After two days of Britain’s Graham Jarvis leading the way, it was the turn of expatriate Kiwi Chris Birch to take the lead on day two of the Red Bull Romaniacs extreme enduro in Sibiu, Romania.
With the going very tough, some riders elected to team up, for example Birch working with Germany’s Andreas Lettenbichler.
Birch however was struggling with an old hand injury, which he kept cooling in ice after the finish. Letti also had started the race handicapped with a torn tendon at his ankle and was suffering every time he had to put his foot down. Bringing a handicap to the race was not a big problem for most of the day, but, in the end, the track manager had prepared an uphill section through a muddy riverbed filled with logs (Pros only).
He is not a very popular man after inflicting this pain on the competitors.
Jarvis was struggling with navigation – which helped Birch take the lead from him for the day. Jarvis got kicked off his bike twice, during the higher speed passages but again showed a few unbelievable stunts in the steeper downhill sections.
“I started off really good, found a good rhythm – even though it was difficult in the long grass sometimes; but then I had a crash, hit a tree and I was also catching up on some hobby riders, waited for them and then had another crash in their dust – that kind of spoiled it a bit,” said Jarvis.
“I also missed a few turns, so I lost some time there. But there are still two days ahead and it’s going to be interesting.”
Birch was happy with his performance.
“I had a much better day today and had an awesome time. The bike was great. The heat was not so much of a problem, the track was mainly quite flowing so got a bit of venting going on, it wasn’t so bad. Only the last bit, a muddy section in a riverbed with wood-logs all over the place was quite nasty.”
An amazing display of camaraderie saw two pro riders sacrificing 10 minutes from their race times to help fellow pro Darryl Curtis.
Curtis faced a tough day, perhaps his toughest in his history as a familiar face on the Romaniacs’ racetrack. Crashing at high speed in the woods, which sent him tumbling through the trees, had him believing that he was “finished”. Although he was not hurt his bike became stuck in a ravine, which is how Martin Volny and Emanuel Gyennes found him. Had Curtis been injured both riders would have been given the time back that they spent helping him, thankfully he wasn’t, and knowing this, both Volny and Gyennes took the precious time to see him back on the track again. Rather than take the opportunity to make a lead on Curtis they showed true sportsmanship. It is acts like this that demonstrate the true Romaniacs’ spirit.
Meanwhile, another Kiwi rider Sean Clarke, of Tokoroa, was running an astounding 13th overall in the professional class.
The two-time ISDE Gold Medal winners and 11-times New Zealand enduro champion, reported in that the course was “very hard”.
“It had very steep uphills and rocky river bed climbs and a downhill that you have to slide your bike down.
“They really put some sick stuff in for the pro class. On one downhill, the spectators had a rope and pulley system to lower your bike down the last 50 metres … it was vertical.”
A third Kiwi, Taupo’s Mark Delautour, finds himself running ninth in the Expert Single Class.
© Photos by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com and Sebastian Marcovici
Results after day two:
1 1 Chris Birch NZL KTM300 6:08:48
2 2 Graham Jarvis ENG Husaberg 300 6:11:46
3 3 Andreas Lettenbichler DEU Husqvarna 6:27:33
4 4 Paul Bolton GBR KTM EXC 6:39:55
5 9 Melcior Faja ESP KTM 300 6:44:03
6 12 Xavi Galindo ESP Husaberg 300 6:44:44
7 11 Martin Volny CZE Beta 450 RR 7:12:58
8 8 Lars Enoeckl AUT KTM 7:13:03
9 5 Gerhard Forster DEU Husqvarna TE 449 7:13:54
10 6 Darryl Curtis RSA KTM 300 EXC 7:14:41
11 17 Ervin-Zsolt Kovacs ROU GAS GAS 7:21:24
12 7 Emanuel Gyenes ROU KTM 300 EXC-E 7:35:21
13 14 Sean Clarke NZL KTM 300exc 7:35:24
14 16 William Clifton Gillit RSA Husaberg 300 9:53:54
15 10 Jesus Zavala MEX Husaberg TE 300 18:17:33
16 19 Paulo Miranda POR Yamahayz 18:17:57
17 13 Mathias Weichselmann DEU Yamaha 28:36:36
DNF 18 Dominic Mantle RSA Husaberg 300
DNS 20 Ter Jung Jens DEU Husqvarna TE 449