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Wade Young won debut Romaniacs

Tensions were high as the riders lined up in the grassy meadows at the foot of the hills just outside Sibiu. Skies were favourable. As an act of generosity Martin Freinademetz had granted an extra half an hour of sleep to the riders, a sign of recognition of the unbelievable strain the riders had been under during the last four days.

After a night of heavy contemplation Wade Young, Manuel Lettenbichler and Jonny Walker knew what they had to do to conquer this day and be the overall champion. Jonny had fire in his veins and charged full throttle out the start - knowing that it was 30 mins in the overall ranking that separated him from the title this year. Even though Walker rode an unbelievable race on Offroad Day 4 and made up some time, he was not able to beat the “young guns”. Jonny Walker secured himself a third place - on the podium!

On this final race day of the 2018 Red Bull Romaniacs - Manuel Lettenbichler rode the race of his life - blowing everything out of the water. It was similar to last years Offroad Day 4, which had earned him a fourth place in 2017. Today he had started the day with a 4 mins disadvantage behind Wade Young in the overall race progress - with the ultimate win in his sights. And Manuel Lettenbichler delivered again, as he did throughout this entire race: He won the day and only missed the title by a mere two minutes, ending up with a second place on the podium! His absolutely best result so far.

Wade Young seemed to be holding back a little during the morning while Letti was charging out of the gates on fire. After the second to last checkpoint Young let it rip and charged forward, regaining time he had lost to Lettenbichler during the morning. His strategy appears to have been to conserve energy in the morning and then go for a final spurt, which granted him the title: the winner of the 2018 Red Bull Romaniacs - Epic Edition 15. In fact, he is now the youngest ever winner of the Red Bull Romaniacs.

The competitors determination and skill was demonstrated throughout the day, for example Wade and Manuel rode between 2 checkpoints in exactly the same time to the SECOND! Also, Mario Roman and Billy Bolt: Roman, showing no mercy to his injury, was riding the exact same time to the minute as Billy Bolt from the start up until checkpoint 8. This level of competition to the second and to the minute has never been seen before. Despite the craziness of the race and the unbelievable level of strain riders and bikes have to go through, it again shows, how much the performance level in this sport has grown. For example, in 2009 Letti senior needed 35 mins for passing through the section “Long Walk”, in 2017 Letti junior passed the same section in just 7 mins. In 2004, the section “20 helpers” was named after the fact that 20 people were needed to assist the riders to cross it - no helpers are needed for the same section in 2018. And the Red Bull Romaniacs keep growing the difficulty: new sections were introduced this year, that are currently setting the bar and that are considered close to impossible to ride. One of them is the section “Babysitter”, a steep wall (up) on roots and rocks. In a few years, the top guns can be expected to just be cruising through there.

Martin Freinademetz: “We had a great “Enduro Fest”. I am deeply impressed by how ALL competitors fought it out - and the stamina, that brought everyone through the last days. I am also extremely proud of my team that made this event happen - with a full year of preparations and hardly any sleep during the last week. I think it was worth it - “thank you” everyone!! We had planned for Offroad Day 1 to be a bit of tough one, to bring everyone into the “red zone”. After that we had kept them racing at that level, which was far outside of their comfort zone. Each day we carefully modulated the track, depending on weather conditions and exhaustion levels of the competitors. As with any race organisation, each year there is room for improvement and lessons are learnt. We will continue to develop excellent race concepts, timekeeping, rules/regulations and the world's best Enduro tracks for each class.”

There were many occasions when we saw spectator participation in this years rally, a sign of the growing passion for the sport of hard enduro. The number of Romanian fans is always encouraging as well as international visitors who travel to Sibiu specifically to follow the race. International viewers are also represented by the high number of social media, website and live views, numbers that have grown significantly over recent years.

Today Josep Garcia (# 20) had lost his front brake. After having managed to negotiate the section “Ziggy Zaggy”, he was in search for a KTM bike from the spectators, it was a German spectator who donated his front brake to the Gold class rider so he could continue on his way.

