Red Bull Romaniacs
A challenging Prologue, soaked by a thunderstorm just before the start and for the first time ever transmitted worldwide with a Live--HD--Video cast, dominated by Graham Jarvis Sibiu, Romania, July 16th, 2011 –
Graham Jarvis, Chris Birch and Paul Bolton nailed the finals in the short and very competitive races in pouring rain. After several days of scorching heat and a qualification for the prologue in beautiful weather, many thought that the brutal heat would be the main adversary of the riders, but... thunderstorms moved in and just before the kick--off of the prologue, the track became soaked in water. This neither impressed the riders nor the thousands of spectators who came to celebrate the sport of Extreme--Enduro.
But the „worst enemy” or best friend of the riders, depending on their love/hate for man--made obstacles, was Andy, our „Prologue mastermind” (and inventor). With 40 tons of stone, 50 cubic meters of logs, 30 cubic meters of sand and tons of used tires he built another inner--city Prologue that kept our competitors on their toes. „The riders were impressed and challenged with the track, the Hobby--Class riders naturally faced a bigger challenge then the Pros but adjusted well to the changing weather conditions. With the rain setting in, the challenge certainly went up a few notches, but this is what our riders signed up for,” states Andy. The Kriega--obstacle with the hanging tires was a fun element, liked by many – except the ones, whose front fender got caught in one of them. The freestyle--jump over the container was a bit tricky – due to the soft sand in the landing area, but our competitors managed well!”
Graham Jarvis: „Pretty extreme weather today, but nothing we are not used to from the Red Bull Romaniacs ;--). It was a great start for me and I hope that the weather will get a bit better the coming days for the riding fun, which is part of why I am here. But I also hope that it stays extreme one way or the other, since I prefer the race to be as extreme as possible. I appreciate the great support from Husaberg, GoldenTyre and Adventure--Spec and am looking forward to the race.
Chris Birch: „I loved the prologue and for the race I am not thinking so much about the competition, but more about the surprises Martin „Frejn” has prepared for us in the mountains. And now that it has started raining, it feels very much more like at home in New Zealand and gives me an additional edge ;-- )”
Paul Bolton: „I am stoked to be on the podium, which gives me a great starting position for this great race tomorrow.”
Letti: „Racing always involves a bit of luck and I was certainly lucky at the beginning, fell in the semi-- finals and could therefore only participate in the 2nd--finals, where I had a great run. And the weather was perfect, I certainly prefer slippery and wet conditions and hope it will continue to rain a bit when the „real thing” starts tomorrow.” He finished 9th.
Martin „Frejn”: I am very pleased with the event today, the Live--HD--Video cast has been a huge additional burden and challenge for us organizers -- but it was certainly worth it: thousands of fans followed the Prologue live and celebrated the Enduro--sport with the riders. We are extremely happy that we did not have any injuries and wish all riders loads of fun and good luck for the race starting tomorrow.
PRO Class Graham Jarvis ENG 2 Paul Bolton GBR 4 Chris Birch NZL 1
Red Bull Romaniacs – Race Day 1
Officially the warm-up and “easy” day of the race and with perfect weather, the Race Day 1 was a joyride for some but a tough challenge for most: “Homer`s downhill”, creek ascends, and monster-hill-climb finish already started wearing on theriders
Sibiu, Romania, July 17th, 2011 – Update from Day 1 of the Red Bull Romaniacs, the toughest Hard-Enduro rallye of the planet. This first day is traditionally the toughest one for the riders, the organizers however decided this year to open the race with a more “gentle” day – and started in time at 07.30am with an easygoing liaison from the hotel in downtown Sibiu to the off-road start. Even though it was slightly foggy, the weather also meant well for the riders and sent them on course without rain and with a slightly wet track from the thunderstorm during the prologue. Therefore it was no surprise that in the morning everyone was in riding mood, highly motivated and excited about the day ahead. As a result of the great conditions and motivation, the leading riders were extremely fast and almost undercut the minimal times between the checkpoints.
The most extreme was certainly Graham Jarvis, who claimed another leading position and came in with over 20 minutes before the next riders. They came in in the following order: Letti, Xavi Galindo, Chris Birch, Darryl Curtis, Melcior Faja, Ervin-Zsolt Kovacs, Paul Bolton. Today`s total distance offroad was 132 km,including liaisons 146 km – the maximum allowed riding time for this total was 09.30hrs; Graham Jarvis managed the race in just over 4hrs.
The general feedback from riders were comments about the track in beautiful landscape, with rolling hills and easy navigation but also the extreme character of some of the surprises that the Red Bull Romaniacs team around Martin "Frejn" Freinademetz had prepared for them. Jarvis was the only competitor who rode “Homer`s downhill” on the bike (considered impossible by the Red Bull Romaniacs team). Everyone else either went flying or walked the bike. Letti and Chris Birch slightly hurt themselves at their encounters with “Homer`s”. However, Jarvis was open enough to admit, that he wouldn`t have done it, had he known what is coming… ;-). Another challenge were the creek up-hills with relatively large rocks, among them “Hallo, how are you”. These were the areas, where many of the competitors burned valuable energy and had to see the two participants on trial-bikes fly uphill past them.
