Sherco Factory Racing’s Mario Roman talks winning round one of the World Enduro Super Series at Portugal’s Toyota Porto Extreme XL Lagares.
Mario Roman can count victories at Extreme and Hard Enduro events around the globe in his trophy cabinet already. But at the world’s biggest events, with the world’s best hard enduro riders all lined-up at this rich time in the sport’s history, that one, big race win has always eluded the Sherco Factory Racing rider. Until last weekend when Mario took victory at Extreme XL Lagares, the opening round of the 2019 World Enduro Super Series.
Sitting sixth on lap one and over six minutes behind Lagares pacesetter Manuel Lettenbichler, it looked like Roman wasn’t in contention but the Spaniard piled on the pace and began ticking riders like Jonny Walker, Billy Bolt, Graham Jarvis and his team-mate Wade Young riders off as he worked his way up the leaderboard.
Finally catching and passing runaway leader, Lettenbichler with less than half of a lap to go, Roman took a memorable victory.
In what he considers as one of the best performances of his career, Mario explains how he never gave up waiting for this day to come and how it’s arrived at just the right time…
Mario Roman on…
…The biggest win of his career
“I’ve won Hard Enduro races in the past but I feel like this is easily the biggest victory of my career to date because there are so many top riders here.
“I don’t think anyone expected me to do it, but I was believing in myself that I could win. I feel like this country (Portugal) and this long technical race is good for my style of riding.
“I hope this shows that I’m still a top rider and that I can be a threat for victory in other races to come.”
…Always keeping the faith
“Despite so many problems in my career I’ve never given up on myself. Through the injures I’ve always been fighting. I don’t believe in luck but sometimes you do need a little to have everything come together.
“It’s not always down to the rider. You can have a mechanical or catch a slower rider in the wrong place and then lose energy and flow by overcoming that. I always knew I was good enough and after four years of trying at Extreme XL Lagares I finally did it.”
Mario Roman – “Once I saw his helmet I knew it was my race to win.”
…Just focus on yourself and what you can give
“I think the key to success was not thinking about other riders and what they were doing. I only focused on myself and the effort I could give.
“On lap one, even though I wasn’t at the front, that was the speed I could ride at. Then when things came good, my speed improved. If I had to panic early on because Mani had a six-minute lead then I may not have won. Instead I would have made mistakes.
“The best thing I could do was to keep pushing myself, keep my riding clean and not stress. With about half a lap to go I was told Mani was two minutes in front, so I pushed at 100 per cent. Once I saw his helmet I knew it was my race to win.”
…Timing things right for the Erzbergrodeo Red Bull Hare Scramble
“This win is a huge confidence boost to me and it’s coming at just the right time for the Erzbergrodeo. I’ve been there five times, but only once finished fourth.
“It’s a shorter race - more of a sprint than a four-hour battle like Lagares, so it’s a different style of Hard Enduro. But I’m going there off the best race I’ve ever ridden, so if I feel good on the day and everything works well then hopefully good things can happen.”
…Aiming to win on home turf at Hixpania Hard Enduro
“I’m excited for the Hixpania Hard Enduro next month. I think it’s going to be an amazing race. It’s my home race and I go there as the 2018 winner. The level wasn’t as high last year as what it will be this year, but experience will count a lot.
“It’s three days but each one is as important as the next one. You want to be at the front every day to ensure a good position and trouble-free ride. That’s the secret to doing well there.
“I’ve shown myself today that I can win, so that’s something I want to carry into my home race.”
Check out the main race highlights from Extreme XL Lagares 2019 here.
The Sherco Factory Racing two rider extreme team of Roman and Wade Young focus on hard enduro races so their next event will be the Erzbergrodeo, May 30-June 2.
The World Enduro Super Series continues with round two at France’s Trèfle Lozérien AMV on May 17-19.
More information on the World Enduro Super Series: iRideWESS.com
Photo Credit: Future7Media Jon PearsonEnduro21 Editor and Bike Testerjon.firstname.lastname@example.org