In the Silver class Dieter Rudolf maintain his lead over Michael Walkner and Josu Artola. Stefan Simpson was 5th, Dave "never again" Wood 9th, Josef Westgarth 15th, Grant Churchward 25th, Sam Ludgate 40th, Keith Maude 56th, Mark Kirby 58th, Steve Roper 61st, Richard Baxter 67th, James Jackson 77th, Mark Jackson 79th, Wil Westgarth 80th, Jon Kingston 94th and Keiran Hankin 129th. 

Gianino Coscarelli topped the Bronze class ahead of Milos Novakovic and Fausto Mota. Chris Ball was 18th. Leslie Winthrop 31st, Gary McCoy 33rd, David Siviter 41st, Paul Westgarth 51st, Ed Warren 56th, Matt Watterson 58th, Ben Roper 64th, Ashley Tophan 66th, Scott Booth 71st, Harvey Bish 77th, Sean McCabe 79th, Jake Szebo 83rd, Gethin Francombe 88th, Tom Highley 95th, Brett Pocock 99th, 

Wade Young: “I just can’t believe it, I’m so happy. I’m speechless, it’s just so good. I didn’t give up once all day. I knew I had to give it my everything and I was going to go until I was sick, I was breaking boundaries all day. Mani got 3 gaps on me during the race and I closed them down everytime, everytime he got ahead I would “motocross” my way back up to him. This means so much to me, I’m happy!”

Manuel Lettenbichler: “It was for sure one of the hardest races I have ever ridden so I am super pumped to get 2nd. Wade was really on it so, so good for him. My bike setting was good and I felt very comfortable during the race with my body and was trying to ride as smooth as I can. It’s nice that the 4 days are over and now it’s time for a beer!”

Jonny Walker: “Today was good. I pushed hard this morning when it was fast. Wade and Mani are really awesome so fair play to them. Mani was straight lining everything where I was zig zagging, big congratulations to them both. This morning was fast and the afternoon had these never ending hills, I kept thinking I was at the top but it would keep going up. Crazy end at Gusterita with all the new steps. Red Bull Romaniacs is the hardest rally in the WESS series with the four really long days so I’m happy to have got through it”

Dieter Rudolf  - Silver Class Winner: “It’s been such a good week for me, I am so pleased with the result. I didn’t expect to win the prologue, my aim there was to just get through it safely. I chose to set off third on the first off road day and despite it being so tough I managed to make a lot of time on the other guys. Day two went ok and then I won again on day three. I had a good result at this year’s Erzbergrodeo, so that gave me some confidence, but the two events are so different – Erzbergrodeo is just four hours and Red Bull Romaniacs goes on for days. It feels great to take the win and makes all the hard work seem worth it.”

Mark Kirby Mega hard week at Red Bull Romaniacs. Managed to get the finish so happy.not sure on overall result but bought it home 56 place today. Out of the 6 Romaniacs i have competed in this has Been the hardest one I’ve done. With a brutal track and the conditions being very very wet it Has been relentless. Day two was a challenge as I lost my back brake on the first downhill snapping the lever off couldn’t repair until the service point at 3.00 o’clock in the afternoon but I kept pushing on. Big thanks to all the Eurotek Ktm Crew for looking after me and the bike all week

Grant Churchward That’s all I came here for.This has been the hardest 5 days of my life in racing. 25th out of 163 I’ll take that 

Sam Ludgate That's Romaniacs off the bucket list  Even after missing a day I'm still classed as a finish. So started yesterday near the back of 150, then missed the start by 26mins and got a 20min penalty for missing a check, but still finished the day 21st and started there today and pulled up to 8th, very happy as only I know the pain I've been riding in. So pissed off lifting the mtb over a gate last week has basically ended my Romaniacs and the chance of a solid result. Cannot thank Eurotek and everyone involved, too many to mention, enough for there efforts this week, but there's always another year and I need another run at that hill Gutted but what a week it's been.

Gianino Coscarelli  - Bronze Class Winner: “It feels like a dream to have won my class at Red Bull Romaniacs. It’s one of the most famous races in the world because it is so difficult. So, to win it is incredible. It’s been a hard week but I kept fighting on throughout and now I’m here in the finishing arena as a Romaniacs winner. This is one of the best days of my Enduro life.”

