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The Red Bull Romaniacs Epic Edition 15
Offroad Day 3: Back to Sibiu - Wade Young is on fire
In the morning of Offroad Day 3, the rally left the beautiful ski resort of Straja and headed back towards Sibiu. With clear skies and world class tracks ahead of them, competitors were sent off in good spirits. Had they known what was awaiting them “out there…” spirits might have been slightly dampened. And despite the favourable weather, the track was still soaked and provided little grip.
Halfway through the morning, competitors arrived in an area, that track director Teo Isac called the “Loop of Insanity”. This loop contains the sections “Galindo ridge”, “Babysitter” and “Long walk”. These are some of the toughest challenges the Epic Edition 15 of the Red Bull Romaniacs has to offer. It was going to separate the wolves from the sheep. The area became the perfect playground for the “Wolf pack”, consisting of Wade Young, Manuel Lettenbichler and Jonny Walker. Today was a step towards finding the world's best Extreme Enduro rider and to score valuable WESS points.
Wade Young started the day on fire and kept pushing hard - trying to establish his lead position early in the day. Manuel Lettenbichler and Jonny Walker were chasing him into the “Loop of Insanity”, battling it out, neither one wanting Young to get away from them. Young however flew through the sections and made lots of time. The next best performer in this loop, Manuel Lettenbichler, lost ca. 10 mins on Young. Walker, riding with Billy Bolt hot on his heels, lost ca. 20 min on Young. Although Lettenbichler lost some time, he continued to chase like a bat out of hell through the tough sections, which didn’t appear to have any effect on his energy resources and he continued to gain time on the leader.
However, all of them arrived completely shattered in the Service Point, which was situated in the middle of this “battlefield” - and were barely able to speak. After the Service Point, some well appreciated help was at hand: lots of spectators had made it out into Romanian wilderness to watch the world-elite in action. Noticing the suffering “out there…”, they started offering bananas, food and water at the sections “Galindo ridge” and “Long walk”. A welcome offering for Alfredo Gomez, who had raced without drinking water for a long time today. For him, it was the hardest day and the most technical one. Billy Bolt had stepped up his game this morning and joined the “Wolf pack” for the ride. He rode together with Manuel Lettenbichler for a while, until he got stuck on an uphill.
Wade Young finished the day first, with Manuel Lettenbichler just seconds behind him (2nd). Jonny Walker (3rd) arrived 17 mins after Young, followed by Alfredo Gomez (4th) and Billy Bolt (5th).
Out with the old, in with the new: Are we currently witnessing a new generation of extreme enduro riders surfacing? The “Wolf pack” have dominated the first three days and have not shown any signs of tiring, as they should be. In contrast, this years Epic Edition 15 has really taken its toll on some of our known veterans. There were two surprises at the start of the day: Taddy Blazusiak wasn’t able to start, despite his good day yesterday, due to sickness. Graham Jarvis, also had to pull out early in the day due to dehydration and exhaustion. Both hope to be at the start again for Offroad Day 4. Mario Roman, despite having hurt his hand during the prologue, kept pushing bravely through the pain. He finished the day as 6th.
In the Silver class Dieter Rudolf maintain his lead over Michael Walkner and Josu Artola. Stefan Simpson was 5th,Dave "never again" Wood 10th, Josef Westgarth 15th, Grant Churchward 26th, Sam Ludgate 43rd, Keith Maude 61st, Richard Baxter 68th, Mark Kirby 69th, Steve Roper 78th, James Jackson 91st, Mark Jackson 92nd, Wil Westgarth 93rd, Jon Kingston 101st and Keiran Hankin.
Jean-Michel Vigand topped the Bronze class ahead of Fausto Mota and Milos Novakovic:
Wade Young : “That was a really long day today. The hardest part was right at the beginning and it really took it out of you. I tried not to push too hard because I know how easy it is to burn yourself out. I stayed relaxed, didn’t make any huge mistakes and aimed for the finish. I knew I had a bit of a gap over Manni today so that let me relax a bit and I think it helped me to stay smooth. There’s still one day to go tomorrow and my plan is to ride similar to today – don’t push too hard and get to the finish in one piece. If the result comes, then it’s time to celebrate but it’s too early to think about that yet!”
Manuel Lettenbichler: “I feel pretty good, but it was really hard! Around the Service Point it took a lot of energy to proceed. Two gnarly sections after the Service Point were insane. After “Long Walk” I tried to cruise a bit and regain some energy, but the day was a killer. Still I didn't expect to do so good this year. I’m just having fun and loving the job! Hopefully tomorrow will be a good day and I’ll be able to bring myself and my bike to the finish.”
