Manuel Lettenbichler set the pace on a truly epic Off Road Day 1 of Red Bull Romaniacs to claim the Gold class win from Wade Young and Jonny Walker.

 

After Tuesday’s Prologue in Sibiu, riders headed out into the surrounding Carpathian Mountains of Romania for almost 160 kilometres and the first of four demanding days racing. 

Don’t ask how long some riders were taking to get home but when the day winner, Lettenbichler, takes almost nine hours you know day one of the 2018 Red Bull Romaniacs has been a tough one. 

Competitors began leaving the start line at 6.30am on Off Road Day 1. With a point-to-point course laid out, the route took them across the mountains to the finish line at the Straja ski resort. Heavy overnight rain and periods of rain throughout the day ensured the already difficult trails offered an early wake up call for competitors across all classes.

 

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Photo Credit: Robert Lynn/Future7Media

 

Taddy Blazusiak lead the field out, followed closely by Wade Young and Prologue winner Billy Bolt. An early crash from Blazusiak allowed Young to hit the front – a position he would hold throughout the day, eventually crossing the finish line after almost nine hours of racing.

As the fourth Gold class rider to start, Lettenbichler pushed hard and quickly worked his way past Bolt and Blazusiak, riding on to the wheel tracks of Young. Shadowing him for a large portion of the day, he dropped back nearing the finish line, but still had enough in hand to take the win on corrected time.

“That was a pretty good day.” Said Lettenbichler at the finish. “At the beginning I managed to pass Taddy and Jonny and then around checkpoint eight I caught up with Wade. I tried to stick with him but at the end he was just too fast, so I rode my own pace and got to the finish in one piece. I think my time was good for the overall, which is awesome. It’s really, really wet out there and the last part of the day was so muddy. The clay was so slippery — it was hard to get any grip at all. Now I need to focus on tomorrow and hopefully ride another good day.”

 

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Photo Credit: Andrea Belluschi/Future7Media

 

For Wade Young having Letti chasing him down all day spurred him onto finish first on the road and take the provisional overall lead: “Manni was chasing me down all day but he never got past me. If I made a mistake I could always hear him behind me – he kept me honest all day and kept me pushing. We knew this morning after all the rain it was going to be difficult. It means you end up using so much more energy trying to keep things under control and in a straight line. Going into the first hill was probably the toughest part of the day for me, I hadn’t quite got used to the forest and it was so slippery – I pretty much had to push the whole way up.”

 

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Photo Credit: Robert Lynn/Future7Media

 

Jonny Walker finished in third after a day of costly little mistakes that prevented him from challenging Lettenbichler and Young. Riding well, despite the slippery mud, he ended his day third: “That wasn’t my best day — the afternoon didn’t go too well.” Said Jonny at the finish. “I made a few mistakes and lost some time. However, it’s only day one and I feel good. I did have a few problems as it was really tricky riding in the low cloud and fog. But aside from those issues I’m happy with how things have gone and I’m looking forward to tomorrow. I know there’s room to improve.”

 

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Photo Credit: Andrea Belluschi/Future7Media

 

Reigning Romaniacs champ and number one plate holder, Graham Jarvis had a tough opening day in the mountains. Admitting to running out of energy the 2017 winner salvaged fourth overall. “It was a pretty tough day, I basically ran out of energy so I am just happy to get it to the end.” Said Graham.

“The rain made all the hills really difficult – there were no easy ones out there so that’s what has sapped all my energy and it’s been a really long day. This afternoon I started to get tired and lost time on the guys in front. All I can do is come back tomorrow and keep pushing – keep battling away and see where we end up.”

 

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Photo Credit: Robert Lynn/Future7Media

 

Results: Red Bull Romaniacs, Off Road Day 1

Gold Class

Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM - GER) 8:15:21s 

Wade Young (Sherco - RSA) 8:16:24 

Jonny Walker (KTM - GB) 8:25:33; 

Graham Jarvis (Husqvarna - GB) 8:30:23 

Taddy Blazusiak (KTM - POL) 9:00:40 

Paul Bolton (KTM - GB) 9:01:51 

Billy Bolt (Husqvarna - GB) 9:04:36 

Alfredo Gomez (Husqvarna - ESP) 9:04:41 

Travis Teasdale (Beta - ZAF) 9:18:38 

Mario Roman (Sherco - ESP) 9:21:03

Silver Class

Dieter Rudolf (AUT) 8:08:02 

Josu Artola (ESP) 9:15:43 

Emanuel Gyenes (ROU) 9:16:55

Adam Giles (AUS) 9:34:48

Michael Walkner (AUT) 9:46:26

Bronze Class

Gianino Coscarelli (BRA) 8:37:54 

Milos Novakovic (SVN) 8:43:36 

Bieri Marc (CHE) 8:48:36 

Andreas Maier (AUT) 9:19:12 

Aivars Kukojs (LVA) 9:32:58

Iron Class

Dani Coufal (ESP) 11:29:49 

Mindaugas Simkevicius (LTU) 11:30:38

Antanas Lucinskas (LTU) 13:04:56 

Markus Oberndorfer (AUT) 13:17:21 

Markus Beeler (CHE) 13:56:28

Provisional Classification (After Day 1)

Gold Class

Wade Young (Sherco - RSA) 8:17:24 

Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM - GER) 8:18:21s 

Jonny Walker (KTM - GB) 8:29:33 

Graham Jarvis (Husqvarna - GB) 8:35:23 

Taddy Blazusiak (KTM - POL) 9:02:40 

Billy Bolt (Husqvarna - GB) 9:04:36 

Paul Bolton (KTM - GB) 9:07:21 

Alfredo Gomez (Husqvarna - ESP) 9:10:41 

Travis Teasdale (Beta - ZAF) 9:25:23 

Mario Roman (Sherco - ESP) 9:28:03

Silver Class

Dieter Rudolf (AUT) 8:08:02 

Emanuel Gyenes (ROU) 9:19:55 

Josu Artola (ESP) 9:23:58 

Adam Giles (AUS) 9:42:33 

Stefan Simpson (GBR) 9:53:49

Bronze Class

Gianino Coscarelli (BRA) 8:37:54 

Milos Novakovic (SVN) 8:47:36 

Bieri Marc (CHE) 8:51:36 

Andreas Maier (AUT) 9:28:12 

Aivars Kukojs (LVA) 9:38:58

Iron Class

Dani Coufal (ESP) 11:29:49 

Mindaugas Simkevicius (LTU) 11:30:38 

Antanas Lucinskas (LTU) 13:04:56 

Markus Oberndorfer (AUT) 13:17:21 

Markus Beeler (CHE) 13:56:28

 

 

Off Road Day 2 will see competitors remain in the region of Straja with another 160-kilometre mountain loop starting and finishing at the ski resort.

 

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