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Bull Romaniacs 2017 - A new level of Extreme at the prologue
Gomez rides in a league of his own and Andy Fazekas does it again
Compared to last year, the 2017 Red Bull Romaniacs prologue appeared “manageable” to most of the riders at first sight. It did not appear to have the same terrifying obstacles as before and was even considered more “flowy”, but it proved to be much harder. Prologue manager Andy Fazekas had designed an “unassuming”, friendly appearing race track. But he had thrown in some killer traps that kept getting the bikes stuck every meter or so. Once on the track many riders quickly got overwhelmed by exhaustion, begging spectators for water and even were reduced to tears in some cases. The only way to get through was to keep the momentum and find one of the extremely rare flowy lines. Out of the many sections, the “Carpathian Kiss” rocks section and the “Triple Black” tires were the most feared. And that was before the rain… In typical Red Bull Romaniacs fashion the heavens opened up during the finals of the prologue and it downpoured on the some of the Bronze class riders. It soaked the course and stepped up the technical challenges for the Silver and Gold class riders.
During the day, it became obvious how quickly the skill level of Extreme Enduro is rising. For example, in 2016 Jarvis was the only rider crossing the concrete barrier at the finish, everyone else taking the “chicken line”. In today's prologue the majority of Gold class opted for the concrete barrier instead of the “Triple Black” tires. Also, three years ago the common opinion, even amongst the top riders, was that the prologue podium is reserved for an elite 3-5 people. This has changed, today there are at least eight potentials who could exchange places up there.
Among them, one rider stood out today and appeared to be riding in a league of his own: Alfredo Gomez. By the 3rd lap Alfredo Gomez charged to the lead and from there just increased the gap, incredibly starting to lap top gold class riders in lap seven. Gomez slalomed his way through the other racers, in total harmony with his bike, almost gliding across the obstacles as if they weren't even there. Finishing with over a one minute lead ahead of Billy Bolt who came in 2nd. Gomez hardly broke a sweat after the race and said: “I am in a great moment and have a really good feeling with the bike - I am playing with the bike the whole time. I am happy to be able to choose 3rd starting position for tomorrow!”
Billy Bolt, who made some headlines by not finishing his first Red Bull Romaniacs and getting lost in the Romanian wilderness, was thrilled with his 2nd place at today`s prologue. Billy: “I am going in to this year with more knowledge and experience. My strategy is to pace myself to last the full four days.”
Jonny Walker, who finished 3rd, was bittersweet about the outcome, fearing that his starting position for Offroad Day 1 would spoil his plans to win the race. Jonny “I am a bit cheesed off because it is a big disadvantage to start first - with no tracks to follow. Ideally you want to start 3rd to win the race. But I`ll make the most of it - it is what it is.”
Graham Jarvis was 4th, Manuel Lettenbichler 5th, Paul Bolton 6th, Wade Young 7th, Pol Tarres 8th, Travis Teasdale 9th and Mario Roman 10th David Knight was 11th and Sam Winterburn 26th,
In the Silver class Adrian Harry won ahead of Eurotek KTM's Mark Jackson. Jacko's son James Jackson was 11th. 26th Josef Westgarth, 29th Neil Challice, 38th Aled Price, 42nd Mike Slater, 50th Mark Kirby, 77th James Meston, 81st Justin Carter, 88th Reece Morewood, 101st Daniel Kelly.