The World Enduro Super Series continues with round five at Red Bull 111 Megawatt in Poland on September 8-9.

Results: World Enduro Super Series, Round 4

Red Bull Romaniacs, Off Road Day 4

Gold Class

1. Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM - GER) 4:58:48; 2. Wade Young (Sherco - RSA) 5:00:37; 3. Jonny Walker (KTM - GB) 5:06:17; 4. Alfredo Gomez (Husqvarna – ESP) 5:19:23; 5. Billy Bolt (Husqvarna – GB) 5:24:48; 6. David Cyprian (KTM – CZE) 5:56:18; 7. Paul Bolton (KTM – GB) 5:56:31; 8. Blake Gutzeit (Yamaha – RSA) 5:56:45; 9. Mario Roman (Sherco – ESP) 6:01:09; 10. Philipp Scholz (KTM – DEU) 6:17:53…

Silver Class

1. Michael Walkner (AUT) 4:44:27; 2. Josu Artola (ESP) 4:53:10; 3. Dieter Rudolf (AUT) 4:53:48; 4. Dave Wood (GBR) 5:16:54; 5. Stefan Simpson (GBR) 5:18:22…

Bronze Class

1. Fausto Mota (PRT) 4:13:11; 2. Jean-Michel Vigand (FRA) 4:24:50; 3. Gianino Coscarelli (BRA) 4:34:27; 4. Milos Novakovic (SVN) 4:35:48; 5. Gethin Francombe (GBR) 4:37:18…

Iron Class

1. Mindaugas Simkevicius (LTU) 4:18:00; 2. Markus Oberndorfer (AUT) 4:20:58; 3. Antanas Lucinskas (LTU) 4:28:04; 4. Timothy Lightfoot (AUS) 4:45:44; 5. Markus Beeler (CHE) 4:46:20…

Provisional Final Overall Classification

Gold Class

1. Wade Young (Sherco - RSA) 26:03:15; 2. Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM - GER) 26:05:30; 3. Jonny Walker (KTM - GB) 26:39:22; 4. Billy Bolt (Husqvarna - GB) 28:27:36; 5. Alfredo Gomez (Husqvarna - ESP) 28:55:17; 6. Paul Bolton (KTM – GB) 29:43:36; 7. David Cyprian (KTM – CZE) 31:12:43; 8. Blake Gutzeit (Yamaha – RSA) 31:44:26; 9. Marion Roman (Sherco – ESP) 32:07:30; 10. Philipp Scholz (KTM – DEU) 33:53:15…

Silver Class

1. Dieter Rudolf (AUT) 24:11:06; 2. Michael Walkner (AUT) 25:57:30; 3. Josu Artola (ESP) 26:09:14; 4. Emanuel Gyenes (ROU) 26:50:07; 5. Stefan Simpson (GBR) 27:17:11…

Bronze Class

1. Gianino Coscarelli (BRA) 22:44:27; 2. Milos Novakovic (SVN) 23:00:30; 3. Fausto Mota (PRT) 23:55:49; 4. Andreas Maier (AUT) 24:00:46; 5. Aivars Kukojs (LVA) 24:11:06…

Iron Class

1. Mindaugas Simkevicius (LTU) 22:45:24; 2. Antanas Lucinskas (LTU) 24:43:03; 3. Markus Oberndorfer (AUT) 24:46:52; 4. Markus Beeler (CHE) 226:30:27; 5. Maksim Gusevskii (RUS) 27:16:52…

Provisional World Enduro Super Series Standings (after 4 of 8 rounds)

1. Jonny Walker (GBR) 2900 points
2. Manuel Lettenbichler (GER) 2715 pts
3. Billy Bolt (GBR) 2520 pts
4. Wade Young (RSA) 2220 pts
5. Paul Bolton (GBR) 1832 pts
6. Graham Jarvis (GBR) 1818 pts
7. Josep Garcia (ESP) 1750 pts
8. Taddy Blazusiak (POL) 1445 pts
9. Travis Teasdale (RSA) 1410 pts
10. Lars Enockl (AUT) 1351 pts

Results: https://www.redbullromaniacs.com/results/

Photo credit: Future7Media

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