Wednesday 12th & Thursday 13th December: Tracks closed. The rain up here in the hills keeps coming.

Update to day 2

Romaniacs 2014

maddix park mx

www.redbullromaniacs.com

17.07.2014: OFFROAD DAY 2

Young on fire, Walker in the water, Jarvis wins 

Sibiu, Romania, July 17th, 2014 – The day kicked off with a beautiful start in the mountains: there were clouds beneath the starting area, with red roof tops peeping through and the helicopter swirling high above with a mountain backdrop. With a very high frequency of uninviting sections for all classes (except Silver-class) and extremely steep profiles, Offroad-Day Two started as possibly the most challenging day of the 2014 Red Bull Romaniacs. Knowing what was about to hit them today, all the top-riders followed the same strategy: getting through the day in one piece and not to destruct the bike. Most of the regions covered today, were still considered “unrideable” in 2010. As expected, the Gold-Class riders were hit seriously by unimaginable extreme sections, like “10A” in the morning, just before the Service Point and “Never Ending Story” in the 2nd half of the day. When asked how Jarvis liked “10A”, he replied “no one would like this kind of section”. Walker described it as “Very hard! The downhill is extremely steep and tricky and I only focussed on saving the bike and only partially succeeded.”

Many of the top-guns already reported relatively tough crashes before the Service Point and it did not get better after. But they had no choice of taking it easy, since the competition was not sleeping. The pace was extremely high, and there were constant changes at the top. In the morning Walker kept his lead for quite some time, followed by Jarvis, Young, Bolton and Letti. After checkpoint 4, Young took the lead from Walker who said later: “I lost about 5 minutes before the Service Point after going for a swim! I had to take the bike upside down, remove the spark plug, et voila…!” With a few river crossings, the Red Bull Romaniacs Offroad Day Two had become a “swimming day” for quite a few riders. Briefly after Walker, the Austrian Gold-Class rider Lars Enöckl also drowned his bike and had to go through the same re-animation procedure. Enöckl later qualified for the “sportsman of day” title by not only letting his mechanic help Bolton after a crash, but also removing one of his GPS devices from his own handlebars and fixing it to Bolton`s!

Wade Young was on fire today. The 18 year old South African seems to have arrived for his second Red Bull Romaniacs well-prepared and good for a few surprises. Young appeared this morning fresh and well rested as the very first rider at the Offroad Start. He started 6th and took the lead before the Service Point. He even gained some time from Jarvis going through the hard sections, where the “King of the Carpathians” is very hard to beat. Letti watched him quite puzzled, lifting the bike over some obstacles while he himself was pushing and running out of breath!

The world of the Extreme Enduro top-guns seems to have indeed been inverted today. While Young managed to gain some time on Jarvis in the hard sections, Jarvis seemed to have found a secret 7th gear on his Husqvarna! He was unbelievably fast and made some of the time-gains in high-speed sections, usually not his strongest side. After the Service Point he pulled heavily on the gas and started to talk business. He blazed through “The beast”, the high-speed section “A8” and the “Never ending Story”, like it was a walk in the park. It landed him the victory for Offroad Day 2 and positioned him right after the currently leading Walker. “In terms of speed, I had to leave my comfort zone today. Jonny was pushing a lot and I did not really have a choice,” states Jarvis.

Cory Graffunder, US Endurocross star and factory replacement for Alfredo Gomez (Husqvarna) kept performing amazingly in the Carpathian mountains today. Being completely new to this kind of race, the terrain and the Red Bull Romaniacs, he finished the day as 10th and arrived unscratched and relatively relaxed in the finish. “I am happy that I made it through these insane sections in one piece, sometimes I had to take breaks in the forest and rest”, Graffunder admits. He was seen teaming up with gentleman Lars Enöckl to get through some of the hard passages.

After a specific Silver-class torture yesterday, the Silver-riders were in for some resting today and were treated more gently. Promptly, some of them arrived in the finish 20 minutes ahead of the calculated riding time and there were riders stating “too easy”. They were quickly re-assured by track director Klaus Sorensen, that they are up for a few special treats tomorrow, on Offroad Day Three.

