Offroad Day 2 was an eventful one for round four of the FIM Hard Enduro World Championship at Red Bull Romaniacs with Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM) winning to take over the race lead. Graham Jarvis’ (Husqvarna) hopes of a seventh race win ended when he failed to finish due to a knee injury.
The world’s toughest hard enduro rallye marched on for Offroad Day 2, putting its competitors through the rigours once again. Punishing uphills and hot weather were all capped off in true rallye style with riders now facing a night in a tent, with no outside assistance or support allowed.
Race leader at the close of Offroad Day 1, Graham Jarvis led the Gold class riders away before dawn at 06:45. The Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing rider was followed by Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Manuel Lettenbichler. Immediately hot on Graham’s heels, Mani quickly ate into the Brit’s lead, catching him just after the first major climb of the day.
In a game of cat and mouse, neither could shake off the other, and so rode together for most of the day. However, the event turned on its head for Graham as he exited the final service point. A high-speed ditch crossing saw him twist his knee, and with the pain too much, he was forced to call it a day, allowing Manuel to ride clear for the win.
That victory proved decisive, with the German jumping out to a 23-minute-plus race lead over Sherco Factory Racing’s Wade Young. While Young takes second in the overall standings, it was his teammate Mario Roman who ended Offroad Day 2 in second. A consistent and solid ride from the Spaniard paid off, as he moves into third in the overall standings.
Finding his Red Bull Romaniacs rhythm, Billy Bolt (Husqvarna) also had a memorable day. Taking the ‘less is more’ approach, the Abestone Hard Enduro winner limited his mistakes compared to the previous days, riding his way up to third. He now moves up to fourth in overall classification with two days to go.
Dropping back to fifth, Vision Track Beta’s Jonny Walker had a mixed day combining some top-three checkpoint times with mistakes. Sitting fifth overall, he lies just 54 seconds behind Bolt.
One of the performances of the day came from Canada’s Trystan Hart (KTM). The rookie is rapidly finding his feet in the steep trails of the Carpathian Mountains, ending his day sixth, to hold seventh overall in classification.
With an overnight bivouac awaiting riders at the end of Offroad Day 2, competitors won’t see their assistance teams until the service point, midway during Offroad Day 3.
Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM): “It’s been a hard day. I caught up to Graham just after the first uphill and we rode for most of the day together. It was awesome riding with him, so it sucks to see him go out today. I feel like I played safe and got the win. Now it’s time to check over the bike, make sure everything is all ok and then put up the tent for the night!”
Billy Bolt (Husqvarna): “Today was pretty good, not perfect, but a lot better than previously. I just wanted to reduce the crashes and errors I had been making and I think it paid off. Just rolling it back a touch and keeping momentum got me third. I feel like I’m going in right direction now and will try to keep that way for the rest of the week.”
Taddy Blazusiak (GASGAS): “My riding, speed and navigation this week has been good, but I’m a little frustrated with the little mistakes I’ve been making. They’re nothing major, but are adding up, so I need to try and reduce those for the second half of the week.
Red Bull Romaniacs: Offroad Day 2
1. Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM) 5:05:42
2. Mario Roman (Sherco) 5:18:41
3. Billy Bolt (Husqvarna) 5:19:53
4. Wade Young (Sherco) 5:24:21
5. Jonny Walker (Beta) 5:28:39
6. Trystan Hart (KTM) 5:37:02
7. Taddy Blazusiak (GASGAS) 5:37:33
8. Cody Webb (Sherco) 5:54:24
9. Michael Walkner (GASGAS) 5:59:05
10. Teodor Kabakchiev (Husqvarna) 6:10:09
Overall Classifications (After Offroad Day 2)
1. Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM) 10:38:47
2. Wade Young (Sherco) 11:02:20
3. Mario Roman (Sherco) 11:05:11
4. Billy Bolt (Husqvarna) 11:13:50
5. Jonny Walker (Beta) 11:14:44
6. Taddy Blazusiak (GASGAS) 11:30:01
7. Trystan Hart (KTM) 11:34:11
8. Michael Walkner (GASGAS) 11:53:51
9. Teodor Kabakchiev (Husqvarna) 11:56:48
10. Alfredo Gomez (Husqvarna) 12:21:58