Victories at Ales Trem and Hell’s Gate hard enduro races have positioned Mario Roman as the rider to beat in 2018. We caught up with the man of the moment at Hell’s Gate to find out what’s making his 2018 clock tick so well…
2018 started strong with a win in Ales Trem and now Hell's Gate – it must be good to begin the year in this way?
Mario Roman: "Yeah, I’m happy, 2017 was a pretty good year for me as I had some pretty good results like Romaniacs, while others were not so good also like Erzberg. But the year overall was good and that helped me start this year with a lot of confidence and a lot of pace."
Has not doing SuperEnduro and sticking to the outdoor races helped?
"We decided together with the team to not do the SuperEnduro this year because it was too much work and I am doing a lot of schools around the world. It was so busy in 2017 that we decide to do only the Extreme races in 2018. We arrived strong in 2018 and already to have taken two wins is really good start."
Hell’s Gate has been good to you - you have a good record here.
"Yes, I have a lot of good memories from 2015 when the race was hard but then the extreme natural sections, which used to be the hard part, were gone. So it became a cross-country race with some logs and really fast. This year it was more like it was three years ago and hard again. Have fun on the bike that is the key."
Are there some races which suit you better than others? Which ones do you prefer?
"Every rider has his favourite races and for me I think for me it is a lot easier when the races are longer and harder. When they are longer I feel I am one of the strongest guys in the world. So my favourite would be Romaniacs because you have to be a good rider, take care of the bike and ride smooth and break nothing. I think it’s one of the best races for me and my style so it is my favourite.
"Then there are other races like Erzberg which are only two or three hours but you have to push really hard from the start, the start is important and everything is important and they are more difficult for me I think."
In the winter period did you train different or change things in any way to bring something new to your riding in 2018?
"Not really. I think the key from the performance I have this year compared to last year is I did so many races – I think maybe only Graham did as much as me last year – I did so many around the world, a lot in South America. So I think with this at least 20 races I did last season it was very helpful.
"One day in the race is like two and three weeks in training so all the races I did last season helped me a lot to arrive this season giving this performance."
Photo Credit: Andrea Belluschi
Which races will you concentrate on in 2018?
"I think like everyone the most important races are Lagares, Erzberg and Romaniacs in my season. So I will focus 100 per cent to be ready and strong in May and June."
Is your plan to do the World Enduro Super Series or just continue with only the hard enduro events?
"No, it’s not the plan to do the overall WESS championship. We will do some races but not all. We didn't take the decision to race the sand or enduro events so at the moment we will only be there for the ones which are part of the series like Lagares, Erzberg and Megawatt."
Sherco is a good family team, do you enjoy that atmosphere and riding for them?
"Yeah, it’s good and pretty different from KTM and Husky where I have been for a few years. It’s good because everything feels like you are at home. For sure the factory is smaller but that means you know the engineer as a person, the guy who prepare the clutch, the guy who makes the piston... So it is very easy to work like this and I’m very happy."
Jon PearsonEnduro21 Tester of Thingsjon.firstname.lastname@example.org