Jonny Walker: “Pretty tired, I spent all my energy in the really technical sections before the Service Point. This afternoon I was just going through the motions. I had to lie down at the Service Point. I’ll be glad when it’s all over! I feel good but struggling on the wet hills once the leaves are gone it’s so slick, the other riders will really struggle. Wade and Letti are riding really awesome”
Dieter Rudolf (AUT) Silver Class: “Today was a lot easier than the days before, I feel a lot stronger now than I did at the finish of day two – that was really tough. I lost some time yesterday after making a mistake with my navigation, I had to turn around and retrace my route to get back on track again. Today went a lot better, the track was really good fun and flowed nicely – I really enjoyed it. We’ve one day left and I am looking forward to getting to the finish, hopefully I can keep a hold of the lead and take the win.”
Kirsten Landman (RSA) Bronze Class: “That was a really cool day
today. The first few checkpoints were quite tough but after that we got into
some nice riding and it was a really nice day. The course was a good
combination of speed and technical sections but the ground is still very wet
after the rain over the past few days. My knee is weak following a small crash
so I just have to be aware of it but hopefully I can get to the finish in one
Red Bull Romaniacs, Off Road Day 3
1. Wade Young (Sherco - RSA) 6:53:57; 2. Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM - GER) 6:54:05; 3. Jonny Walker (KTM - GB) 7:11:33; 4. Alfredo Gomez (Husqvarna – ESP) 7:40:12; 5. Billy Bolt (Husqvarna – GB) 7:42:33; 6. Mario Roman (Sherco – ESP) 8:11:08; 7. Paul Bolton (KTM – GB) 8:21:53; 8. David Cyprian (KTM – CZE) 8:44:43; 9. Blake Gutzeit (Yamaha – RSA) 9:30:48; 10. Philipp Scholz (KTM – DEU) 9:30:59…
1. Dieter Rudolf (AUT) 5:22:17; 2. Michael Walkner (AUT) 5:32:35; 3. Emanuel Gyenes (ROU) 5:47:49; 4. Josu Artola (ESP) 5:53:42; 5. Matthew Green (ZAF) 5:58:24…
1. Jean-Michel Vigand (FRA) 3:50:06; 2. Fausto Mota (PRT) 5:09:18; 3. Milos Novakovic (SVN) 5:13:44; 4. Fabien Choffat (CHE) 5:15:26; 5. Jond Christophe (FRA) 5:17:58…
1. Mindaugas Simkevicius (LTU) 4:44:38; 2. Antanas Lucinskas (LTU) 4:46:21; 3. Tom Oberndorfer (GER) 4:48:04; 4. Markus Oberndorfer (AUT) 4:55:32; 5. Maksim Gusevskii (RUS) 5:18:57…
Provisional Classification (After Day 2)
1. Wade Young (Sherco - RSA) 21:02:38; 2. Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM - GER) 21:06:42; 3. Jonny Walker (KTM - GB) 21:33:05; 4. Billy Bolt (Husqvarna - GB) 23:02:48; 5. Alfredo Gomez (Husqvarna - ESP) 23:35:54; 6. Paul Bolton (KTM – GB) 23:47:05; 7. David Cyprian (KTM – CZE) 16:31:42; 8. Marion Roman (Sherco – ESP) 26:06:21; 9. Blake Gutzeit (Yamaha – RSA) 26:09:42; 10. Philipp Scholz (KTM – DEU) 27:49:22…
1. Dieter Rudolf (AUT) 19:17:18; 2. Michael Walkner (AUT) 21:13:03; 3. Josu Artola (ESP) 21:16:04; 4. Emanuel Gyenes (ROU) 21:25:24; 5. Stefan Simpson (GBR) 21:58:49…
1. Gianino Coscarelli (BRA) 18:10:00; 2. Milos Novakovic (SVN) 18:24:42; 3. Aivars Kukojs (LVA) 19:19:45 4. Andreas Maier (AUT) 19:23:18; 5. Fausto Mota (PRT) 19:42:38…
1. Mindaugas Simkevicius (LTU) 18:26:24; 2. Antanas Lucinskas (LTU) 20:13:59; 3. Markus Oberndorfer (AUT) 20:25:54; 4. Markus Beeler (CHE) 21:44:07; 5. Maksim Gusevskii (RUS) 22:00:03
Photo credit: Future7Media
Report Volter Jacob