Bolton came in 5th, impressing himself with his fitness and determination. “For some reason, I like to make things difficult for myself” he said. Before the Service Point, Bolton had 2 significant crashes, the first when he collided with some wire, wiping out his cooling fan and electric start. The second was on foot while maneuvering the machine down a super steep descent; he lost his footing and cartwheeled the bike down a ravine, wiping out his GPS. Chris Birch suffered a similar crash, knowing that when the bike left him, he must persuade it to go right, but Chris said “the bike had it’s own mind and it just careered out of control left, landing in a place of possible no return.”

Results can be found here: http://www.redbullromaniacs.com/results/results-2014/

16.07.2014: OFFROAD DAY ONE 

Slippery when wet, Walker on fire, Jarvis and Bolton hot on his heels

Sibiu, Romania, July 16th, 2014 – As usual during the Red Bull Romaniacs, riders had a very early morning, starting with the delivery of the loaded GPS devices at 5am at the race headquarters. Shortly after, the riders transferred individually via a connecting stage to the Offroad Start, from where the first riders left at 6.30am. There was some light rain the night before, leaving the tracks very slippery in the morning and riders in cautious mode. Nevertheless, the first half of the day rolled out as planned and the top riders arrived well within the estimated riding times.

The starting order for the morning was defined by the results of yesterday`s prolog: Paul Bolton started ahead of Graham Jarvis and Jonny Walker. Bolton was the first to hit the virgin track after the track openers and adjusted well to the slippery conditions and the navigation. Bolton kept building on his starting gap of 5min until after the service point, when Walker managed to gain some time on him. Meanwhile Jarvis was struggling with small wipeouts and navigation issues. Later, Walker stayed behind Jarvis for quite some time and benefitted from the “King`s” Red Bull Romaniacs experience. The three of them made their way through the first sections - among them the feared “Doomed” and arrived at the service point in the same order, as they started in the morning. After the service point, Bolton was still going on cruise control and was unstoppable in the extreme sections. But wet logs under the leaves sent him flying a few times and let him end up on third position for the day. After the third wipeout, Bolton threatened himself: “if you fall off again, you are going home!”

Lars Enöckl`s misfortune yesterday during the prologue presented him a late start. The Austrian had caught a banner after a wipeout and missed several minutes trying to free his bike from the advertising! With his late start today, he did not manage to find a riding buddy that was able to keep up with him and he travelled, like Bolton, mostly alone throughout the morning. Chris Birch, who joined forces a few times with Wade Young, approached the first day carefully and walked his KTM down a steep trail - but still lost control and had to watch it cartwheeling down the hill, resulting in some minor damage. He had another wipeout later in the quarry, but did not suffer from any injuries.

The quarry also managed to get Letti slightly scared: he lost balance over a loose rock and tumbled towards the edge of a cliff. Fortunately he recovered in time and got away with a scare. Letti had already arrived slightly hurt in Sibiu: after having to deal with some spinal-disk problems before the race, he had been worried if racing would be possible at all. Another 4th place today after yesterday`s 4th in the prologue clearly indicate Letti`s ambitions for another place on the podium (3rd 2013).

During Offroad Day Three, the quarry, the “Doomed”-section and the offroad finish ended up being the main highlights of the day: The Silver-Class got terribly stuck in “Doomed”, the Bronze-Class were slaughtered in front of hundreds of spectators in the quarry and even Gold-Class riders had to be pulled up the Offroad Finish. One section that repeatedly came up as “gnarly” in the reports of the Gold-class riders, was the “Sherco-river” - an uphill creek with extremely slippery rocks.

When passing through the difficult passages, there were huge time-differences between the top-riders of each class and the slower competitors: the top three for example, plowed through a particularly hard patch in 16 minutes, the 10th rider after them already needed 30mins. The last Gold-Class rider passing the section even needed 1hr 16mins!

Shortly after, Graham Jarvis finished Offroad Day One in just over four hours, he was seen having lunch in the hotel - while the majority of the Silver-class hadn`t even arrived at the Service point!

