Auckland’s Chris Birch was not surprisingly again the best-performed of the New Zealand contingent at the Red Bull Romaniacs hard enduro as it wrapped up in the Carpathian Mountains of Romania at the weekend.
Birch, the 2013 New Zealand enduro champion, finished sixth overall in the Pro Class – the event won by Britain’s Graham Jarvis, with Spain’s Alfredo Gomez finishing runner-up and German Andreas Lettenbichler taking the third spot on the podium.
“Today was brutal! So so tough,” said Birch afterwards. “I dragged and scrapped my way to the finish. I think my toughest days riding ever. Korber motorsports have adopted me and are taking care of my bike for me, what legends. So good having kiwis here too!”
The only other Kiwi in the Pro Class, Whangarei’s Adrian Broughton, moved up one spot from 28th (after the prologue) to 27th after day one and eventually finished the event a creditable 17th overall.
In the Expert Single grade, the battle for supremacy erupted between two Kiwi riders, Tokoroa’s Sean Clarke and Te Awamutu’s Kevin Archer, with Clarke eventually winning the grade and Archer slipping back from the No.1 spot to settle at fourth overall for the event.
New Plymouth’s Dougy Herbert had been as high as fifth in this class but he was eventually forced out of the event, along with fellow Kiwi Chris Hilton, of Pukekohe, who had been running as high as 39th.
Also in the Expert Single grade, Taupo’s Greg De Lautour finished 11th, Tokoroa’s Mark Newton finished 27th, Ngaruawahia’s Ray Lempriere finished 30th, Taupo’s Mark De Lautour finished 38th, Auckland’s Mark Auld finished 47th and Pukekohe’s David Lacey 51st.
By winning the fourth and final day of racing at the Red Bull Romaniacs, Jarvis cemented himself as the most successful rider in the 10-year history of the event by collecting his fourth victory.
Going into the final day of racing with a healthy lead, Jarvis looked almost assured of the win, but the Brit maintained his unrelenting pace. Setting off first on the road, Jarvis stayed out front for the entire day. Entering the finishing arena in Dealul Gușteriței, the Husaberg rider breezed his way up the near vertical hill climb before riding into the winner’s enclosure as this year’s Red Bull Romaniacs’ champion.
Leading final overall results (Pro Class):
1. Graham Jarvis, UK, Husaberg, 23 hours 46 minutes 55 seconds
2. Alfredo Gomez, Spain, Husaberg, 24:32:21
3. Andreas Lettenbichler, Germany, Husqvarna, 24:46:57
4. Jonny Walker, Britain, KTM, 24:50:46
5. Paul Bolton, Britain, KTM, 26:01:54
6. Chris Birch New Zealand, KTM, 26:05:26
7. Ben Hemingway, Britain, Beta, 26:42:26
8. Philipp Scholz, Germany, KTM, 32:02:41
9. Lars Enoeckl, Austria, KTM, 32:06:36
10. Wade Young, South Africa, Husaberg, 32:10:37
© Words and photos by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com