Hence, the riders where not too unhappy to finally arrive at the finish of Race Day 1 and gave the monster hill-climb just underneath it a good chance to kick them off their bike once more. Only about ten riders made it all the way up, theothers took the “chicken-lines”. One of them was the South African Darryl Curtis, who arrived quite happy and relaxed at the top and was still excited about the beautiful riding day.
While lots of men were still struggling in the woods, the female Romanian Hobby Team had arrived. Sorina Sandu and Andrea Goga took off their helmets and looked...just great! Quite unlike some of their male fellow riders, one might add.
Graham Jarvis: “I had a great day – but it was also a very tough day: it started fairly steady, and I had time to get used to my GPS again, but soon the riverbeds started and they really drew a lot of energy. But I was definitely enjoying it!”
Xavi Galindo: “I had a very nice race day with a few quite tough challenges, but navigation was a breeze as the track was marked almost as good as an Endurospecial test. My bike had to take a few beatings but it performed just perfectly.”
Red Bull Romaniacs – Race Day 2
After two days of Jarvis coming first in the rankings, it's Birch's turn to take the lead for the day. It has been a day of fast, fun riding with bitter, hard work at the end and great gestures of riders taking care of each other.
Update from Day 2 of the Red Bull Romaniacs, the toughest Hard-Enduro rallye of the planet. The sun was back today and scorched the track without mercy, which was no problem for most riders, since the pace was relatively high and people went fast. Most riders enjoyed the beautiful landscape and appreciated the cooling airflow, but were also struggling with the navigation at these speeds. Therefore quite a few riders teamed up, for example Chris Birch and Letti who seemed to have had a blast together and were exchanging track-stories right after the finish. Birch however was struggling with an old hand-injury, which he kept cooling in ice after the finish. Letti also had started the race handicapped with a torn tendon at his ankle and was suffering every time he had to put his foot down. Bringing a handicap to the race was not a big problem for most of the day, but…at the end, trackmanager Seppo had prepared an uphill section through a muddy riverbed filled with logs (Pros only). He is not a very popular man after inflicting this pain on the competitors; many Pro riders screamed his name in vain and promised to kill him.
The, so far, leading Jarvis, like many others, was struggling with navigation - which helped Birch take the lead from him for the day. Then Jarvis got kicked off his bike twice, during the higher speed passages but again showed a few unbelievable stunts in the steeper downhill sections. Graham Jarvis: “I started off really good, found a good rhythm - even though it was difficult in the long grass sometimes; but then I had a crash, hit a tree and I was also catching up on some hobby riders, waited for them and then had another crash in their dust – that kind of spoiled it a bit. I also missed a few turns, so I lost some time there. But there are still two days ahead and it's going to be interesting.”
Chris Birch: “I had a much better day today and had an awesome time. The bike was great - these KTMs just seem to like this kind of abuse… The heat was not so much of a problem, the track was mainly quite flowing so got a bit of venting going on, it wasn`t so bad. Only the last bit, a muddy section in a riverbed with wood-logs allover the place was quite nasty.”
An amazing display ofcamaraderie today saw two pro riders sacrificing ten minutes from their race times to help fellow pro Darryl Curtis. Darryl faced a tough day today, perhaps his toughest in his history as a familiar face on the Romaniacs’ racetrack. Crashing at high speed in the woods, which sent him tumbling through the trees, had him believing that he was “finished”. Although he was not hurt his bike became stuck in a ravine, which is how Martin Volny and Emanuel Gyenes found him. Had Curtis been injured both riders would have been given the time back that they spent helping him, thankfully he wasn’t, and knowing this, both Volny and Gyenes took the precious time to see him back on the track again. Rather than take the opportunity to make a lead on Curtis they showed true sportsmanship. It is acts like this that demonstrate the true Romaniacs’ spirit. Naturally they also teamed up for a while and rode together, later joined by Gerhard Forster.
Xavi Galindo also had a tough time, with the navigation and also with his bike, which took a few rather severe beatings. A torn fuel line and navigation problems had cost Xavi some serious time. The most extreme beating aside from the inevitable crashes that many people had, took Paul Boltons bike, which got it`s carburetor torn out of it by a branch; it cost him about 10 minutes. He still managed to have somegood fun: “There were some fast bits on the top sections, they're fun when there’s not too many rocks around and it’s a bit single trail sandy, flowy stuff. That’s good. And then obviously when you come to some logs or something in a gully and there’s a sort of natural kick to the side you can bounce over them next to some hobby riders or something, that they’re trying to climb over them themselves. That’s good, yeah.”
Letti: “It was a painful day, navigation was ok (note: most riders stated it was difficult…), but I am still very excited to race here, we have the world`s best extreme-Enduro riders here and I enjoy riding with them.”
This year we have father and son team, Romeo and Cristian Dunca, riding together and also enjoying the experience of riding with some of the world's best. Local Romanian competitors; this family team are having lots of fun riding together out in the forest. Romeo Dunca, the father, participated in Dakar in 2005 and by coming 79th (and first Romanian finisher ever) proved his worth as a fast rider even though he is competing in hobby team class for this competition. However, it is beginning to become apparent that his son Cristian has inherited some of his father’s capabilities, and Romeo is going to have to recognize that his son could well be his match.
