Coming within a few hundred metres of the Alestrem victory, Mario Roman almost gave Sherco Racing a major Hard Enduro win in his first time of asking. Within virtual touching of the winner’s trophy, it was a potential win that took all the efforts of Hard Enduro’s King Graham Jarvis to deny.
Ending 2016 without contract for the coming year, a late coming together with Sherco as they expanded their extreme effort for 2017, has seen Mario come out swinging outdoors for 2017. We caught up with the Spaniard at the end of an exhausting seven hours of non-stop racing in France to find out how life is going racing a different shade of blue…
How is life going with Sherco Mario?
Mario Roman: “Honestly, it’s all feeling great so far. They are a really tight-knit bunch of people but passionate about what they’re doing. I’m pushing hard to do my best and they are backing me all the way. We’ve been testing both superenduro and extreme enduro and it’s going good. I think that’s why I really wanted a good result here in Alestrem. It’s good for my mind, the team and what we’re doing.”
You almost had that Alestrem win, coming within a couple of hundred metres of victory, where you disappointed to miss it?
“A little, but look, I gave it my best shot. It came down to the wire between Graham and myself. I had managed to catch Graham about 10 minutes before the finish. I wasn’t riding great on the first two laps — maybe too tense — but I found my flow on the final lap and passed both Wade and Jonny to get up to Graham. When we got to the river bed it was black dark and the section was different from what we walked. I rode the wrong line and got stuck. Graham saw my mistake and didn’t get stuck — it was that close for the win really.”
Were you surprised by how tough Alestrem was?
“I’m surprised at just how tough this race was. Ok, the first lap was not so bad but we rode non-stop for almost seven hours, with most of the final lap in the dark. That took a lot of concentration. It was a hard race, that’s for sure, about 160 kilometres. We were all destroyed at the finish.”
With three two-rider factory teams now in the paddock, do you think it’s going to be a good year in Hard Enduro?
“Yeah, definitely man. We’ve got three factory teams fully committing to the sport now with two riders on each team. That’s really good to see. I think this year is going to be very competitive. In Alestrem the level of the top six guys was very high. You know, anyone could have won this race, it was that close. It’s going to be important to remain consistent and strong in the mind. If you want to win, you’re going to have to dig deep this year to get it.”
After an ok start to the SuperEnduro championship in Poland, you finished fourth overall in Germany. What made the difference between both rounds?
“It was a combination of things but more time on the bike was the biggest factor. The last time I rode a four-stroke was in March at the final round of the 2016 series. Then two weeks before Poland I got back on a four-stroke but also a different bike in Sherco, so I wasn’t so strong there. I trained a lot during Christmas and things were much better in Germany. I’m hoping for more good results in Spain and France.”
And the two-stroke, how you finding that?
“It’s a lovely bike. I’m feeling much more at home on that. It was good to get some serious race miles on it at Alestrem and now with Hell’s Gate coming up that’s going to be another important race to build and learn on everything.”