Adding another stage win to his 2018 Red Bull Romaniacs tally, Sherco Factory Racing’s Wade Young (RSA) is now favourite to win round four of the World Enduro Super Series.
Putting in a near-perfect ride on Off Road Day 3 at the world’s toughest Hard Enduro Rallye, Young secured his second consecutive stage win over Germany’s Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM) and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jonny Walker (GB).
For the fourth day of racing at the Red Bull Romaniacs, the competitors from 53 nations enjoyed their first full day of sunshine as they waved goodbye to the Straja ski resort and began to make their way back towards Sibiu. The welcome addition of sunshine eased the aching pains of the previous days, but with another long and demanding day in the saddle for all, riders were once again pushed to their limits.
Drama struck early on with Gold class big hitters Graham Jarvis (Husqvarna – GB) and Taddy Blazusiak (KTM – POL) notable retirements. Blazusiak was first to fall foul when a bout of food poisoning prevented him from taking the start. Jarvis, reaching an early spectator point, also called it quits having felt unwell.
However, at the head of the Gold class there was no change to the running order of the top three with Young, Lettenbichler and Walker continuing to set the pace. Young lead the field out, remaining there for the entire day, pulling a slight advantage over Lettenbichler to increase his race lead to four minutes with one day remaining.
With Young and Lettenbichler first and second, Walker didn’t have an answer to his younger rivals, finishing 17 minutes behind in third. Claiming his best stage result in this year’s race, Alfredo Gomez (Husqvarna) placed an impressive fourth. Albeit finishing 30 minutes down on Walker, the Spaniard is showing that he’s returning to form following his pre-season knee injury. Enduring an up and down day, Gomez’ teammate Billy Bolt (GB) placed two minutes behind in fifth to move up to fourth in the overall classification.
Despite suffering with a broken finger sustained in Tuesday’s prologue, Sherco Factory Racing’s Mario Roman (ESP) pushed past the pain barrier to place sixth, while Paul Bolton (KTM – GB), David Cyprian (KTM – CZ), Blake Gutzeit (Yamaha – RSA) and Phillip Scholz (KTM – GER) completed the top 10.
In the Silver class there was no stopping Austria’s Dieter Rudolf as he claimed his second Off Road Day victory of the Hard Enduro Rallye. Rudolf placed 10 minutes clear of yesterday’s winner Michael Walkner (KTM – AUT) in second with Josu Artola (ESP) third. Rudolf is now favourite to secure Silver class honours in the 15th edition of Red Bull Romaniacs.
The Bronze class saw France’s Jean-Michel Vigand continue his run of form to claim another stage win. This time he took victory over Fausto Moto (PRT) and Slovenia’s Milos Novakovic. In the Iron class Mindaugas Simkevicius (LTU) extended his race lead claiming victory over Antanas Lucinskas (LTU) and Tom Oberndorfer (GER). However, with only four minutes separating the trio at the finish line the battle was closely fought all day.
With just one day of racing remaining in this year’s Red Bull Romaniacs, Young will attempt to become the youngest ever winner of the Hard Enduro Rallye, while also becoming the first rider to stand on the top step of the Red Bull Romaniacs podium for Sherco since Graham Jarvis in 2008.
Wade Young (Sherco – RSA): “That was a really long day today. The hardest part was right at the beginning and it really took it out of you. I tried not to push too hard because I know how easy it is to burn yourself out. I stayed relaxed, didn’t make any huge mistakes and aimed for the finish. I knew I had a bit of a gap over Manni today so that let me relax a bit and I think it helped me to stay smooth. There’s still one day to go tomorrow and my plan is to ride similar to today – don’t push too hard and get to the finish in one piece. If the result comes, then it’s time to celebrate but it’s too early to think about that yet!”
