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Red Bull Romaniacs 2017 - Offroad Day 3 - Madness

Walker and Knight out, Jarvis nails his third out of four stages, Mini Letti in the spotlight

When the track and riding distances were announced during the rider`s briefing the night before Offroad Day 3, the room went silent. Riders who already had two of the four Red Bull Romaniacs days, plus the prologue, under their belt, had to realize that it is not getting any easier. On the contrary: what was presented to them, is more than the average Enduro rider can even contemplate - let alone having already endured two Offroad Days. It appeared the only saving grace was that the weather gods had mercy on the riders who were spared both pouring rain and scorching heat. But in fact this wasn't the case and the recent weather conditions had rendered the trails even tougher.

This time it was the track team who showed compassion for the Gold and Silver class riders and removed some of the final loops of the day. As the day progressed it became evident that the challenges for the Bronze and Iron class were also extraordinary. It was at this point that organizer Martin Freinademetz decided to announce an overall “General Amnesty” and time bars were erased for all classes.

This helped a lot, because it was madness out there. The Red Bull Romaniacs has a reputation of being slightly “nuts" and a history of constantly raising the bar for Extreme Enduro. Riders and bikes have either been chewed up and spit out by the rally or lived up to the challenge and evolved year after year. And every time, the Extreme Enduro circus arrives in Sibiu, the surprise is huge and extreme statements about the madness out there fill the channels. The Red Bull Romaniacs veterans however just shrugged “Martin is crazy, so what's new” and continued business as usual, using the difficulty of challenges to their advantage.

Graham Jarvis, in his 9th Red Bull Romaniacs, delivered his 3rd consecutive day-win today and already sees a possible 6th overall win within reach. Like him, 10-times participant Paul Bolton is delivering top notch results and finished the day in 4th place. Under the wings of yet another veteran (Andreas Lettenbichler), a “young wild one” is using the opportunity to sneak up towards the podium: Manuel Lettenbichler. Letti Junior successfully finished the third day and landed a career best, 2nd place. Each year, more of this new breed of impressive young riders such as Mario Roman, Travis Teasdale and Billy Bolt are pressuring the established stars of the Extreme Enduro world, respectively filling the spots from fourth to sixth.

David Knight, who abandoned midway during Offroad Day 2, did not not show up at the start this morning. Jonny Walker tried to race with his injured hand but had to accept that it was impossible a few minutes into the race. With Gomez, Young, Walker and Knight out of the race, questions arose if the challenges might be too high.

For the Gold class, the day started with a slick concrete ramp up the side of a bridge. The gnarly start was a good indication of what to expect from the day created by track manager Mike Skinner. In terms of riding speed, the first section of the race was clearly liked by Mario Roman who was untouchable in the morning. Roman was the fastest rider, passing Jarvis and Bolton, who had started before him. The new “Mofo” section was a continuation of the “in your face” morning theme but seemed to be to the liking of Roman, who found his way to the top the fastest. Letti Junior, Jarvis and Bolton following in quick succession. Roman arriving first at the Service Point and finishing the day in 3rd place.

Graham Jarvis, true to form, took a little time to find his groove in the morning. After passing the service point he ripped through a monster gold section, “Paradise valley”. After that, Jarvis was unstoppable and once again secured the day win for himself. Graham Jarvis: “Mario and Paul caught up to me so I had to push hard this afternoon. Tomorrow I’ll just try and stay focused on the track and keep doing what I've been doing the last three days”

“Mini Letti”: “It was pretty long before the first service point, there was a really sketchy uphill. I was lucky to get a good ride after that and catch Bolton. It’s always nice to ride with another guy, hard enduro is great for that. I think I ended up third today and I’m really looking forward to tomorrow because it's the last day! I’m just going to stay cool and ride at my own pace and we’ll see”

Mario Roman: “I feel good, it would be good to finish second overall in the rally, if I can catch Graham tomorrow then I will try to follow him and if possible I want to pass him to get a win at least one of the days”

Paul Bolton: “I crashed and landed upside down in Paradise Valley which put my rhythm out a bit, I wasn’t far behind Mario up until that point, I don’t know where Graham was, he was probably miles ahead. We all needed a bit of help at the top of the next steep bit. Then I had to make a new line because I didn’t make a hill, which was all hidden branches and overgrowth which is a nightmare compared to the tracks which have plenty of traction. Then “Mini Letti” caught me, it was cool to see the young guys having a real good go of it! Thank goodness tomorrow is the last day, we get to see what crazy Andy has created for us!”

Todays Silver class were immediately thrown in at the deep end with a slick uphill that was a tough nut to crack. Many of the riders helped each other and teamwork was the name of the game. It didn’t really get any easier after that, the whole day presented a real mish mash of roots, rocks, slippery sections and steep hills.

Five out of the ten courageous Enduro women in this years Red Bull Romaniacs have made it through to the end of Offroad Day 3. It is the most women ever to attempt the challenge of the Red Bull Romaniacs!

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