sailing for the Manxman. Finding a way past early race leader Jonny Walker on lap two, Knight ran into serious trouble when some rope became tangled in his rear wheel, forcing him to crash heavily. Picking himself up, he eventually got going again – albeit over five minutes down on Walker. Charging his way around the punishing course, Knight rapidly reduced Walker’s advantage and as the race crossed the two-hour mark he was back in the lead.
“I thought my race was ruined when I crashed,” continued Knight, “but I refused to quit. I put my head down and just charged. When I began to close in on Walker I knew I could win. I’d nothing left to give after I crossed the finish line – that was a tough win.”
I thought my race was ruined when I crashed.– David Knight
Grabbing the holeshot, running with Knight and then gaining a sizeable advantage – it seemed like Walker had done everything right and was on his way to victory. But with Knight reeling him back in he just didn’t have an answer for the Manxman and had to settle for second.
“When Knight started to catch me I wasn’t able to lift my pace,” explained Walker. “He was on a mission – there was no stopping him today. It’s tough to take second, but I gave it my best shot.”
Unable to run the pace of the leading duo, Alfredo Gomez completed the podium in a distant third. Starting strongly, the Spaniard settled into his own rhythm early on. Holding off a late charge by Graham Jarvis, Gomez hung on to take third – his first top-three result of 2014 having missed Hell’s Gate due to appendicitis.
“It’s great to be on the podium,” smiled Gomez. “That was a hard race. The pace was high and the track was punishing – I’m happy to see the finish in third.”
Slow to start, Jarvis – who was riding a four-stroke instead of his usual two-stroke mount – steadily worked his way forward as the race progressed. Hampered early on due to arm pump, the Husqvarna rider put in a last-hour charge that saw him claim fourth.
Consistently in the mix with Gomez and Jarvis, Paul Bolton eventually ended his race in fifth. Despite suffering a heavy crash on lap two, Andreas Lettenbichler battled his way back to sixth.