“It definitely shouldn’t be taken literally,” was what the majority of the 100 Enduro pilots thought of the menacing Red Bull Last Man Standing title. Now, in a way, they were right to be skeptical: The two mud-smeared men who made it to the finish line in the end could hardly stand. But ‘Red Bull Last Man Lying Around Exhaustedly’ probably wouldn’t have read so well on the posters.

Only three in the night race

That only two of the 100 competitors made it to the finish line was due to the huge rocks and steep, slippery passages that adorned the course on the one hand; on the other to the 23-year-old Pole Tadeusz Blazusiak. The Last Man Standing novice had already won the first stage of the race with a considerable lead. In accordance with the rules, only the riders who made it to the end within half an hour of his finish got through to the next round. The result: the size of the night race’s starting group was easy to grasp. Lining up alongside Blazusiak were only the ten-time American trial master Geoff Aaron and the twice-crowned Red Bull Last Man Standing David Knight.

Leaving last year’s winner breathless

Because Aaron could only keep up with his rivals’ tempo for a few kilometers, the night race developed into a duel between KTM brand colleagues Blazusiak and Knight, who regularly swapped leading positions. “I had an awesome time, it was great to really race with somebody,” Knight said after the race. After an 83-minute battle in the pitch dark, it was over: Knight, who has been suffering from a severe respiratory problem and finds it hard to breathe under physical duress, had to give up. “When I found out he’d dropped out, I was able to ride in a more relaxed way,” said Blazusiak. “But I wasn’t particularly relieved. At least when Knight was really close I was able to see a bit more of the course due to the additional light from his bike.” Still, his victory was no longer in danger: Blazusiak held his 31-minute lead over Aaron until he crossed the finish line.

Discovered at Red Bull Hare Scramble

Tadeusz ‘Taddy’ Blazusiak’s rise only began six months ago. At the Erzbergrodeo in Austria the totally unknown Pole got the attention of race organizer Karl Katoch because he ran rings around the pros with a borrowed motorbike. After being informed by Katoch via telephone, KTM’s sports director Heinz Kinigadner lent the rookie one of his machines – and one day later Blazusiak won the main competition, the Red Bull Hare Scramble. A month after that Blazusiak started riding for KTM. Following his victory at the Maxxis Endurocross in Las Vegas, the Red Bull Last Man Standing title is now Blazusiak’s third on the international scene – and his biggest success to date.

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