Dieter Rudolf (AUT) Silver Class: “Today was a lot easier than the days before, I feel a lot stronger now than I did at the finish of day two – that was really tough. I lost some time yesterday after making a mistake with my navigation, I had to turn around and retrace my route to get back on track again. Today went a lot better, the track was really good fun and flowed nicely – I really enjoyed it. We’ve one day left and I am looking forward to getting to the finish, hopefully I can keep a hold of the lead and take the win.”
Kirsten Landman (RSA) Bronze Class: “That was a really cool day today. The first few checkpoints were quite tough but after that we got into some nice riding and it was a really nice day. The course was a good combination of speed and technical sections but the ground is still very wet after the rain over the past few days. My knee is weak following a small crash so I just have to be aware of it but hopefully I can get to the finish in one piece tomorrow.”
Results: World Enduro Super Series, Round 4
Red Bull Romaniacs, Off Road Day 3
- Wade Young (Sherco – RSA) 6:53:57; 2. Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM – GER) 6:54:05; 3. Jonny Walker (KTM – GB) 7:11:33; 4. Alfredo Gomez (Husqvarna – ESP) 7:40:12; 5. Billy Bolt (Husqvarna – GB) 7:42:33; 6. Mario Roman (Sherco – ESP) 8:11:08; 7. Paul Bolton (KTM – GB) 8:21:53; 8. David Cyprian (KTM – CZE) 8:44:43; 9. Blake Gutzeit (Yamaha – RSA) 9:30:48; 10. Philipp Scholz (KTM – DEU) 9:30:59…
- Dieter Rudolf (AUT) 5:22:17; 2. Michael Walkner (AUT) 5:32:35; 3. Emanuel Gyenes (ROU) 5:47:49; 4. Josu Artola (ESP) 5:53:42; 5. Matthew Green (ZAF) 5:58:24…
- Jean-Michel Vigand (FRA) 3:50:06; 2. Fausto Mota (PRT) 5:09:18; 3. Milos Novakovic (SVN) 5:13:44; 4. Fabien Choffat (CHE) 5:15:26; 5. Jond Christophe (FRA) 5:17:58…
- Mindaugas Simkevicius (LTU) 4:44:38; 2. Antanas Lucinskas (LTU) 4:46:21; 3. Tom Oberndorfer (GER) 4:48:04; 4. Markus Oberndorfer (AUT) 4:55:32; 5. Maksim Gusevskii (RUS) 5:18:57…
Provisional Classification (After Day 2)
- Wade Young (Sherco – RSA) 21:02:38; 2. Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM – GER) 21:06:42; 3. Jonny Walker (KTM – GB) 21:33:05; 4. Billy Bolt (Husqvarna – GB) 23:02:48; 5. Alfredo Gomez (Husqvarna – ESP) 23:35:54; 6. Paul Bolton (KTM – GB) 23:47:05; 7. David Cyprian (KTM – CZE) 16:31:42; 8. Marion Roman (Sherco – ESP) 26:06:21; 9. Blake Gutzeit (Yamaha – RSA) 26:09:42; 10. Philipp Scholz (KTM – DEU) 27:49:22…
- Dieter Rudolf (AUT) 19:17:18; 2. Michael Walkner (AUT) 21:13:03; 3. Josu Artola (ESP) 21:16:04; 4. Emanuel Gyenes (ROU) 21:25:24; 5. Stefan Simpson (GBR) 21:58:49…
- Gianino Coscarelli (BRA) 18:10:00; 2. Milos Novakovic (SVN) 18:24:42; 3. Aivars Kukojs (LVA) 19:19:45 4. Andreas Maier (AUT) 19:23:18; 5. Fausto Mota (PRT) 19:42:38…
- Mindaugas Simkevicius (LTU) 18:26:24; 2. Antanas Lucinskas (LTU) 20:13:59; 3. Markus Oberndorfer (AUT) 20:25:54; 4. Markus Beeler (CHE) 21:44:07; 5. Maksim Gusevskii (RUS) 22:00:03