With the 2013 race marking the 10th edition of the gruelling event, Jarvis made short work of the snowy conditions to secure his third consecutive race win. Behind him, KTM’s Jonny Walker repeated his result from 2012 to claim the runner-up position, despite ending the race barely able to stand, while Beta’s Cody Webb became the first US rider ever to finish on the podium.
With snow falling heavily in the lead up to the race, the popular Hell’s Gate venue resembled that of an Alpine ski resort. Deep, snowy tracks combined with brutal rocky climbs ensured the 100 competitors entered into the morning’s qualifying race faced a wide variety of extreme challenges.
Getting proceedings underway, the traditional morning enduro gave riders a taster of what was follow. Immediately getting to grips with the snow covered ruts and boulder steps, despite suffering with sickness, Walker set the fastest time in two of the three timed special tests to take the win. Behind him, Jarvis delivered a winning result in the final special test. With Webb finishing a further 30 seconds back in third place the stage was set for the evening race to begin.
Lining up on the Moto GP styled start line for the 3.30pm start, Walker took advantage of his pole position and grabbed the holeshot. But with Jarvis and Webb in close contention, the young KTM rider was unable to break away.
Determined to fight his way to the front of the field, Jarvis quickly worked his way past Walker and set about establishing a solid lead. Setting an unrelenting pace, he steadily worked his way clear of his nearest rivals and ended the opening lap with a one-minute advantage. Looking composed and confident in the worsening conditions, Jarvis continued his attack throughout the four-lap race and arrived at the base of the formidable final climb – Hell’s Peak – in darkness as the clear leader. Giving one last push up the near vertical climb, he crossed the finish line as the deserved race winner.
Although starting strongly, Walker was hampered by a couple of costly crashes on the opening lap and slipped back to third position behind Webb. Racing his way back into contention, he battled hard with the US rider during the second lap before finding a way past on the penultimate lap. Exhausted and absolutely drained at the foot of Hell’s Peak, Walker dug deep to scale the notorious climb to finish 12 minutes behind Jarvis as the runner-up.
Despite having never raced in deep snow before, Webb proved to be a fast learner. Hoping to improve on his fourth position from the 2012 race, the Beta rider looked comfortable in the tricky conditions. Matching the pace of Walker in the early stages of the race, Webb later opted to settle for third place following a couple of crashes. Placing five minutes behind Walker, Webb became the first US rider to ever finish on the podium at Hell’s Gate.
Impressing all in his debut ride in the Hell’s Gate main event, Spain’s Alfredo Gomez (Husaberg) recovered strongly from his lowly starting position of 13th to end the race in fourth overall.
Becoming the fifth and final rider to reach the top of Hell’s Peak, Beta’s Ben Hemingway completed the top five.
Hell’s Gate 2013 – Results
1. Graham Jarvis (Husaberg)
2. Jonny Walker (KTM) +12mins 17secs
3. Cody Webb (Beta) +17mins 32secs
4. Alfredo Gomez (Husaberg) +21mins 52secs
5. Ben Hemingway (Beta) +29mins 28secs