Day 3 - When the going gets tough the tough get going…
Again riding in beautiful weather, all the wishes of last year`s competitors who were praying for sun after riding in soaking wet conditions in 2010 seem to have been heard: it was certainly hot today – and only the shadow in the forest and the river crossings brought some relieve for the riders. But certainly not enough. Race Day 3 is traditionally the day, that breaks the ones who are not made for the Red Bull Romaniacs – and the dramatic stories at today`s track reflect this. Tough men were crying, hardcore Enduro riders were ready to sell their soul and the one of their grandmother for some help getting the bike over obstacles and human creatures became ready to fight for some water to survive the day. Riders actually started offering money, waving their credit cards and cash to get some help from spectators – just trying to make it through the day. Some competitors were seen raiding the gear-bags of the camera teams for some water and falling into the nearby creeks to drink like thirsty animals. Pain clearly became the “motto of the day” – even for the top riders.
However, the crème de la crème of the world Extreme-Enduro elite arrived at the finish-line with a broad smile on their face, after the toughest challenges were already in the morning and they had some time to recover in fluent riding, capture some of the country`s beauty and get refreshed in high speed river-crossings. The leading man of the day, Graham Jarvis finished just minutes before Chris Birch, who was ahead of Jarvis for some time in the morning but then had to watch his bikecrashing down a ravine and hitting into a tree.
Graham: “I had a great day: a bit stiff in the morning but once I woke up, I really found the flow, Navigation was much easier than yesterday, but I still missed a few turns after not watching my GPS. I definitely enjoyed the beautiful ride today! There were 30 minutes of extreme challenges this morning, but after that, the track allowed a fast pace again.”
Chris: “The morning was a bit tricky, and the worst part today was to see my brave bike flip down a steep hill and crash into a tree. Big thumbs-up Lars Enöckl´s crew, Niki Stelzmüller and Erich Brandauer who helped replacing the bent handlebars and Brandauer donating his Husaberg`s rear fender. I was able to gain some of the lost time on Graham after that and made good progress. But I certainly do not mind to be beaten by this great guy (Graham Jarvis)!” True sportsmanship, we say.
Red Bull Romaniacs – Race Day 4 and Finish update
Jarvis wins Red Bull Romaniacs for the 2nd time; the race successfully finished today with a ride up historic stairs in the beautiful city of Sibiu and a bunch of very tired riders
The toughest Hard-Enduro rallye of the planet. 5 days ago, 176 very motivated riders kicked off the 2011 Red Bull Romaniacs with the prologue, rode ca. 600km through Romanian countryside, abused their bikes and their bodies as if their life depended on it and 124 arrived at the finish today. The best of them was Graham Jarvis, who dominated throughout the race and who won the Red Bull Romaniacs for the 2nd time today. Like everyone else, he had to go to extremes to get past the difficult sections of the PRO-track, endure crashes and keep going, fix his bike and fight exhaustion. But again he rode “like a surgeon”, had enough energy and claimed a well-earned victory. Graham won the Red Bull Romaniacs in 2008, had been pushing hard the last two years (participated in 2009, came in 2nd in 2010) and has now won again in 2011. Congratulations!
Graham “It was another tough day and I had to keep pushing, because I knew that Chris would never give up. And then I caught a wire in my rear wheel, which sent me crashing and I had to work quite a bit to get that out of my bike. But I am happy to have won the Red Bull Romaniacs for the 2nd time now! It is such a great race and I hope to back next year. The support from Husaberg and GoldenTyre was great and I appreciate this!”
Graham indeed had a very committed Chris Birch on his heels throughout the race, who delivered an excellent performance as well but had to watch his competitor claim the victory. Unlike many of his fellow riders, who don`t want to be near a motorbike for a few days, Chris is already thinking about his next race in South Africa on Saturday, respect! Chris: “Today I had my hardest day so far, this was quite tough but definitely a fun ride. Coming 2nd to Graham is ok in my book – this guy is incredible! And I love this race, if anyone out there is thinking about doing it, I can only encourage you: I have done allsorts of races around the world and this is by far the best. Just make sure you pick the right class…!”
The overall third, Andreas Lettenbichler entered the race charging like there was no tomorrow and was challenging Graham for parts of the day. His riding skills one more time stunned his world class opponents, who watched him clear some of the obstacles in true “Letti-magic”. Most were unable to follow his lines. Unfortunately he hard-crashed twice and his GPS got destroyed. But Letti would not give up and followed a group of Hobby riders for navigation which secured him a well earned third place for the day and in total! Letti: “I am happy it is over, it was a fun and tough race. I’m going back to work tomorrow, but I have a ton of great memories and an awesome place on the podium to be happy about!”
Another rider fighting a brave battle today was Xavi Galindo. The PRO-class Spaniard was well on his way until he lost control of his bike just above a rock face and the bike went down vertically to a spot next to a lake, from where it was unrecoverable. Aftergetting rid of his race gear, Xavi decided to swim to the other side of thelake for help. There, a rowing boat was quickly highjacked and used as a ferry to get his bike back on track. Only one hour later, he was back in the race and finished 10th for the day. He was presented water wings at the award ceremony ;-).
