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Red Bull Romaniacs 2017 - Getting into the groove

Jarvis reigns, Bolton riding the race of his life, Walker and Roman pushing hard

What was considered by the organisers as a relatively “manageable” Red Bull Romaniacs Offroad Day 1 yesterday had caught many riders of all classes by surprise and everybody was quick to proclaim “The toughest Red Bull Romaniacs ever…”. For the Gold class, this is far from true, despite no longer having two of the top contenders (Alfredo Gomez and Wade Young) in the race. A really tough day was waiting for them today, especially with “Holy Rock” in the morning and “The Impossible” after the service point. The Silver class also received a severe “Welcome to Romania” with the section “Vodka Red Bull”, while the Bronze and Iron class had an opportunity to get into their groove.

The Iron class riders were also led to believe that the track managers had mercy and presented them with a nice, enjoyable day of riding. But then, just after the Service Point, the “Bronze and Iron class challenge” was waiting for them, a three kilometers uphill massacre… The impressions they gave as they arrived in the finish were priceless. At the end of the day even for the Iron class, it is still the Red Bull Romaniacs - and no backyard enduro. This remained to be the reality for the two “Bomber class” riders. KTM Adventure 1090 rider Quinn Cody and Touratech BMW rider Gerhard Forster bravely piloted their big bikes through the Romanian forest, tipped over a few times but kept flying past struggling Iron and Bronze class riders.They placed 7th (Forster) and 11th (Cody) with only six minutes between them.

Here is how the day unfolded for the Top Guns: Like yesterday, Graham Jarvis and Paul Bolton pulled some of the best times during the morning, with Jonny Walker breathing fire down their necks. All crashing and recovering several times, they made it through hard and technical sections with lots of encouragement from the enthusiastic locals and fans. Jarvis, Walker, Bolton and Roman kept back and forthing in a game of tag all the way to finish. Jarvis came out with the top times, finishing another day in first place. Bolton had also continued his performance from day one - but without the mistakes and was awarded with a 2nd place, just seconds behind Jarvis. Roman placed third and Walker fourth. Despite their experience, most Gold class riders were in shock about the EXTREMES in some of the sections - but their riding times being only seconds apart, show that this is the level that the world's top riders are now competing at.

Graham Jarvis: “Jonny and I left the service point together, I was pushing and Jonny seemed to back off a bit. There were some hard bits, Jonny had to have a couple of attempts at a slippery hill which I nailed the first time, it was my chance to gap him a little, hopefully it's enough to win the day. It was fast today and my body is tired!”

Paul Bolton: “I really enjoyed the day. I rode my own race, there were some really gnarly downhills, you don’t want to let go of your bike because it will cartwheel down into the forest. I got past Walker and Mario and then it was a game of cat and mouse. It`s my 10th year at Red Bull Romaniacs so I use my experience and if you look at Graham you can see that too, he’s just smokin’ it.”

Mario Roman: “Afternoon was good rhythm , not so many steep sections except at the end where I passed Jonny on one the steep uphills. But some of the downhills before the SP were such a surprise, you come to them and if you crash, you die, it's Extreme Enduro…”

Jonny Walker: “I rode fast this morning but lost all my speed this afternoon, I thought I had the lead going into the service but I had such a bad crash just before the service and hurt my hand. Leaving the service, I tried to ride with Graham, but I couldn’t, he was too fast, I couldn’t grip my handlebars so the front and rear end were sliding out and I couldn’t push. I just hope I'll be able to ride tomorrow because of my hand.”

In the Silver class, the training to forge the next row of elite Extreme Enduro riders started in the morning. For them it was a tough day with only one fast section, the rest was brutally technical. The experienced Mani Gyenes, who is in his 14th Red Bull Romaniacs, crossed the silver finish line first today: “It was a good day but harder than yesterday.There were lots of hills and wet grass, I am in a good shape and hope I can keep the pace in the 3rd day, the toughest day. I don't think I can fight for the overall win but I will try to keep the podium”. This is possibly due to one of the young guns, hot on his tail pipe, Bruno Crivilin (BRA),who finished first in yesterdays Offroad Day 1. He clearly has the Extreme Enduro bug and is adapting to the Romanian tracks. There were three Romanian riders in the top 10 of the silver class today giving a good national representation. A Romanian rider, Sergiu Grecu, also keeps pushing for a place or even the top of the podium in the Bronze class and delivered his second day win today.