New Zealand enduro legend Chris Birch is again heading off shore for the five days of pain, suffering and amazing riding that is the Red Bull Romaniacs rally.
“This year I am part of the proper factory KTM team for the race which is a real honour,” said the Aucklander.
“I will be racing a KTM300EXC-E which is the perfect bike for this sort of race. The last two years I have been doing it pretty much as a privateer with support from friends and family but this year it’s all pro.
“My training and build up for Romaniacs has been really good. After a disappointing result in Erzberg I have been training really hard and have spent many happy hours cycling around the Waitakere ranges in the pouring rain.
“What hopefully will make all the difference is the two weeks I spent riding in Mexico at high elevation. The thin air makes your body work overtime and is a great way of boosting fitness. Whilst I was there I did two rounds of the World Enduro Champs where I scraped in two top-10 finishes in the E2 class on a very second-hand 250 two stroke.
“Navigation is a huge part of the Red Bull Romaniacs Rally as most of the track is pretty poorly marked and in some places not marked at all.
“We have to follow a GPS to find the way and in the past this is where I have really struggled. This year I have a new, much more advanced GPS and spent some time in Mexico practicing with it. Hopefully I can spend more time racing this year and less time scratching my head and riding round in circles!
“The Romaniacs rally is really long, really tough and a huge mental challenge but I am totally up for the challenge and don’t want any more third-place trophies.”
Photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com