Martin "Frejn" Freinademetz: “We never had such a high percentage of finishers, which can certainly be brought back to the great weather but also to our good preparations: We have marked and prepared ca. 600km of tracks, employed 400people, distributed 20.000 liters of gas and 390 liters of Motorex-oil to the 16 tankpoints, build 4 service points and established 40 checkpoints, provided food and accommodation for riders and team, arranged world-class rescue services and security – we are as tired and relieved as the riders and extremely happy that we had such a great racing event to celebrate the sport of Extreme-Enduro! A big ”Thank you” to my team and the participants for making this happen! This is a perfect position to start preparations for the Red Bull Romaniacs 2012, which will be part of the World Extreme Enduro Championship””
Red Bull Romaniacs – final 2011 pre-race update
Live-streaming of the Prologue (video) for the first time ever on Saturday, July 16th 1:50pm to 4:30pm EET (12:50pm to 3:30pm CET) and Live-tracking (GPS) as showcased last year.
Sibiu, Romania, July 11th, 2011 – just days before the toughest Hard-Enduro rallye on the planet, the Red Bull Romaniacs team announces additional details about the 8th edition of the race. One of the highlights this year will be the first ever live-stream of the Prologue; followers from across the world will be able to watch the Enduro elite compete for a good starting place in the race and for the first EUR 1.000 - of the total EUR 15.000 prize money. Riders like Andreas Lettenbichler, Graham Jarvis and Xavi Galindo guarantee breathtaking Enduro action in the city center of Sibiu. The Prologue will be live-streamed in HD from 01.50pm to 04.30pm (EET) in two languages (ENG and Romanian) and is provided by the company Video&Satellite. The video stream will be broadcasted live to Europe`s largest digital outdoor display (3300 sqm) in Bucharest by Cocor Media Channel.
The starting numbers for the riders are now assigned ( http://www.redbullromaniacs.com/sf-media/media-2011/starting-list-2011/ ), so fans can follow their favorite athletes. They can also track them in real-time with our infamous ONLINE LIVE TRACKING. Originally developed to increase the safety for our competitors (they are carrying minitrackers for easily determining their position in case of emergency) fans and family can follow their progress and watch the race chase happening minute by minute. On top of that, we again will have field reporters with laptops out there, reporting and blogging in real time; allowing you to interpret the live online tracking's blinking dots with a readable history, pictures, quotes and a likelihood of racing fate and future.
Effective immediately we are also sharing information about the spectator points for our fans and press who are visiting the race live: These are the best positions to see some serious Enduro action and watch some of the world`s best Enduro-riders compete. http://www.redbullromaniacs.com/2011-edition/spectator-points
Extensive information is now also available for all riders about the specifics of the daily tracks, the service points and much more: www.redbullromaniacs.com
Other interesting details to note are the welcome party on Thursday, the rider`s briefing und “Last evening in civilization” on Friday, the Prologue with live-streaming on Saturday and the legendary final party with the award ceremony on Wednesday. More details about program: http://www.redbullromaniacs.com/2011-edition/race-schedule
The idea behind the Red BullRomaniacs
Interview with Martin "Frejn" Freinademetz, the founder and general manager of the world`s toughest hard Enduro rallye.
What is unique about the RedBull Romaniacs?
In Short: it is one of the last motorbike-adventures for real men: man and machine against terrain & nature; in beautiful, breathtaking surroundings and countryside – challenging enough to attract the world-elite of Extreme-Enduro riding. The track is well-marked and riders have additional GPS support – so finding the check-points is no challenge. The race starts with a Prologue in the beautiful old town of Sibiu – which becomes “Endurado” during the event. 600km of demanding trails promise excitement and a challenge perfectly adapted to the skills of riders in three different classes: Pro, Expert & Hobby.
What were the main influences, how have the Red Bull Romaniacs become what they are today?
The Red Bull Romaniacs is a race from riders for riders. Everyone in the team lovesmotorbikes and is fanatic about the Enduro-sport. Many of us have a history in participating in all kinds of different racing. Each of the different race formats have their highlights – but also many frustrations: Many rallies have long distances of tarmac roads to cover before you even get off-road. Motocross is nice – but you are just driving in circles and the fun is over after 15 minutes. Many extreme off-road events are just a 20km hill-climb. 3-,5- andeven 24hrs Enduro events are quite nice but they often feature too short tracks and end up being dust-battles. By thinking a lot about all this and trying to eliminate all the different frustrations that make a race less attractive for Enduro-riders, we came up with the idea of the perfect race from Enduro riders for Enduro riders in the perfect Enduro Landscape: the Red Bull Romaniacs. Almost 100% off-road, with the beautiful mountains of the Carpathians, rivers to cross, 600km of track – isn`t that exciting? Add the beautiful old town of a city like Sibiu – which is locked down and becomes the center of “Enduro-madness” and fun is guaranteed!
What is the future going to look like?
We will stick with our maximum of 250 riders, to ensure the best possible riding experience. We do not plan to attract the masses to come to Sibiu, neither in riders nor in spectators. But we plan to keep being not only the toughest Hard-Enduro rallye on the planet, but also send 250 riders of the 3 different classes home with a broad smile on their face ;-)
Jarvis dominates day four, Birch keeps overall lead and Lettenbichler catches up!
