Sherco Factory Racing’s Wade Young topped the time sheets on the opening day of racing at round four of the FIM Hard Enduro World Championship, Red Bull Romaniacs.
The 2018 Red Bull Romaniacs winner was quick to make his mark on the 18th edition of the world’s toughest Hard Enduro Rallye, setting the quickest time in Tuesday’s Time Trial Qualification. He led home a stacked field, with Jarvis Husqvarna Racing’s Teodor Kabakchiev second and Rockstar Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Alfredo Gomez third.
With anticipation high, the opening day of competition was an early one as competitors tackled an 18-kilometre-long Time Trial Qualification. With the results determining the starting order for tomorrow’s Offroad Day 1 – the first of four offroad days – a strong result would pay dividends.
Race winner in 2020, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Manuel Lettenbichler led the Gold class away, but an early fall put him on the back foot as Young put the power down from the off. Fastest through the first checkpoint, he kept that momentum rolling to the finish line and claimed a healthy 19-second win after 37 minutes of racing.
Bulgaria’s Teodor Kabakchiev produced one of the day’s surprise results with the second fastest time. Kabakchiev finished eighth in 2020 but is already showing he wants more in 2021. Starting third on the road, Gomez was a little sluggish to settle in coming through checkpoint 1 in 12th, but he soon turned that around by jumping to third overall at the finish.
“I’m happy with my qualifying here at Romaniacs. My start position was a little late, so I had a few slower riders in front, but I was still able to get through and finish in a good time. I did have one crash that cost me a few seconds, but I was able to pick myself up and get back on it pretty fast. I’m really looking forward to the rest of the event now. I enjoyed myself today, the bike feels good and the weather here in Romania is nice and dry this year. Conditions in the forests are dry, so you can really push and make good headway, even in the more technical sections. We’ll see what the rest of the event is like though, I think it’s going to be a tough one!”
Hampered by that early fall, Lettenbichler regrouped from eighth at checkpoint 1 to claim fourth, while GASGAS Factory Racing’s Taddy Blazusiak put in a consistently solid ride for fifth, edging out Graham Jarvis (Husqvarna) by one second.
Canada’s Trystan Hart was the top performing rookie of the day, with the KTM rider claiming seventh.
Abestone Hard Enduro winner Billy Bolt (Husqvarna) didn’t have the best outing in 10th, with Mario Roman (Sherco) and Jonny Walker (Beta) in 11th and 12th respectively. However, with ground to make up, the trio will be ones to watch for on Offroad Day 1.
“It’s been good to get Red Bull Romaniacs underway. Conditions were fast and dusty out there, but I felt happy straight away and my bike was working great. I’m looking forward to the rest of the week.”
2021 FIM Hard Enduro World Championship
Red Bull Romaniacs: Time Trial Qualification
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