Extreme Enduro

2020 Romaniacs: The champ takes the lead – Manuel Lettenbichler wins day 2

Manuel Lettenbichler

Manuel Lettenbichler

As the competitors lined up at the start in Orlat for Offroad Day 2, they were faced with between 97-110 km of tracks. Even at sunrise you could already tell it was going to be another perfect fall day which has to be the best news any competitor at the Red Bull Romaniacs can have.

At 07:45 Graham Jarvis, ranking first after Offroad Day 1, was on fire as he sped off the start. He was followed by Mani Lettenbichler and Billy Bolt. Letti set off like a bat out of hell after Jarvis, determined to make up the time difference between the two in order to defend his title from last year. After the first 45 minutes, he was almost 2 minutes ahead of Jarvis. The battle for the victory appeared to be between the two. Mani reached the service point 50 seconds behind Jarvis. At the next checkpoint after that, he had caught up with him and from there they rode back and forth with each other to the finish.

Meanwhile, Wade Young, Billy Bolt and Alfredo Gomez also had a good start to the day and were fast approaching the leaders when problems started to arise. Billy Bolt fell and tumbled down a steep, rocky section all the way to the bottom and lost precious time climbing back up. Taddy Blazusiak was less fortunate today and experienced severe shoulder pain and decided at the service point that he was unable to continue.

Gomez caught up with Young and they rode together until the last part of the day when Wade pushed himself to the maximum on a flatter section while Gomez chose to be more cautious and avoid injury, this cost him his position with the leaders of the pack.

Although Jarvis crossed the finish line in front of Mani, he actually fell into 2nd place overall, with 2 minutes, 18 seconds behind the leader and Wade Young managed to make up enough time to place third overall, 5 minutes, 13 seconds behind Mani.

With Offroad Day 2 over, Alfredo Gomez and Billy Bolt still have a chance at gaining a position on the podium, for Mario Roman, it will be a lot harder with an almost 40 minute gap away from the leader, which will prove difficult to recover from in the two remaining days of the competition.

Although the tracks today were extremely technical with some unbelievably steep sections such as Galindo ridge and Brother of K2, which to any “normal” rider would seem impossible, the level of these top athletes has reached another plateau and despite the hugely technical terrain they were still able to enjoy it and come out of it with some energy remaining.

Silver class seems to be a knife edge battle. Two of the competitors broke away from the rest of the platoon and it looks like they will fight for the next two days shoulder to shoulder for first place. Peter Weiss from Denmark came out first on the track today, followed a few minutes behind by the French Fabien Poirot. The two took turns to dominate the race, Poirot came first at checkpoint 2 but Weiss overtook him at the service point and so it continued. The overall time difference between the two is now 2 minutes and 49 seconds.

In the Bronze class, Eddie Findling from Germany seems to stand out as the strongest candidate for first position. After the qualifications and two days offroad, Findling is almost 10 minutes ahead of Bernard Hugo (FRA) in second place and almost 20 minutes ahead of Alexander Gehlert (DEU), in third place.

Mani Gyenes, the only athlete to finish all 17 editions of the Red Bull Romaniacs, won Offroad Day 2 and he is leading in the overall with an advantage of 40 seconds in front of Courty Romain (FRA). Murray Shotter (IRL) is 24 minutes behind the leader.

The Atom class is being led by Romanian Dan Mateescu by 17 minutes, ahead of Rich Mumford (USA), and then over an hour gap before Reverte Euzebio (FRA).

Offroad Day 3 will be a tough one and starts again at 07:45 in the morning. The Gold class will cover 135 km, Silver class 130 km, Bronze class 128 km, Iron class 114km and Atom class 106 km.

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