The rain is not only a constant companion but has become the dominating factor of the Red Bull Romaniacs 2010. The riders started the day from Petrosani in pouring rain and only and out of the initial 21 starters of the pro class only 11 continued the race.
Graham Jarvis again in a class of its own
Romaniacs mastermind Martin Freinademetz is known for serving tracks that are very tough to deal with in dry conditions. In rainy and wet conditions those tracks turn into challenges which are taking even the best oft he best riders to their very limits. Even though the rece directors took out the famous „Long Walk Up“ due to the permanent rain, there were more than enough cruelties left for the riders, such as the section called „Congo“, which was an immane challenge.
Even though the Brit Graham Jarvis dropped out of the race yesterday he once again proved to be the one to beat in the stage today that took the riders back from Petrosani to Sibiu. Jarvis came in 30 minutes ahead of the next rider and it’s hard to imagine what results the quiet Brit could achieve if his bike would be as reliable as his riding skills.
The rider currently leading the race, Chris Birch, had bad luck and lost valuable time due to problems with the electrical system. „I’m riding KTM bikes now for 6 years and about 5,000 hours and I never had a single problem with the electrical system on my bikes. Too bad I’ve lost time today because of a little technical problem“, the New Zealander said at the end of an exhausting day. Birch came in about one hour later than Jarvis but keeps the overall lead.
Paul Bolton (UK, KTM) and the German Andreas Lettenbichler (BMW) demonstrated one of the principles of Extrem-Enduro: While competing against each other heavily in the race there are sections which cannot be done on your own – at least not fast enough. Bolton started five minutes after „Letti“ and the two riders formed a team once Bolton had reached the factory supported rider from Bavaria. Only four seconds separated the two riders in the finish, Bolton finishing second and Lettenbichler third.
Once again Lettenbichler demonstrated an outstanding performance and reduced his overall handicap by 29 minutes, thus putting himself in a better position for the final day tomorrow.
PRO-CLASS inofficial and corrected overall standings after day 3:
Tomorrow the riders will face the final challenge. The weather forecast predicts rain and riders have to be prepared for another insane track which covers 128km for the Pro class and 110km for the Expert and Hobby classes.
Andreas Lettenbichler collects his first stage victory!
The second offroad raceday of the 7th edition of the Red Bull Romaniacs started dry and sunny for all riders – the heavy downpoors of the last days had finally stopped, and so the 165 competitors faced more comfortable temperatures and sunny conditions for most of the day.
Lettenbichler gives it all, Jarvis quits UK top-rider Graham Jarvis opened todays Pro-Class challenge on board of his Sherco, followed by KTM factory rider Chris Birch (NZL) and German Andreas Lettenbichler on his BMW. While Jarvis headed onto the track quite confident, the dominator of yesterdays muddy battle had to face serious technical problems later on. Like last year, Jarvis’ engine overheated and the quiet and friendly Brit had to park his steed aside the track for today.
With Jarvis’ dropping out halfway of the race, it was heavily motivated Chris Birch who took the lead of the Pro-Class. But not for long, as Birch’s KTM started to get technical problems as well. After several water crossings, the 2-time winner of the Roof-of-Africa had to change his spark plug and lost valuable time on Andreas Lettenbichler.
While Birch had to maintain his bike, Lettenbichler passed and took the lead. „After I could pass Chris, I’ve found a quite perfect rythm on my bike and could hold my speed until the finish line. I had some navigation problems in the woods before, bute overall I’m really satisfied with my race today.“, said the sympathic Bajuvarian after the race. Due to his respectable stage win Lettenbichler secured a second overall ranking with a 50 minutes margin on Birch after today.
British rider Paul Bolton (KTM) placed second on todays stage after making it to the finish 7 minutes behind Lettenbichler. Bolton – renown for his rather weak navigation skills – made no mistake today and advances to the third place in the overall ranking.
Joakim Ljunggren, Husaberg factory rider from Sweden, suprised the crowd with an astonishing third place, coming in only 30 minutes behind Lettenbichler.
South African’s Jade Gutzeit (KTM) placed a respectable fourth today while Chris Birch crossed the finish line on fifth place: „I had to replace a spark plug because it got wet in these nasty conditions today. It took me quite a while to figure out what the problem was and I am very happy that I was able to take over the lead after this challenging second day at the Red Bull Romaniacs. Considering Letti’s skills the 50 minutes lead is not at all a safe pillow for the forthcoming two days“, Birch said after about 200km of distance in the pro class.
Unofficial results PRO-CLASS after day 2:
1. Chris Birch 15.44.55 KTM 2. Andreas Lettenbichler 16.34.39 BMW 3. Paul Bolton 17.05.31 KTM 4. Jade Gutzeit 17.37.21 KTM 5. Lionel Seydoux 18.01.10 KTM 6. Gerhard Forster 19.52.37 BMW 7. Joakim Ljunggren 22.08.24 Husaberg 8. Darryl Curtis 23.27.09 KTM
A well balanced mix of gruelties awaits the Pro riders on tomorrows offroad day. After a series of steep up- and downhills the Romaniacs serves its true highlight at the end of the day: The „Long Walk Up“ is an extremely difficult section in the forrest, which in last years edition got Cyril Despres to face his inner demons ...
