Shootout: Walker and Jarvis fight for every second over full race distance
Young continues to aim for podium while Bolton and Letti wait for their chance
Sibiu, Romania, July 18th, 2014 – With only light rain at night, a wet and slippery morning and a track that was quickly drying up by the upcoming sun and some light wind, the fourth of the five Red Bull Romaniacs days took off in perfect conditions. Fortunately for the Silver-Class riders, who were saved by the forgiving weather: they found themselves working out like champions dragging their bikes up a muddy hill just one hour after the start. The same fate awaited the riders of the Iron-Class who were in for a few Enduro lessons in the morning.
The Gold-class were facing relatively manageable sections until the Service Point. Later, they were about to find out why Offroad Day Three is track director Klaus Sorensen`s favorite: in a high-mountain loop, they rode through a great variety of terrain and had to master sections like the “Trial Uphill”, “Heavy Shit”, “Frontflip”, “Armpump River” and “Switchback Heaven”. These sections, each of them close to impossible to ride for the average Enduro-rider, were reduced to a mere background for the duel that was about to unfold.
After his triumph over Walker the day before, Graham Jarvis was the first Gold-Class rider to hit the race-track at the early morning Offroad Start (6.30am) near Voineasa. Walker, still the overall leader in total race time, followed him after 5 minutes with a license to kill and determined to make the day count in his attempt to kick Jarvis off the Red Bull Romaniacs throne. Young, Letti and Bolton followed them – highly motivated – also leaving in intervals. When Jarvis made a navigation mistake, Walker caught up with him, closed the five minute gap that was separating them after the start in the morning and extended his overall lead of the race. The top riders arrived at the mandatory 20 minutes service break in the following order: Walker, Jarvis, Young, Bolton, Letti, Birch, Enöckl. For the rest of the day, Walker kept his time advantage over Jarvis by staying close to him and by not giving him a chance to break free. When one of them took a wrong turn or chose a less perfect line, the other one passed – and they kept changing positions all day every 2-3km! This chase went on along the complete race-track, with only seconds keeping them apart in the sections.
Walker: “Jarvis pushed the sport to where it is today, just by being such an outstanding rider. Of course I will try to beat him – I have put in a lot of effort to prepare and have the focus. But at the Red Bull Romaniacs, so much can happen and and he is not without reason a four times winner! We will only know once we passed the finish line!”
Jarvis: “Jonny is riding a perfect race, it is very hard to beat him. I will need a miracle now to turn it around.”
Wade Young continued with his impressive performance from the previous days and managed to come in third again. As the days before, he kept flying through the sections – and the only thing that run out of energy, was his bike. He lost a few precious minutes when he ran low on fuel just before the tank point and got passed by Paul Bolton. When he passed Bolton again, he left him puzzled by the ease and speed that he was traveling in. Paul: “I started 5th, had a good day but made a few navigation errors that cost me at least 5 minutes. Later I caught up with Letti, who started as 4th. I just kept trucking, trying to wear Letti out. For a change, no crashes today, I only lost my front fender, when a log came up in a steep downhill and took it off. Later I managed to pass Wade, who had almost run out of gas just before the tankpoint. When he passed me again, I thought I was parking…” Bolton finished 4th, after Young.
Letti: “it was a very tough day, I started 4th and spent a long time riding together with Paul. At some point half way through the day I started to make a few silly mistakes and Paul was off, going after Wade.”
The race finished in perfect sunshine and within the planned timing on top of the coal mine factory in Petrosani, where the riders passed the Red Bull finish-arch on top of the roof.