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Red Bull Romaniacs 2017 - A tough day in the woods

Jarvis on fire, Birch, Young and Gomez out

After the typical early morning start (06.30am) the world elite of Extreme Enduro hit the Romanian wilderness for the “Offroad Day 1”. Somewhat unhappy about his number one starting position, Jonny Walker was out first, followed by the highly motivated Billy Bolt, Alfredo Gomez, Graham Jarvis and Manuel Lettenbichler. The tension was high and ambitions great - but Jarvis and Bolton showed some of the best riding times during the morning. They used the slippery and wet conditions to their advantage, especially in the “Viagra Falls” section. Despite being through the finish first and a top performance throughout the day, Paul Bolton spoiled his result by missing a checkpoint just before the finish. Having been tailgunning Jarvis the whole time, his presence there puzzled the arriving Graham Jarvis. Knowing that things are usually different than they appear in the finish, Jarvis shrugged and said: “I'll go check for the results later, this was physically a very demanding day for me and my focus is now on recovery to be able to stay on the bike tomorrow!” Walker was able to convert is “unlucky” starting position into a great 3rd place, providing a good foundation for what might develop into the typical four-day duel between him and Jarvis.

This is because yesterday`s prologue-superstar Gomez is no longer a threat to their ambitions. Gomez seemed to be struggling in the morning and although gaining some speed he later reported back pain and a numb leg. Supposedly a result of a nasty crash only 10 minutes after the start, Gomez had to eventually give in to the pain, abandoning the day and arriving in the finish via the road. For Wade Young, the rallye also ended early. After just two hours of riding, he had a big crash down “The Rock” which put an end to his dreams of winning the Red Bull Romaniacs this year. Young continued to ride for another 90 minutes until the adrenalin wore off and the pain took over.

With Gomez and Young out of the way, a door opens for the “young wild ones”. Among them are Mario Roman who finished with a stunning 2nd place and David Cyprian who is breathing down his neck (4th place). Besides the young wild kids, there is also a veteran who has taken on the challenge of the Red Bull Romaniacs for the first time: David Knight. Knight finished 6th place today behind the ever present Lars Enöckl (5th). We will keep an eye on how it unfolds...

Red Bull Romaniacs veteran Chris Birch was planning to try the “impossible” this year and tackle the rallye on a big twin-cylinder travel enduro. His race was unfortunately over before it even began, when he hurt his hand during a training on Monday. Despite his bad luck the “Fat Ladies” were still able to sing… Setting off with the Iron class at 9am, his fellow big-twin riders Gerhard Foster (Touratech BMW) and Cody Quinn (KTM Adventure 1090) enjoyed the first day of their adventure. They rode in close proximity to each other for a while - until the Romanian forest eventually caught up with Quinn and left him wondering what was going on! While Quinn was forced into Red Bull Romaniacs typical torture, Forster played the ace of his experience in Romania and navigated the huge BMW relatively effortless through slippery single trails. Forster finished 7th place and Quinn did not finish the day.

The top finishers in the Silver class were a mixture of known names like the Romanian Mani Gyenes, the New Zealander Sean Clarke and Mark Jackson (UK). And there is also the upcoming Brazilian Bruno Crivilin, who pushed into the spotlight and placed first. The overall opinion of the Silver class riders was, that there were a lot of challenging sections in the second half of the day which slowed them down. It was extremely difficult and relentless in parts. Mani Gyenes, who has high hopes to win this year, enjoyed the day with one slight hiccup saying “there was some tricky sections and I got lost on the track at one point along with Billy Bolt and Wade Young, we had to retrace our steps and I lost 18 minutes”

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