Jarvis dominates today’s battle in the mud!
„Never ever give up“ – that’s what last years winner Andreas Lettenbichler had to say when he finally crossed the finish line of the Red Bull Romaniacs first „outdoor“ raceday. Lettenbichler reached the day’s finish more than 2 hours behind stage winner Graham Jarvis (UK, Sherco) and secured a respectable third place on a stage that was regarded as a „little shop of horrors“ by most of the riders. Prologue-winner Chris Birch finished second today and managed to stay close to Jarvis in the results.
A mere 30% of the Pro-Class riders could reach the finish line without exceeding the time limit. The heavy downpoors continued today and turned the track into a real nightmare for the competitors.
Graham Jarvis sets the record
The British Extreme-Enduro expert showed his competition that he’s no stranger to soaking wet terrain and slippery descents. Jarvis won today’s stage with a margin of 40 minutes over Chris Birch (NZL, KTM) – a quite solid pillow for the upcoming days in the Romanian wilderness.
„That was surely a tough day at the office, but I’m actually used to conditions like that. I found a good rythm from the start and had a good time with GPS-navigation. I’m pretty satisfied with my race today - I just don’t like the fact that our soccer team had to call it quits at the World Cup today!“, said Graham at his arrival at the stage’s finish.
KTM factory rider Chris Birch was all but impressed about Jarvis’ accomplishment: „This stage was maybe the toughest one I’ve ever ridden. I’m happy to have reached the finish only 40 minutes after Graham. He was riding in his own class today – my full respect goes out to him!“
One of the top favorites of the 6th edition of the Red Bull Romaniacs had nothing but bad luck today: Erzbergrodeo „Ironman“ and KTM Extreme-Enduro factory expert Taddy Blazusiak (POL) had to drop out of the race quite too early: „First I’ve lost my way in the early part of the stage. Soon after I was back on track and chasing hard after the leader I lost my front wheel and crashed hard at a gnarly downhill, injuring my shoulder once again. In the end, the pain was just too much to finish the stage, and I have to abandon my first Red Bull Romaniacs.“, said a disappointed Blazusiak after returning to the paddock in Sibiu.
The riders of the Expert- and Hobby-Classes didn’t had a better day neither – the extremely tough conditions took their toll on all competitors and served „bigger-than-life challenges“ to the riders. Only one team and one single rider of the Expert Class reached the finish today, while not even one of the Hobby riders made it to the finish line of today’s stage.
Chris Birch wins Incity-Prolog!
New Zealand’s Chris Birch rewarded himself for the longest journey to the world’s hardest Extreme-Enduro-Rallye with a well deserved victory in the legendary incity prologue. The KTM rider showed an incredible performance surfing the man-made obstacles in the city center of Sibiu (Romania) and secures the pole position for the first race day on Sunday. Graham Jarvis from Great Britain managed to come in second on his Sherco ahead of the Polish four-time Erzbergrodeo champion and rallye rookie Tadeusz “Taddy” Blazusiak on his two-stroke KTM.
Romaniacs veteran rider Birch turns into a rain god
The pouring rain turned the track of man-made obstacles into a breathtaking challenge - even for well-experienced riders like Paul Bolton (Eurotech-KTM, GBR) and Gerhard Forster (GER/Touratech-BMW). Especially the obstacles made out of wood and rubber tires became slippery as ice - bringing even the top pro riders close to their limits. “Birchy” in the opposite appeared to be rain-proof: Already in the qualifying heats the Kiwi has been leaving his footprint and left no doubt that he is determined to the max to finally win the Red Bull Romaniacs.
„After a previous third and a second place at the Red Bull Romaniacs I really want to make it to the very top of the podium this year. The prolog went really well and I did have the bit of luck you need to win a qualifying race like this - given the difficult wet conditions. I mastered the extremely slippery section with the loose wood very well and was able to leave Graham and Taddy behind. Winning the prolog is a big achievement for me since I will be the first to start the real race tomorrow and I will leverage the experience I gained in the past years. The organizers have done a great job in designing a track which was ridable even in these conditions“, Chris Birch said after the race.
Graham Jarvis (Sherco, GBR): „I pushed a little too hard right after the start and lost some traction due to the wet conditions. But Taddy made a little mistake so I was able to pass him. The second place is a good result for me to open the real race tomorrow.”
The Extreme-Enduro dominator Taddy Blazusiak stated about his third place in the Prolog: „I am always determined to win but in the rain turned the track into a dangerous challenge and I must be happy that I got away with the third place, no injuries and no damage to my bike. This is my first ever Rallye and starting from the third place gives me the opportunity to find my way into this racing style without the pressure to lead the pack.”
