Wade Young wins Red Bull Romaniacs | News
Sherco Factory Racing’s Wade Young (RSA) has claimed victory at the fourth round of the World Enduro Super Series, Red Bull Romaniacs.
Runner-up on the fourth and final off-road day of the world’s toughest Hard Enduro Rallye, Young has etched his name into the history books as the youngest winner of the 15-year running of the race. At the end of an epic week-long battle, he was joined on the podium by Germany’s Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM) and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jonny Walker (GB) in second and third respectively.
“I can’t believe it, I am over the moon to have won. It’s been such a long race and so tough,” said Young. “Manni caught me early on today. He would gap me on the hills and then I would have to charge on the fast sections to reel him back in. It went like that for the whole day right until the last couple of checkpoints where I was able to break away from him before the finish. It’s always been my goal to win here and now I’ve managed to tick that box. It’s the toughest race in the world and it feels awesome to have won it.”
There were further celebrations with Austria’s Dieter Rudolf winning the Silver category, Brazil’s Gianino Coscarelli claiming victory in the Bronze category and Lithuania’s Mindaugas Simkevicius topping the Iron class.
With just four minutes separating Young and Lettenbichler entering the final day of racing at Red Bull Romaniacs, the outcome of round four was too close to call. Young led the field away and pushed hard from the off. But Lettenbichler was making time in the early sections and by the midway point had caught up to Young, but also brought Walker with him.
On a technical climb after the service point Lettenbichler found a way past the Sherco rider and suddenly it looked like the fight for victory was weighing in the 20-year-old German’s favour. However, the South African had other ideas and after taking a moment to regroup he made his break with about 20 kilometres to go. Pulling clear, he charged his way into the Gusterita finishing arena and despite not winning the day topped the event overall to become the fourth different winner in this year’s WESS championship.
Ending his participation in the 2018 Red Bull Romaniacs in the best possible way with victory on the final day, Lettenbichler also secured his debut Red Bull Romaniacs’ podium result. For Walker, another strong ride saw him cement his position of third overall in the Hard Enduro Rallye. However, with Lettenbichler securing his third top three result this season, he now moves to within 185 points of series leader Walker as they pass the halfway point in the championship.
“That was so gnarly. Wade and myself pushed hard today and rode it like a motocross race – a six-hour motocross! I gave my best to try and keep him behind me, but every time I gapped him, he fought back,” said Lettenbichler. “My strength this year was on the hills — I think that comes down to training, good bike set up and determination. With a podium result at three rounds of the WESS championship things are starting to look good. Jonny has a bit of an advantage, but the gap is reducing.”
Jonny Walker (KTM – GB): “Congratulations to Wade and Manni — those guys were really on it for the whole event. I gave my all today and I’m pleased with the outcome of this race as I had plenty of issues during it. But I kept pushing on and focused on maintaining my lead in WESS. I’m looking forward to the next round — Red Bull 111 Megawatt. I’ve won it three times, so I’ll be pushing for a fourth.”
Behind the top three, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Billy Bolt finished fifth on the final day of racing to end his Red Bull Romaniacs in fourth overall. Building pace throughout the week, Spain’s Alfredo Gomez (Husqvarna) took fourth on Off Road Day 4 to complete the top five in the overall classification.
Just missing out on an overall top five position, Paul Bolton (KTM – GB) was sixth, while David Cyprian (KTM – CZE) was seventh. South Africa’s Blake Gutzeit (Yamaha) was eighth, Mario Roman (Sherco – ESP) ninth and Philipp Scholz (KTM – GER) rounded out the top 10.
As the 2017 winner of Romaniacs, Graham Jarvis began the 15th edition of the race aiming to claim his seventh victory. Finishing fourth on the opening day in the mountains, but 17 minutes behind the leaders, the Husqvarna rider was not happy with his riding. However, despite citing a lack of energy, he battled through Off Road Day 2 to maintain fourth. Starting the penultimate day feeling low on energy and fatigued, he was forced to withdraw from the race before the midday service point.
“Deciding to stop on Off Road Day 3 was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do but it was the most sensible option to take,” said Jarvis. “I simply had no more energy to continue and knew the safest thing to do was retire from the race. The race this year was tough, one of the toughest for a very long time and right from the off I just wasn’t feeling right. I didn’t get into that groove like I normally do and was struggling in places where I knew I shouldn’t have been. I really wanted to challenge for a seventh Romaniacs win this year but it wasn’t to be. My focus now is to rest and recuperate and get back to full fitness and energy for the rest of the WESS championship.”
The World Enduro Super Series continues with round five at Red Bull 111 Megawatt in Poland on September 8-9.
World Enduro Super Series, Round 4 – Provisional Final Overall Classification
1. Wade Young (Sherco) 26:03:15
2. Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM) 26:05:30
3. Jonny Walker (KTM) 26:39:22
4. Billy Bolt (Husqvarna) 28:27:36
5. Alfredo Gomez (Husqvarna) 28:55:17
6. Paul Bolton (KTM) 29:43:36
Provisional World Enduro Super Series Standings (after 4 of 8 rounds)
1. Jonny Walker (GBR) 2900 points
2. Manuel Lettenbichler (GER) 2715 pts
3. Billy Bolt (GBR) 2520 pts
4. Wade Young (RSA) 2220 pts
5. Paul Bolton (GBR) 1832 pts
6. Graham Jarvis (GBR) 1818 pts