DesertX Rally | Race Wilder


Conquering the Iron Road riding DesertX
Conquering the Iron Road of the Erzbergrodeo with Antoine Meo

The legendary Erzbergrodeo has been attracting off-road enthusiasts from all over the world for more than 25 years. Four days of adrenaline and exertion in a competition open to single- and twin-cylinder motorcycles that counts more than 1200 entries.

Ducati took part in this year’s edition, dominating in the category reserved for twins with the DesertX ridden by multi-titled Enduro World Champion and European Supercross Champion Antoine Meo, paired with Patrick Neisser, an enduro and cross-country specialist.

Meo’s incredible ascent in the Iron Road Prologue

The Iron Road Prologue is the competition in which all riders entered into the “Rodeo”, more than 1200 of them, attempt to qualify for the main event. The race takes place over two sessions, during which the single- and twin-cylinders battle it out on a track characterised by an ultra-fast climb (more than 600 metres of elevation gain over 13.5 km). A sight to behold, it has become one of the most hard-fought and highly anticipated races of the event over the years.

In Friday’s qualification race, Meo had a good 12-second advantage over his rivals while in Saturday’s second heat, which ran on a surface that the many bikes had made trickier, his lead only increased, to 20”.

The DesertX showcased its sports attitude on a route that proved the validity of the Ducati chassis, put to a real test on the challenging paths of the iron giant.

The other race format, the Mitas Rocket Ride, involved two timed sessions from which the 48 fastest riders progressed to battle it out in rounds of six from the starting gate, MX style, with direct elimination for the last three.

Antoine Meo rode with real determination in qualifying, placing sixteenth out of 277. He then scored a second-place finish in the round of sixteen, a third place in the quarterfinals and second in the semi-final. These results saw the French phenomenon qualify for the Superfinale, the only twin-cylinder entrant to do so, in which he and the Ducati DesertX finishing a surprising fourth overall.

Extreme challenge,
exhilarating performance

The DesertX is the first Ducati in history to be equipped with a 21” front wheel and 18” rear wheel. It is designed to tackle even the toughest of off-road routes, which is why Ducati chose it to compete in one of the world’s most renowned off-road competitions.

To tackle the Erzbergrodeo, the DesertX ridden by Antoine Meo was modified to further enhance its off-road attitude. The fork and monoshock are the same as those on DesertX Rally, using this competition as a testing ground. As for the tyres, the choice fell to the Metzeler Six Days Extreme, designed specifically for extreme enduro racing. The DesertX also benefitted from the Termignoni racing exhaust and engine guard plate offered as original accessories in the Ducati Performance catalogue.

Discover the DesertX Rally with livery inspired by the bike with which Antoine Meo won at the Erzbergrodeo

For the most demanding off-road riders who seek race-spec equipment but refuse to compromise their off-roading safety.

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