FORMER Irish Enduro champion Barry Donaghy enjoyed a thorough test of his abilities on two wheels at the start of June when he was one of over 2,000 competitors to tackle the Erzbergrodeo Red Bull Hare Scramble, which was the third round of the World Enduro Super Series.
Based in the huge Erzberg iron ore mine in central-Austria, the event saw the Beragh man have to deal with the sandy conditions in the mine itself, as well as forest tracks and deep snow on the surrounding mountain peaks.
Despite the difficulty of the course, which riders had four hours to complete, Barry proved he belongs at the top level, finishing 114th out of over 2,100 entrants, after qualifying 125th.
“I’m very happy with that,” he beamed. “But it was a bit different of a level over there.
“The course was as extreme as you can get, brutal!
“It has everything. It’s set out in an iron ore mine – the guy who organises it designs the courses in the hope of no-one finishing it!
“There is no comparison to what you would find at home. I don’t even know how to describe it because you are riding up the side of the mine, through forests, snow – three or four foot of snow – because you’re a serious height up and you start at the bottom of the mine.
“There were some really tricky, technical bits that you didn’t know what was coming next.
“It’s enjoyable now, looking back at it, but I wouldn’t say it was enjoyable on the day!”
Barry initially started his season in the British Enduro Championship, but a fall at Todds Leap during a fundraiser for local British Superbike Championship racer, Keith Farmer, put him on the back foot.
However, having recovered in super-fast time, he is determined to finish his campaign on a high at another round of the World Series in England in September.
“My season was going good until I broke my sternum, but I was back on the bike in a couple of weeks – I probably shouldn’t have been but I was,” he explained.
“I was doing the British Championship, I was somewhere between fifth and eighth in the Championship until my injury, but I missed two rounds so I’ll be nowhere now.
“I’ll probably do Hawkstone, which is another round of the World Championship and I’ll be back for Keith’s next fundraiser next month!
“I wasn’t doing much racing at home but I’ll probably try to do a couple of Irish Championship rounds between now and Hawkstone.”