Red Bull Romaniacs 2019 took yet another twist on the penultimate day with Manuel Lettenbichler taking control of WESS round five and setting up a final day showdown.
Another long day today at Reed Bull Romaniacs 2019 saw riders burst off the start just after 7am with 142km in front of them.
In the fierce fight for the victory, Manuel Lettenbichler got out the blocks like Usain Bolt and quickly started setting himself up for the ride of the day. Lettenbichler clawed chunks of time early on to close the gap and pass Graham Jarvis before catching Alfredo Gomez to shrink the overall lead.
As day two winner, Gomez had the task of opening the tracks today and handed his rivals a least some tracks to follow. As Lettenbichler caught up, so Gomez’s overnight lead of over five minutes evaporated – and that despite him going “full motocross style” at times.
For the majority of the day, the riders chopped and changed positions with Gomez often leading on the trail ahead of Taddy Blazusiak, Graham Jarvis and Lettenbichler. When Gomez struggled with a late in the day hillclimb, Lettenbichler took no mercy in sailing home for the win.
“My day started really well,” said Manni afterwards. “I passed Graham at the beginning and then caught Alfredo and the two of us rode together for most of the day.”
“There was some pretty difficult stuff today, but I didn’t struggle with the uphills as much as the last two days so I’m pretty happy.
“Towards the end of the day Alfredo really opened it up on one of the faster sections – full motocross style. I thought to myself there’s no way I can push like that so I let him go. “Luckily, I caught him again right before the last uphill and managed to get past him, so that was a really good feeling. I’m the overall leader now so hopefully I can keep that momentum until the finish tomorrow.”
Gomez crossed the finish line in second, but on corrected time it was Taddy Blazusiak who edged out Jarvis for runner-up spot. “The day went good today,” said Taddy at the finish. “Billy and I set off really hard and soon caught up to Graham. I passed Jonny and Mario along the way and pretty much kept my position till the finish. I lost a little bit of time toward the end, but I’m stoked with second. It’s a shame I lost so much time on the first day, but we’ll take a look at the overall now and if we’re in with a chance I’ll push hard again tomorrow. The level of riding is so close this year so when you lose a little time it’s so hard to get it back. Either way I’ll be trying my best tomorrow on the final day.”
Billy Bolt ended his day in fifth but had spent much of the day battling up front. By his own acknowledgment that meant his best ever day at Romaniacs and represented progress at this notorious event.
Final day set for showdown
Mario Roman had a slightly tougher day in sixth but remains the best of the rest overall. Barring a major drama on the final day, “the rest” have now lost touch with the podium contenders Jarvis, Gomez and Lettenbichler.
One rider you might expect to be there is Jonny Walker who doesn’t look his usual self this week in Romania. By contrast David Cyprian, behind Walker in eighth, continues to ride his socks off ahead of Pol Tarres who finished ninth today and Josep Garcia, putting his recently expanded uphill skills to practice, rounding the top 10.
With Manuel Lettenbichler becoming the third race leader in as many days, the German holds a 1m9s advantage entering the final day. Gomez sits solid behind him in second with everything to play for still. Jarvis is a further three minutes adrift but still very much in with a shout.
Massive Silver class lead for Artola
Josu Artola continues to head the Silver class after his third day victory of the week. Artola has proved the rider to beat and sits a whopping 46 minutes clear of Sam Winterburn who once again placed second on the day. With a fourth-place result today, Josef Westgarth completes the overall top three.
In Bronze class Eric Slominski won over Marcin Welglarz with Radu Sardarescu third. With another top-three ride, Welgalrz holds a three-minute overall lead ahead of France’s Jean Michel Vigand.
Schmolzl close to creating history
The Iron class meanwhile is on the verge of seeing history being made. While Tom Simpson won the day, another consistent and solid ride from Anna Schmolzl means she extends her lead in the race to 16 minutes clear of her nearest competitor Eduardo Martinez of Mexico.
“It’s been such a good week for me so far and I had a great day today.” Said Schmolzl. “It was the hardest day for me today because it’s quite slippery after the rain and there was a lot of debris on the tracks.
“I haven’t won a day yet but I’m leading the overall and hopefully I can bring it to the finish tomorrow. It would mean so much to me to win the Iron class, especially as this will be the last race for me before I have to have surgery on my knee in three weeks’ time. After that I will be off the bike for maybe half a year.”
Whatever happens she’ll have earned a rest and, if Schmolzl can go on to win, she will become the first female rider in the history of Red Bull Romaniacs to do so.
Overall Classification (after day three):
Gold Class top 10 overall:
- Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM - GER) 16:21:55
- Alfredo Gomez (Husqvarna - ESP) 16:23:04
- Graham Jarvis (Husqvarna - GB) 16:26:01
- Mario Roman (Sherco - ESP) 16:41:31
- Taddy Blazusiak (KTM - POL) 16:51:57
- Jonny Walker (KTM - GB) 17:07:12
- Billy Bolt (Husqvarna - GB) 17:42:34
- David Cyprian (KTM - CZ) 17:51:09
- Pol Tarres (Husqvarna - ESP) 18:37:52
- Josep Garcia (KTM - ESP) 19:23:07
- Josu Artola (ESP) 15:15:20
- Sam Winterburn (GB) 16:02:01
- Josef Westgarth (GB) 16:08:02
- Dustin McCarthy (USA) 16:26:29
- Alberto Aramburu (ESP) 16:29:25
- Marcin Weglarz (POL) 14:28:07
- Jean Michel Vigand (FRA) 14:31:04
- Eric Slominski (USA) 14:37:59
- Brent Brady (AUS) 14:47:23
- Radu Sardarescu (ROU) 14:56:47
- Anna Schmolzl (GER) 13:03:11
- Eduardo Martinez (MEX) 13:19:49
- Agostino Crema (ITA) 13:31:40
- Danny Melvin (USA) 13:33:20
- Oz Nehoray (ISR) 13:37:53
Check our ‘Results Feed’ post for today’s top times by class.Photo Credit: Future7Media Jon PearsonEnduro21 Editor and Bike Testerjon.firstname.lastname@example.org