David Knight wins Hell’s Gate ’06

KTM’s reigning Enduro 3 world champion David Knight proved once again that when the going gets tough he certainly knows how to get going. Mounted on his 300cc KTM David once again dominated the Hell’s Gate race earning himself 8’000 Euro after managing to make it to the top of Hell’s peak ahead of his rivals.

Despite the special test used in the morning’s qualifying enduro featuring several ice patches David managed to win each of the three special tests to qualify first for the main Hell’s Gate race. Finishing ahead of Britain’s Wayne Braybrook and Italian Maurizio Micheluz, Knighter simply did enough to ensure he would start in pole position for the four-lap main event. While David claimed the number one qualifying position, KTM’s Dakar rider David Casteu finished in 10th position, putting himself in a strong position for a good result in the Hell’s Gate race.

With four laps of an extremely difficult and in places very icy track ahead of him Knighter lead from the start but was soon back in second place after getting caught up in the first river section. Not too worried about being in second position as he started the second lap David moved to the front of the race – a place he would stay until the end.

But winning the ’06 edition of Hell’s Gate proved to be anything but easy for David as the near 15 minute lead he had opened up during the second and third laps was reduced to just three and a half minutes at the end of the race following difficulties with his lights. Enjoying a comfortable lead the lights on David’s bike failed to work just when he needed them, the result of a small crash. Managing with just his helmet lights, David soon found himself in complete darkness as they too stopped working. Able to cautiously make his way towards the final Hell’s peak hill the reigning ’05 overall ISDE winner managed to stay ahead of the rapidly approaching Braybrook in second and add victory to his other winning rides in ’06 at The KTM Tough One and the Genoa International Indoor Enduro. In placing his KTM on the top step of the podium David was presented with a cheque for 8’000 Euro by event organiser Fabio Fasola.

For KTM’s other David (Frenchman David Casteu) the event proved to be a challenging but enjoyable one. Having to adjust to life on an enduro bike and not on a rally bike, Casteu was one of just six riders to finish the event. Despite not being able to match the pace of the enduro and trial specialist ahead of him, Casteu entertained the many spectators that attended the event with his determined riding.

David Knight: “This year’s Hell’s Gate race was certainly difficult for me. The track had a lot of ice in places, which made the morning’s qualifying race interesting. Winning the morning enduro was good because it gave me a good position on the start for the main race. I had a small problem on the first section of rocks and got stuck a little bit so I didn’t really lead the race until the start of the second lap. I pushed hard during the second and third laps to open up a lead and I think I was about 10 or 15 minutes ahead. Just as it started to get dark my lights stopped working. Then I tried my back-up lights and for some reason I couldn’t get them to work either. Making things worse was the fact that my helmet lights only lasted for about five minutes before they stopped too. Then I was really in the dark. Thankfully, I made it to the last hill of the race and with the help of the spectators I made it to the top. Winning the race for the third time is great.

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