2009 winner Andi Lettenbichler (GER/BMW-Husqvarna) was pretty happy about his fourth place, too: „Right at the beginning I got stuck in a wood section. However, I was able to pass a lot of riders after this mistake and finally came in fourth. From the previous year I know that this starting number is not bad at all and I will give all I have in order to defend my title.“
Prolog as a crowd magnet
The heavy rain is expected to tunr the overall conditions for all riders into a true nightmare within the upcoming four days – no matter which class each rider is in. But this is exactly the reason why year after year more riders show up in Sibiu: To face this extraordinary challenge to ride against the best of the best in the most difficult terrain on the face of this planet.
Follow the event live on the web through our live-blogging service - see
the blinking dots racing on the map and read what our elite field of embedded
journalists report live from the track!
Spanish Hard-Enduro rookie wins Red Bull Romaniacs Rallye prologue!
The battle for the best starting position is over at the Red Bull Romaniacs Rallye and it’s been Spain’s Xavier Galindo-Arbones (KTM) to defeat title defender Graham Jarvis (GBR/Sherco) and last year’s runner-up, German BMW Rider Gerhard Forster. In front of 9.000 fanatic spectators in downtown Sibiu/Hermannstadt, the Spaniard left a very strong first impression at his first ever attempt.
Back in the founding days of Red Bull Romaniacs in 2004, this prologue over man-made obstacles has been invented by organizer Martin Freinademetz, building Chief Andy Fazekas and his crew from the local Motorcycle Club, Crazy Bike Sibiu. Between then and now, lots of look-alike events and competitions have been following this success-story, never really matching the original one, traditionally held here.
“This year we tried a very new format, best to be compared with Snowboard-Boardercross, and after last year’s wet weather and the troubles for the riders on the wet wooden obstacles, this year we’ve built the course in a more safe way, no matter what weather. Even with rain, it would hold up and offer enough grip, also for the hobby-, and experts-classes”, says building-chief Andy Fazekas.
A very coincidental accident even added some “pyrotechnical effects” to this year’s edition, when Expert-Team rider George KINONAS’ (GRE) bike went up in flames during the race after a slight crash over one obstacle. Luckily and thanks to the safety-precautions, the burning bike (and partly - for a second - even the burning rider) have been extinguished by the rescue and safety personnel within some seconds. After a general overhaul of some hours, the bike has been renovated and is now ready to charge tomorrow’s first stage – and so is the rider!
The respect of all riders towards this year’s course was given already before that and the adrenalin was flowing in the pre-start area before qualification, especially within the first-timers. “This looks way more gnarly than anything called Enduro-Cross which we have in the USA”, stated debut pro-rider and Dirtbike-Legend Jimmy Lewis (Husaberg).
Gerhard Forster, today third on the podium and last year’s unfortunate runner-up is now happy to have two riders of the format of Jarvis and Galindo-Arbones in front of him, releasing him from the pressure of navigating the others through the trails as he had to in 2008. “I hope that there will be a lot of navigation to be done tomorrow morning by the two in front of me, so I can catch up with them and make up some time from the start-interval”, stated the German who appears to be riding with the precision of a Swiss watch.
2008 title defender and runner-up Graham Jarvis also was not too disappointed about his second place in the prologue: “I am glad it all worked well today, the bike and myself unharmed. I look forward to the days in the mountains to come, because I think that’s where the decision will take place.”
Xavier Galindo-Arbones, only known to Hard-Enduro insiders from past participations in the World Enduro Championships and in selected indoor Enduros, can count on a solid trial-riding background which might get him far in the Red Bull Romaniacs Rallye: “Having those two experienced riders in my back is not a perfect scenario, but I’ll try my best to keep them off my back”, he stated after the race with a huge smile upon his face.
Tomorrow, Sunday, August 16, the start is scheduled for 06:00 in the morning and due to the starting-intervals for the top-pros, the heat will be on, immediately. So catching up with the person in front of means having made up time in the overall results. Most probable, some of the lower ranked pros and well known names even calculated on this and finished no higher than in the higher mid-field.
With our superb feature of a live-tracking and blogging service, invented by Red Bull Romaniacs in 2008, the entire race action of all days to come will be brought to anyone out there through our website www.redbullromaniacs.com from tomorrow morning on.
We have the news, we have the hottest pictures, but most of all, we have our live-tracking: By clicking onto the live-tracking button on the start-site, users will enjoy real time racing by being able to follow the riders as blinking dots on a virtual map, which will be constantly fed by the signals of our live-tracking safety GPS devices, carried by every rider.
In addition, a superb crew of field journalists (called “embedded journos” by CNN;-)) will be blogging texts and pictures from right out of the woods and provide even deeper insights on what’s going on in Vlad Dracula’s backyard.
After 4 grueling days, Great Britain's Graham Jarvis has won the 5th Red Bull Romaniacs at his first attempt. The 33 year old trial specialist rode a Sherco & he was the first rider to win the event on a 4 stroke.
Germany's GPS master Gerhard Forster navigated his way through the Romanian wilderness to finished second overall & New Zealander Chris Birch was 3rd. Dutchman Frans Verhoeven was dogged by bad luck in the early stages but won the final stage.
The last day was a shorter 117 kilometres course but no less intense than the previous days. All the riders were pleased to cross the finishing line on the roof of the dictator Ceaucescu unfinished mansion.
