The Red Bull Romaniacs off-road Day 2 was a tough one to wake up to after a long cold, wet and muddy the previous day on the trail that saw weather conditions turn the course from tough to really extreme. However, the majority of competitors pushed through to make it through the day.
That long day had not only took its toll on their bodies but now it was also time for them to go to work on their battered steeds to prepare them for the days ahead.
Thursday saw competitors on their bikes at 6.30 in the morning as a sunrise over a cloud inversion in the valley below as the rain and fog had cleared to make things a little easier. Organisers had also changed the course layout for the day from the ‘Bad weather version’, to the ‘Worst Weather Version’ due to the previous days rain that had left the tracks in a very challenging state. The tracks were still technical and demanded good riding skills for the Bronze and Iron class, however the course for the Gold and Silver classes the level of insanity was not reduced, just the time they had to endure it.
The track layout, terrain and weather conditions appeared to be favourable for Manuel Lettenbichler, Wade Young and Jonny Walker.
Jonny is a two time winner (2014 & 2015) and was the youngest winner in the history of the Red Bull Romaniacs at the age of 23. Wade Young was the youngest rider ever on the podium (3rd in 2014 and 2016) and Manuel Lettenbichler scored a fourth place in 2016 and 2017.
The trio ploughed through this mornings toughest sections at motocross speeds, taking turns in who was arriving at the checkpoints first and breathing down each other’s necks.
After the service point, the “young guns” Letti and Wade were able to distance themselves slightly from Walker, and kept duelling for every second. Sections like “Dragon spike”, “Straja rock garden” and “Bikini hill” became the battlegrounds for them to fight it out. “America’s cup”, just before the service point, was the toughest signature section today.
The chase secured Wade Young the win of the day (1st), Jonny Walker, just a few seconds behind, the 2nd place and Manuel Lettenbichler the third place. Overall position in the race: 1. Wade Young, 2. Manuel Lettenbichler, 3. Jonny Walker.
Wade Young (Sherco – RSA) – P1 overall
“Overall, it’s been another good day. I’m enjoying the long days on the bike and seem to build my pace more and more towards the end. This morning Jonny and Manni were really pushing the pace, I wasn’t 100 per cent comfortable and so had to sit back. During the afternoon I relaxed into it more and brought the fight to them. We’re only halfway into the race so there’s still two big days to come but, like I said, I’m enjoying it and so that’s got to be a good thing running this pace.”
“Today was longer than expected and also faster. There were some pretty gnarly sections though to keep things challenging. Jonny, Wade and myself were so close this morning and then in the afternoon we broke away from Jonny and it was another full gas fight to the finish. Wade’s gained some time on me but there’s a long way to go and tomorrow will be another big day for sure.”
Jonny Walker (KTM – GB) – P3 overall
“This morning went really well and I was able to pressure Manni and Wade. In the afternoon I found it hard to get the same traction on some of the hills and lost a bit of time. I was falling back a little so just tried to ride smooth and limit the damage as best I could. There’s two days left to race, so there’s everything to play for.”
“I hurt my shoulder yesterday in a crash so I wasn’t sure how today would go. The slippery conditions and a sore shoulder made it tough to properly control the bike but I’m fighting on. Considering everything I’m happy with fourth today, because this is also only my second time racing with GPS. My confidence is growing on the navigation side of things and I’m looking forward to tomorrow to improve again.”
Australia’s Robert Nowak secured third place for the day in the Silver class while overall it is still Tim Coleman as the top placed Aussie in 27th outright while countryman Grady Byrne is 31st.
The Bronze riders were briefly haunted by memories of yesterday as they were confronted with a steep downhill which they had to ride with the Gold and Silver classes at the beginning of the day. There was great relief when their trail veered off to their own version of Offroad day 2.
After the day from hell yesterday the Silver class were grateful for a more flowy day where they were able to stay on their bikes more and less time spent pushing and lifting it. They were served a fine balance of all terrain types, including sections resembling “natural” versions of the Red Bull Romaniacs prologue such as the Straja Rock Garden. The Iron class felt relief for a really enjoyable and scenic day with open meadows with some steep sections thrown in to keep it challenging to the right degree.
Red Bull Romaniacs, Off Road Day 2
Wade Young (Sherco – RSA) 5:51:17
Jonny Walker (KTM – GB) 5:51:59
Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM – GER) 5:54:16
Taddy Blazusiak (KTM – POL) 6:08:33
Paul Bolton (KTM – GB) 6:17:51
Billy Bolt (Husqvarna – GB) 6:18:39
Graham Jarvis (Husqvarna – GB) 6:18:54
Alfredo Gomez (Husqvarna – ESP) 6:45:01
Blake Gutzeit (Yamaha – RSA) 6:59:05
David Cyprian (KTM – CZE) 7:01:13…
Michael Walkner (AUT) 5:45:02
Dieter Rudolf (AUT) 5:46:59
Robert Nowak (AUS) 5:56:43
Josu Artola (ESP) 5:58:24
Stefan Simpson (GBR) 5:58:39…
Jean-Michel Vigand (FRA) 3:50:06
Norman Thomas (NZL) 4:02:07
Jond Christophe (FRA) 4:02:36
Bruno Freitas (PRT) 4:05:44; 5. Mark Tielemans (NLD) 4:06:55…
Mindaugas Simkevicius (LTU) 2:11:08
Markus Oberndorfer (AUT) 2:13:01
Tom Oberndorfer (GER) 2:21:47
Antanas Lucinskas (LTU) 2:22:42
Markus Beeler (CHE) 2:27:02…
Provisional Classification (After Day 2)
Wade Young (Sherco – RSA) 14:08:41
Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM – GER) 14:12:37
Jonny Walker (KTM – GB) 14:21:32
Graham Jarvis (Husqvarna – GB) 14:54:17
Taddy Blazusiak (KTM – POL) 15:11:13
Billy Bolt (Husqvarna – GB) 15:23:15
Paul Bolton (KTM – GB) 15:25:12
Alfredo Gomez (Husqvarna – ESP) 15:55:42
David Cyprian (KTM – CZE) 16:31:42
Blake Gutzeit (Yamaha – RSA) 16:38:54…
Dieter Rudolf (AUT) 13:55:01
Josu Artola (ESP) 15:22:22
Emanuel Gyenes (ROU) 15:37:35
Michael Walkner (AUT) 15:40:28
Stefan Simpson (GBR) 15:52:28…
Gianino Coscarelli (BRA) 12:47:28
Bieri Marc (CHE) 13:00:07
Milos Novakovic (SVN) 13:10:58
Andreas Maier (AUT) 13:42:47
Aivars Kukojs (LVA) 13:46:54…
Mindaugas Simkevicius (LTU) 13:41:46
Dani Coufal (ESP) 14:21:03
Antanas Lucinskas (LTU) 15:27:38
Markus Oberndorfer (AUT) 15:30:22
Markus Beeler (CHE) 16:23:30
Mindaugas Simkevicius (LTU) – Iron class leader
“This morning started really well, but I forgot my water after the service point and had nothing to drink for the rest of the day. I think that caused me to tire quicker than normal and in the second half of the day I made a lot of mistakes. But conditions were a lot better out there today than yesterday; the track was really good fun to ride and I’m delighted to be leading at this stage in the race.”
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