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Taddy Blazusiak wins the Prolog of Red Bull Romaniacs “Sweet 16” Edition

The Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider Taddy Blazusiak from Poland demonstrated his massive SuperEnduro skills and clinched a victory at the Prolog of Red Bull Romaniacs Sweet 16 Edition. He maintained a clear lead throughout all of the 8 laps. His teammate Jonny Walker (GBR) came in second followed by Spain’s Pol Tarrés on his Husqvarna. More than 15,000 spectators came to the city centre of Sibiu (Romania) to watch riders from 50 nations battle for the first podiums at “The World’s Toughest Hard Enduro Rally”.

Here we go again, Red Bull Romaniacs "Sweet 16" Edition has been kicked off with the inner city time trial qualifications - the legendary Prolog. Andy Fazekas and his team designed a track that relates to the "Sweet 16" tagline we've given the race this year since the 2019 Prolog ride appeared to be a lot smoother and fluent compared to last year. One lap was about 700m long and the riders had to master a total of 12 man-made obstacles made of stones, tree logs, truck tires and wood. As the first Hard Enduro race ever ‚Camera Glory Holes‘ had been created in two obstacles made of wood that allowed a smaller group of selected professional photographers to take photos from really special perspectives.

The Prolog Format

The Gold Class did two qualification runs (only one being mandatory) and the fastest run counted for the result and thus the starting order of the Prolog Finals race. The Silver and Bronze Class only had to do one qualification run which counted as the result and starting order for the Prolog Finals race. Within the Finals each race consists of as many laps competitors can complete in
Gold Class: 10 minutes plus 1 lap
Silver and Bronze Classes: 7 minutes plus 1 lap
For the riders of the Iron Class the qualification run was not mandatory but as a reward for a voluntary participation those riders will get an earlier Offroad Day 1 starting time.

In the qualifiers of the Gold class, Billy Bolt (UK, Husqvarna) set the fastest lap: 1 Minute 2 seconds 153 milliseconds. Pol Tarrés (ESP, Husqvarna) performed exceptionally well coming in second at 1m 5s 860ms and Wade Young third at 1m 6s 603ms. The time difference between Wade Young, Manuel Lettenbichler (GER, KTM) in 4th and Taddy Blazusiak (POL, KTM) was only 0.3 seconds!

The fastest 35 competitors from Gold, Silver & Bronze Classes qualified to compete in the Prolog Finals races. As always the results of the Prolog also determine the starting order for Offroad Day 1 - War Zone - tomorrow on July 31. But there is a different rule for those riders who finish the Prolog on the Podium: The rider who wins the Prolog can actually pick one of the first three starting positions. As a consequence Taddy Blazusiak picked the third and Jonny Walker the second starting place so that Pol Tarrés is left to open the Offroad Day 1 tomorrow on July 31, 2019.

Prolog Finals: Gold Class

As per the results of the Gold Class qualifiers the first row had Billy Bolt, Pol Tarrés, Wade Young, Taddy Blazusiak and Manuel Lettenbichler lined up. Taddy took the holeshot followed by Billy and Wade. After the first lap Taddy was also the first to run into the traffic caused by the 35 Gold Class riders who qualified for the final run.

After Taddy had won the Erzbergrodeo five times in a row he became specialised in SuperEnduro, where he was able to win the World Championship 6 times. This experience actually showed in the Sweet 16 Prolog Finals: His pace was both, consistently fast and controlled and neither the other contenders nor the traffic posed a serious threat to the extraordinary rider from Poland. While Wade Young tried to catch up, he made a mistake and got stuck on one of the stone obstacles losing valuable time. Jonny Walker, who is still not fully recovered from a serious wrist injury in 2018, managed to get through the traffic quite efficiently. So did Pol Tarrés who finished just two seconds behind Jonny.

Riders Quotes - Podium - Gold Class

1. Taddy Blazusiak (KTM - POL): “I had a great start - Billy Bolt was to the side of me and riding aggressive, but I thought to myself I'm not having any of it. I got my head down and charged a few laps, but then I made a little mistake. Luckily I had a good gap to the guys behind so was able to stay in front. From then on I rode defensive lines and just took it steady. It feels great to get the win, although it doesn't mean that much in terms of the whole event, however it’s still a good feeling to win here in front of the crowds.”

2. Jonny Walker (KTM - GB): “I had a bit of a nightmare in the qualifying - it went ok but it just wasn't fast enough for the front row, so that was a bit of a disadvantage at the start of the final. I'm happy with second - I could see Taddy but just couldn't gain on him. My momentum is building gradually as this season goes on, it's slow, but I'm feeling confident going into this one. We've made a few changes to the bike over the break and I'm positive we can turn things around here in Romania.”

3. Pol Tarrés (Husqvarna - ESP): “This morning I had a super good feeling with the track and the bike and I knew I would be able to push in the final. In the end it all went well. I had a good battle with Jonny throughout the race, but eventually he got second and I got third. But I'm super happy to be on the podium here at Red Bull Romaniacs - it’s one of the toughest races in the world. The result means I have to start first tomorrow, but my plan is to push as hard as I can and hopefully stay with Jonny and Taddy if they come past me.”

Top 10 Results - Gold Class

Taddy Blazusiak (POL, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing): 8 laps - 10 minutes 48 seconds 227 milliseconds
Jonny Walker (GBR, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing): 8 laps - 11m 0s 227ms
Pol Tarrés (ESP, TTR Officine Rigamonti Husqvarna): 8 laps - 11m 2s 477ms
Alfredo Gomez Cantero (ESP, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing): 8 laps - 11m 13s 973ms
Billy Bolt (GBR, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing): 8 laps - 11m 18s 227ms
Manuel Lettenbichler (DEU, Flatschingfast Factory Team): 8 laps - 11m 18s 977ms
Graham Jarvis (GBR Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing): 8 laps - 11m 22s 477ms
8. Wade Young (ZAF, Sherco Factory Racing Team): 8 laps - 11m 23s 727ms
Mario Roman (ESP, Sherco Factory Racing Team): 8 laps - 11m 55s 727ms
David Cyprian (CZ, JD Gunnex KTM): 7 laps - 10m 46s 973ms

Top 3 Results - Silver Class
1. Dustin McCarthy (USA, Chocolate Mountain Ranch): 5 laps - 9m 32s 387ms
2. Aleksi Vilkko (FIN, Snellman Motorsport Finland): 5 laps - 9m 36s 133ms
3. Stefan Simpson (GBR, KTM AG): 5 laps - 9m 40s 130ms

Top 3 Results - Bronze Class
1. Brent Brady (AUS, Somerville Motorcycles): 4 laps - 9m 48s 877ms
2. Marco Faria (BRA, Faria Máquinas/BMS Racing): 4 laps - 10m 16s 627ms
3. Robin Holtmeulen (NLD, Hocoparts Racing): 4 laps - 11m 13s 127ms

Offroad Day 1 - War Zone

 - Pol Tarrés will open the Gold Class track which will be 102 km long. It starts with the good and heavy double loop "Titanic" and "The Wall" where some strong riding technique is required. After the Service Point it'll continue with two harder loops where some pushing will most likely be required. After that the riders will enjoy some nice single trails as they approach the finish. With 102km it's a rather short but pretty intense day for the Gold Class.

Offroad Day 1 Signature Sections: Titanic, Impossible, Damn Dam
The results of the Offroad Day 1 determine the starting order of the Offroad Day 2.

Photographer Credit: Mihai Stetcu