Speaking at the end Graham Jarvis said “It was beginner’s luck that made me finish first! Throughout the whole race I concentrated on not making any big mistakes, as a trial specialist I had to ride tactically and smart. The last days were even harder than I expected but great fun also. I’d never expected to finish first!"
With the weather & visibility closing in, the scene was set for Gerhard Forster - the GPS machine - to make the break that would get him away from his shadows but the fates were typing away at 2.200m to re-write the script. By the time Gerhard arrived at the service point he had a smashed gear box & was only using 1st gear. He had dropped minutes on Verhoeven, Birch and Jarvis however by Checkpoint 4 the BMW rider had clawed his way back into second place. The fate also turned their attention to Frans Verhoeven who - not long after leaving the service point in second place - was forced to retire due to a technical problem. Graham Jarvis enlarge his lead over Forster 9:32 minutes. Results
The second day started with a real taste of autumn. Cold, foggy & wet. Prologue winner Paul Bolton activated his rescue system at 10.00am when a crash aggravated the knee injury that has dogged him this season. New Zealander Chris Birch had the best day finishing first ahead of Germany's Gerhard Forster. Forster has earned the nickname of the “GPS machine” due to his uncanny ability to navigate. Graham Jarvis was 3rd but maintained his overall lead with a 42 second. German Jürgen Dörr in the Expert single class crashed heavily in the same place as Paul Bolton & smashed his throttle. As Paul had retired he lent Jürgen his throttle so he could continue. The weather for tomorrow's third stage promises to be poor with fog & the possibility of snowfall at 2,200m. Results
The first full day of the 5th Red Bull Romaniacs started 07.30am in the morning with a 180 kilometers lap. The climbs were technical and challenging. At the service point after almost five hours of riding the first to arrive were more than one hour later than expected. UK rider Graham Jarvis took the overall lead ahead of German rider Gerhard Forster. Chris Birch from New Zealand was 3rd. The 3 riders wisely decided to navigate the course together. Prologue winner Paul Bolton was one of the riders who struggled with the navigation. He missed a check point & he was penalised. Sepp Hasenauer leads the Experts from Wales' Craig Bounds. Day 1 results
The 5th edition of the Red Bull Romaniacs kicked off in the main boulevard of Sibiu on Saturday 13th Sept at the start of 5 days of one of the toughest Enduros in the World. The course designers had devised 15 different obstacles & the steady rain gave the tree trunks, walls & wooden ramps an extra slick coating that tested the international field of 213 riders to the limit.
Despite a lay off during the Summer with a broke leg, Britain's Paul Bolton took the lead from Germany's Gerhard Forster. Paul took 3rd at Erzberg this year & relishes the trialsy going. He completed an incredible 8 laps - 2 more than 2nd placed Forster. Greg Evans (right) was a schoolboy MX champion but he has worked hard on his trials skills & his efforts have paid off as he took 3rd ahead of fellow Brit trials champion Graham Jarvis in 4th. Greg like Paul is also recovering from a broke leg. He got a last minute call to take Tom Sagar's entry. Tom's hand has not recovered & he needs to rest it after the Greece 6 Days. Wales' Craig Bounds won the Expert singles class. With 44 entries, British riders constitute the biggest national contingent & 6 Brits finished in the top ten. Prologue Results
THIRD VICTORY FOR CYRIL DESPRES
Final Day: 4th Red Bull Romaniacs Hard Enduro Rally, 17 – 21 June 2007
After 2004 and 2005 it is again Cyril Despres from France who wins the Red Bull Romaniacs Hard Enduro Rallye in 2007, gaining his third victory in the fourth edition of the rally. German Privateer Gerhard Forster finishes second overall ahead of the New Zealander Chris Birch. Despres won the last special over 190km ahead of Chris Birch and Gerhard Forster.
Only 30 minutes after the start Michel Gau (FRA) broke his right arm in a crash and could not continue the last special.
The first man early away this Thursday morning was Michel Gau. The Frenchman had retaken the overall lead from Cyril Despres yesterday. As it was quite probable that these two riders fought it out, both of them were motivated to give their best on the last and decisive day of the fourth Red Bull Romaniacs Hard Enduro Rally. However, Michel Gau had the bad luck on his side and crashed; only 30 minutes after the start he slipped on a piece of wood made him fall off the bike and against a tree. His right arm was broken and he was not able to continue the race. Cyril Despres immediately stopped and stayed with him until the first aid arrived. 20 minutes later he continued the race without knowing how many riders had already passed.
In the mean time 23-year old Chris Birch (NZL) did well, made no mistakes and was the first to finish the last special stage. Crossing the finish line second Cyril Despres got a time credit for staying with Michel Gau and - besides the overall victory – is today’s winner. Gerhard Forster, Privateer from Germany, completes the stage’s podium and claims the second overall position.
“The hardest day of all four off-road stages”, the riders agreed unanimously after they had successfully and literally taken the last steps to the finish high above Sibiu. The see-saw right at the beginning, steep uphills, an almost never-ending and slippery downhill and a merciless last ascent to the day’s and overall finish – just to mention a few of today’s specialities the remaining 78 participates had to deal with.
Results Day 5, 21 June 2007
1. Cyril Despres FRA
2. Chris Birch NZL
3. Gerhard Forster GER