PROLOGUE:15.07.2014: 

Bolton wins, extreme enduro at its best again in the heart of the historic city centre of Sibiu

Sibiu, Romania, July 15th, 2014 – The 11th edition of the Red Bull Romaniacs kicked off in perfect sunny weather and in front of ca. 15.000 enthusiastic spectators. The hospitable city of Sibiu hosts the 11th edition of the world`s toughest Extreme Enduro race. Traffic and every-day business came to a screeching halt, when 350 riders from 35 nations invaded the city center with their dirt-bikes. The Enduro mayhem already started to unfolded on Sunday, when one of the city's main boulevards was blocked off and converted into an inner-city race track.

The task of managing the construction of the race-course was again assigned to Red Bull Romaniacs prologue-master Andy Fazekas. He is known for his cruel creations in the past. In 2014, when his “chain” was one of the most feared extreme enduro obstacles of the year, he was most certainly the main cast in many riders` nightmares. This year, after having promised to go slightly more easy on the riders, Andy took 120 tons of rock, 130 tons of wood, ca. 3km of fences, some barriers, concrete blocks, pipes and barriers - and built another work of art. The 3km-long race track, shaped as a loop along the 4-lane inner city boulevard “Coposu" in Sibiu provided the perfect playground for the Red Bull Romaniacs kick-off! The sections include several railroads and a trailer crossing, the inevitable cable-reels, wall-rides, a city forest, the anti-jump, a spiral wall ride, crazy jumps and the “guillotine”, a moving log…

Once the race took off with the time trials qualification, only the top 35 riders of each class qualified for the finals. Later in the finals, all 35 riders were unleashed onto the course at the same time. They started in five rows of seven riders; the starting position was freely choosable depending on time trials-results. For the Gold-Class, with riders taking as little as just over one minute per lap, it meant going passing more than 10 laps on the crowded track.

For the finals, the spectators were awarded with heated battles especially in the Gold-Class. The tension started to rise slowly over the heats of the different classes: there some heavy bike lifting and struggles could be seen in the heats of the Iron-, Bronze-, and even in the Silver-Class but riders were supported by enthusiastic cheers of the crowd. Once the Gold-Class hit the course, the race developed into a world-class Enduro-Cross battle. Cory Graffunder (CAN) who brought tons of experience to the table, was fighting a winning battle for the podium, until his engine died briefly before the finish - due to a faulty spark plug. Bad Luck. Local matador Dani Otil (ROU) faced the same fate and had to drop out because of technical problems.

Jonny Walker was clearly dominating and leading the race for the first third, but seemed to start remembering his strategy and went easier on the throttle in the last part, giving way to Graham Jarvis (UK). Jarvis had raced the prologue in his usual unspectacular style and no-one expected to see him on the podium. But he is not called “the silent assassin” without a reason and proved again, that the Carpathians are his kingdom and that he means business to keep the crown. Despite a little wipeout, Jarvis finished the race 2nd. The biggest show was delivered by last year`s prologue winner Paul Bolton (UK), who rode like a shark in a fishtank and combined technique with top-shape and aggressiveness. Bolton: “I had to win, I needed the money!”.

Another stunning performance was delivered by David Cyprian, a 16 year old teenager from the Czech Republic. He won the Silver-Team-Class and became the youngest rider ever to win a Red Bull Romaniacs prologue.

One case of even worse luck than Cory Graffunder struck Wiik Joar Resaland (NOR) who rode a spectacular race during the qualifying. But after the race, totally exhausted and thirsty, he grabbed the wrong bottle (cooling liquid) and ended up in the hospital. He is on dialysis now and will hopefully be able to continue the race.

Two highly anticipated top-riders did not even make it to Romania: Alfredo Gomez (SPA), last year`s overall 2nd, got involved in an accident and ended up with a broken foot just days before the Red Bull Romaniacs. David Knight, who was expected to bring some fresh wind into the established podium contenders, lost his Sherco-factory contract and had to cancel as well.

Overall, the 2014 Red Bull Romaniacs prologue passed smoothly and without major accidents. Heinz Kinigadner, motorsports legend, experienced race organizer and founder of “Wings for Life” congratulated Martin (Frein) Freinademetz on the successful kick-off: “You have created something unique and amazing here - I am happy that we finally managed to come and see it!”

Results can be found here: http://www.redbullromaniacs.com/results/results-2014/

 
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