Jarvis lines up for Red Bull Romaniacs aiming for win seven
One of the world’s best Enduro riders, Graham Jarvis (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing) has consistently risen to the challenge of Red Bull Romaniacs — the world’s toughest Hard Enduro Rallye — having taken the title six times, with his sights set on a seventh.
Entering the 15th edition of the race following his Erzbergrodeo Red Bull Hare Scramble victory, he’s hungry to add another win to his WESS tally in this year’s race.
Graham Jarvis talks Red Bull Romaniacs
With an Erzbergrodeo Red Bull Hare Scramble win in your pocket, does that add confidence leading into round four of WESS at Red Bull Romaniacs?
Graham Jarvis: To an extent it does but both races are world’s apart — Red Bull Romaniacs is such a different animal than the Erzbergrodeo Red Bull Hare Scramble. It’s five days of racing including four long days in the mountains. You are alone for so much of it, riding unknown terrain and riding on instinct. At the Iron Giant you can do a lot of preparation for the main race, but in Romania that’s not possible. Of course I know I’m riding well and going there as the 2017 winner means a lot too. I feel like I’m in a good place right now to get my seventh victory.
Regarded as the world’s toughest Hard Enduro Rallye, how do you prepare for a multi-day race like Red Bull Romaniacs?
Jarvis: Honestly, it’s very difficult. Everything I’ve done this year helps prepare towards the Red Bull Romaniacs. You need to be fit, injury free and mentally strong. You need a good base level of riding fitness too. That only comes from training and racing. Although round three of WESS at Trèfle Lozérien AMV was not my type of event I could benefit a lot from it. We had three long and physical days on the bike. Each day was unique, so we rode fresh terrain too, covering over 600 kilometres in total. And all of this came just four days after the Erzbergrodeo, which was another three days of hard racing. Factor in the special test walking in France too and I can see that my fitness is good and strong, which will benefit me in Romania.
The Red Bull Romaniacs prologue is an amazing start to the Hard Enduro Rallye, do you enjoy the spectacle of it?
Jarvis: I’m a mountains man, so I’m most happiest in the wilderness. I enjoy the prologue but I don’t stress too much about it. I try to aim for a top five result — that’s always a realistic goal for me. But I do love the spectacle of it. There’s always a good atmosphere and so many people come out to watch. It’s impossible not to put on a show for them.
With five demanding days of racing ahead for round four of WESS, do you apply any race tactics for it?
Jarvis: The race has evolved so much in the last decade. Each day is becoming more and more of a sprint. In the past you could afford to have a bad section or two but now you must be sharp all of the time. However, at the same time you need to know when to push at 85 or 90 per cent and when 70 per cent will do. I try to have a strong opening day in the mountains, but leave a little in reserve. It helps me judge where everyone else is at. You don’t want to lose much time on day one.
We’ll see two overnight bivouacs take competitors away from Sibiu this year, what do you think that will add to the race?
Jarvis: The two overnight bivouacs will definitely add to the ‘Rallye feel’ of the race. It’s good to see the organisers going to the extra effort of doing that. It keeps the race fresh and challenging, even for myself. It also means we will have new tracks to ride with new sections to level the playing field. These off road days could easily become a game changer in the outcome of the race.
As one of the race’s most experienced riders, what top tips have you learned over the years?
Jarvis: Sleep and eat! That’s my best advice for anyone doing Red Bull Romaniacs. If you’re tired you can’t function. Make sure to top up on sleep before the race starts, then after the prologue don’t stay up too late either. Each off road day starts at 6.30am, so that means you might be awake from 4.30am and after two days in the mountains that really burns on you. When we finish each day I try to get a two-hour sleep in the afternoon to recover. Eating breakfast at 4.30am is almost impossible, so I bring food I’m familiar with. I have Ready Brek and eat that — it’s like porridge but quick and easy to make and is a slow-burner food, so you stay fuller for longer.
Finally, it’s 10 years since your first Red Bull Romaniacs victory, is the goal to win in 2018?
Jarvis: It’s amazing to think that 10 years since my first Red Bull Romaniacs win that I’ll be racing for my seventh victory this year. It’s something I never really expected to happen. I’ve won it with three different manufacturers, on a two-stroke and a four-stroke, and now against two generations of riders. Even though I have accomplished everything I ever wanted to in the race I just love coming back to Romania and riding there. It’s an amazing place and one where I feel my best, which I guess is why I’ve been so successful. A seventh win is the target, but I’m not going to think about that too much yet.
Round four of the World Enduro Super Series takes place at Red Bull Romaniacs in Sibiu, Romania on July 24-28.
World Enduro Super Series – 2018 Schedule
- Rnd 1. Extreme XL Lagares (Portugal) May 11-13
- Rnd 2. Erzbergrodeo (Austria) May 31-June 3
- Rnd 3. Trèfle Lozérien AMV (France) June 8-10
- Rnd 4. Red Bull Romaniacs (Romania) July 24-28
- Rnd 5. Red Bull 111 Megawatt (Poland) September 8-9
- Rnd 6. Hawkstone Park Cross-Country (England) September 22-23
- Rnd 7. Gotland Grand National (Sweden) October 26-27
- Rnd 8. Red Bull Knock Out (The Netherlands) November 10