Another perfect day for Graham Jarvis but some drama for Xavi Galindo.
Sibiu, Romania, June 16th, 2012 – At 5.55 in the morning, deep down in a steep valley, the Red Bull Romaniacs Offroad Day Three took off. It was a cold morning, most riders were still stiff and in pain from the previous day and the warming sun seemed to be light-years away. While everyone was thinking about how to get warm and find their flow as quickly as possible, head-trackmanager Klaus Sorensen and Red Bull Romaniacs mastermind Martin “Freijn” Freinademetz rolled out their vicious plan to show the world`s elite of Hard Enduro riders their limits. Today they threw a total of 19.000 altitude-meters at them, of which 1.000m were already covered in a single, never ending hill-climb: “Please no rain”. The beautiful Romanian countryside, the perfect weather fun sections like the full-throttle “A8” made up for the pain and helped the riders to partially recover.
Except for one, the plan to bring everyone to their limits had worked out and most riders returned quite destroyed back at the paddock. Not so Graham Jarvis. He rode a lonely race today – defending his undisputed claim to be the king of the Carpathians for the third day. Andreas Lettenbichler kept chasing after him in the morning but after getting clutch problems and losing precious 20 minutes in “Please no rain”, he had to let Jarvis go. Jarvis arrived at the finish 15 minutes before the minimum estimated riding time and surprised all Red Bull Romaniacs staff at the checkpoints, service points and finish with his unexpected early arriving – interrupting their well earned breaks. Klaus Sorensen: “Jarvis is a rider from a different planet. Everyone else arrived as planned ca. 15 minutes after the minimum estimated riding time, Jarvis 15 minutes before…!” Graham Jarvis: “It was pretty lonely for me out there today, the only two riders I saw, were two guys from the Hobby-class. But it was a fun ride, even in the “Please no rain” section. The “A8” was a blast!”. Martin “Freijn” Freinademetz confirmed again that the perfect conditions play in favor of undercutting the minimum riding times, but that the track had to be designed with the option of rain in mind. In this case, 50% of the field would have dropped out by now.
Husaberg rider Xavi Galindo had a good start to the day and was already catching up with Lettenbichler when a massive steel cable got caught up in his rear wheel blocking it. It took him about 10 minutes to fix the problem and while he was working on it his competitors for 3rd place overall Jonny Walker and Chris Birch overtook him. He pushed hard after this mishap to make up some time but could only manage a 5th place finish.
Pics: o. Matiu, D. Vakulka, T. Hila, M. Stetcu
KTM’s Jonny Walker third home on Romaniacs Day Three
The 21-year old Briton who has emerged as a future star in the Hard Enduro scene came off his first ever victory in the notorious Red Bull Hare Scramble in Erzberg just last weekend. He admitted that he had been feeling the pressure on Day two of the race set in the picturesque mountain landscape of Transylvania, particularly having Spanish rider Xavi Galindo hunt him down for the second half of the race. Galindo eventually finished fourth.
The physical side of this endurance race obviously caught up with Walker who overslept in the morning and almost missed the start. He even had to program his GPS after take-off. It is Jonny’s first experience with GPS in such an event and he was pleased to report he is getting used to it. “Fast and flowing tracks today, I really enjoyed it! I’m getting good with the navigation, only got lost once today! I’m here for the experience this year and want to come back next year to kick some butt. I would be stoked if I can make to the podium of this unbelievable race! I’ll ask my mechanic to wake me up in time tomorrow!”
While Jonny moved up the order, race veteran Chris Birch of New Zealand was not so lucky. A regular winner here in the Romaniacs, Chris is carrying a niggling foot injury from his first outing in the Dakar Rally and also hurt his other foot on Day One. This meant he was uncomfortable standing on the foot pegs today, which put him at a significant disadvantage but he soldiered on for seventh place.
Day two proved to be such a challenge that many ended up off their bikes including such experienced riders as Jarvis, who also crashed several times. This did not deter the Husaberg rider from putting an impressive distance between him and the rest of the feld.
Uncharacteristically the race is being held in hot weather. Usually the Romaniacs is a much muddier affair and riders are used to battling weather as well as course but organizer Martin Freinademetz confirmed that riding conditions are better than ever this year. “We had plenty of rain until the last day before the prologue. That gives us very good grip and no dust,” he said. “This will allow most riders to complete the 2012 Red Bull Romaniacs over the 600 km of marked track.” He added that if it had rained the field would have already been reduced by 20-30%.
Unofficial Results Day Two
1, Graham Jarvis, Britain, Husaberg
2, Andreas Lettenbichler, Germany, Husqvarna
3, Jonny Walker, Britain, KTM
4, Xavier Galindo, Spain, Husberg
5, Melcior Faja, Spain, KTM
6, Ervin Kovacs, Romania, KTM
7, Chris Birch, New Zealand KTM
8, Altus de Wet, South Africa, KTM
Another victory for Graham Jarvis.
Sibiu, Romania, June 15th, 2012 – As promised by organizers and track managers, Offroad Day 2 gave the field of riders first glimpses of the pain ahead of them. The pressure, carefully moderated for each class, is now progressively increasing and will, as Graham Jarvis puts it, “Separate the boys from the men”. When hitting the main difficulty of the day, the “Appetizer”, the PRO class had a tough awakening early in the day. Technical riders like Graham Jarvis and Andreas Lettenbichler were able to have some fun dancing through the relatively dry “Appetizer” and put a solid cushion between themselves and the riders following them.
For others, the riverbed became a nightmare – some stated the “most difficult section I ever had under my tires”. Even for Chris Birch, the “Appetizer” developed to a serious challenge, due to some foot-injuries that prevented him from properly standing on the bike. Chris finished as 7th.
Fortunately for Xavi Galindo, he had a better flow than yesterday and finished the day as fourth after chasing Jonny Walker for quite some time. Galindo: “Gotta love Romania! I had a perfect day!“ When Walker arrived at the finish as third, he admitted that he certainly felt Galindo breathing down his neck and that he had to adjust to the pressure. The Red Bull Romaniacs rookie did have anything but a “Walk in the park” today, after he almost overslept in the morning, arriving barely in time at the start and being forced to program his GPS after take-off.
The Offroad Day 2 track challenged many of the riders with a relatively fast pace that frequently demanded it`s tolls by sending them off the bike.
Jarvis: “I had a few falls today and every time it took me some time to recover. But this is part of the game and I am glad that I reached the finish in good shape. I am surprised by the weather, this is quite unusual for the Red Bull Romaniacs! I`d prefer a bit more rain….”
Martin “Freijn” Freinademetz confirmed, that the weather certainly plays in favor of the “nice-weather” riders and that the riding conditions are as perfect as never before: “We had plenty of rain until the week before the prologue. That gives us very good grip and no dust. It will allow most riders to complete the 2012 Red Bull Romaniacs as finishers and to have an amazing time out there on the perfectly marked 600km of tracks! Would the race have taken place one week earlier – in the rain – we would have already had 20-30% drop-outs by now.”
Today the whole organization, riders, media and paddock will relocate from the race HQ in Sibiu center to a hotel-complex in Voineasa, deep in the Carpathian mountains. The move provides access to new, unexplored tracks to the rally but will also confront riders and teams with a “no-frills” hotel from the communist past of the region. The overnight bivouac is a traditional element of the Red Bull Romaniacs and brings 7-Star racing together with 2-Star comfort!
Husaberg Pics: C. Vasilescu