All eyes turn to Sibiu for 15th‘Epic’ edition of the Red Bull Romaniacs Hard Enduro Rallye.
The “World’s Toughest Hard Enduro Rallye” is famous for its opening day’s prologue on the streets of the host town which kicks of today’s Red Bull Romaniacs. Attracting over 500 riders from 53 nations spread across Gold, Silver, Bronze and Iron classes, the popularity of legendary event hasn’t wavered in its 15 year history.
Adding spice to the already spicy Romanian dish for 2018 for this year’s event is its inclusion in the World Enduro Super Series. Former two-time winner and current WESS points leader Jonny Walker tops the entry in Romania after three rounds but six-times winner Graham Jarvis plus the huge depth of world class riders racing this year will all have five days riding to challenge Walker’s points lead.
Red Bull Romaniacs begins today, Tuesday July 24, with the city prologue on the main bus route through Sibiu ahead of four days spectacular riding in the Carpathian wilderness.
The prologue is a spectacular start to the race as competitors go head-to-head over 12 man-made obstacles in qualifier races that determine the starting order for the opening day of racing in the mountains. The best in class go through to heat races in front of traditionally huge crowds lining the course.
Photo Credit: Red Bull
Walker the rider to beat?
Thanks to his consistently strong performances this season, Jonny Walker holds a 265-point lead over nearest challenger Manuel Lettenbichler in the World Enduro Super Series. The two-times winner has experience on his side in Romania but is certainly showing his strong skill set across the many disciplines of the WESS championship in leading at this halfway point.
Photo Credit: Robert Lynn/Future7Media
No easy task
Graham Jarvis is the most successful ever competitor in the 15 year history of Romaniacs with six victories to his name. If that wasn’t enough, his victory in last year’s race was by an incredible 32 minutes. Take a minute to think about that. The stakes are higher than ever with the inclusion of WESS for 2018 but Jarvis will only have thoughts of claiming a seventh victory on his mind.
Stepping up to the plate in this inaugural WESS year, Manuel Lettenbichler sits second in the points following his top-15 result at round three in France. Most at home in Hard Enduro, the 20-year-old privateer’s podium results at Extreme XL Lagares and Erzbergrodeo Hare Scramble will have boosted Letti’s confidence heading into round four.
Billy Bolt sits just 35 points behind Manuel in the WESS rankings after his round one victory in Portugal. The young British rider has proven he’s got the pace to challenge for the win and with three years’ experience at Romaniacs, 2018 is time to shine for the bright, young rider.
Photo Credit: Robert Lynn/Future7Media
Impressive entry list
The 2018 Romaniacs entry list is littered with world class talent including legend Taddy Blazusiak. Having only previously competed in 2010, the unique GPS navigational format will be new to Blazusiak as he tackles the remote Romanian terrain.
Reigning Enduro 2 World Champion Josep Garcia will make his Romaniacs debut this year. The Spaniard, along with team-mate Nathan Watson, will have some tough times ahead as they encounter the notoriously tough Gold Class routes laid on by Romaniacs organisers. In the past it has been the downs as much as the uphills that have proved the most spectacular riding and certainly outside their usual enduro comfort zone.
Paul Bolton begins Red Bull Romaniacs aiming to repeat his podium result of 2017. A favourite among the fans, the privateer will be eager to display his strengths in the Carpathian Mountains when the going gets tough.
That’s not to miss out the Sherco pairing of Mario Roman and Wade Young. Both are podium finishers in Romania, Roman was runner-up to Jarvis in 2017, Young has podiums to his name. Both have a strong feel for the tough terrain, good trials skills needed and proven form at this unique event which has high demands mentally and physically across four long days in the mountains.
Photo Credit: Hila Tibaru/Red Bull
Other riders to watch for include Beta Factory Racing’s Travis Teasdale, Lars Enockl, Australia's Tim Coleman, Blake Gutzeit, Rannar Uusna, Pol Tarres and more. 2017 Prologue winner Alfredo Gomez also makes his official WESS debut having sat out the opening three rounds due to injury.
The Red Bull Romaniacs runs from July 24 to 28. Check back on Enduro21 for live results, videos and news from the event…