Red Bull Romaniacs Offroad Day 4, a very well earned final day of what many competitors refer to as the toughest Romaniacs ever.
Mani Lettenbichler (DEU, KTM) dominated the race from the begining and set out onto the tracks today with a 58 minutes, 4 seconds lead over his closest rival Trystan Hart (CAN, KTM), who was 1 hour and 21 minutes ahead of Billy Bolt (GBR, Husqvarna).
There wasn’t much that could come between the two leaders to change their overall ranking when they went out onto the tracks this morning.
The battle that all eyes were on was between Billy Bolt (GBR, Husqvarna) and Teo Kabakchiev (BGR, Econt) who had less than 5 minutes between them at the start of the day and both of them were hungry for the third position on the podium.
The sun was shining and the tracks were in good condition for the final day. Mani Lettenbichler hit the tracks hard, he knew that he wasn’t competing for minutes like he has in the past.
Teo Kabakchiev on the other hand was and he was on fire, pushing Mani until he finally got in front him. Today’s signature sections included ‘The revenge’, ‘Ass slide’, ‘Steroid, ‘Flying Ford’ and the renowned technical ‘Wolf’s Nest’. After 99 km of tracks today Kabakchiev arrived at the Hillclimbs first, he made an error on a vertical hill giving Mani the opportunity to pass him again and arrive through the finishing arch in first position, making it his
fourth win at Red Bull Romaniacs.
Teo Kabakchiev did have the fastest times of the day by 2 minutes, 3 seconds. Mario Roman (ESP, Sherco) had the third fastest time followed by Wade Young (ZAF, Sherco) who really rode some fast times after the Service Point.
Bolt was feeling the toll of the four days on his body and wasn’t on true form right from the start, this cost him a spot on the podium. Trystan Hart had enough of a lead overall that he was able to ride a strong but comfortable race and still come in second overall, making him the first ever Canadian on the Romaniacs podium and only his second time at Romaniacs.
The final 2023 Edition 20 ‘The Impossible’ GOLD results were:
1. Mani Lettenbichler (DEU, KTM) Total ride time 19h45m15s, FOUR TIME WINNER
2. Tryastan Hart (CAN, KTM) Total ride time 20h55m14s
3. Teo Kabakchiev (BGR, Econt) Total ride time 21h9m16s
The Offroad Days were considered the toughest ever and split the top ten elite Gold riders into a category of their own, including the following riders in order of their finishing positions: 4. Billy Bolt (GBR, Husqvarna), 5. Wade Young (ZAF, Sherco), 6. Michael Walkner (AUT, GASGAS), 7. Mario Roman (ESP, Sherco), 8. Graham Jarvis (GBR, Jarvis Racing), 9. Sonny Goggia (ITA),10. Matthew Green (ZAF).
The final Hillclimbs arena was full of cheering spectators who came for the show of hard enduro madness. Andy Fazekas, Prolog Director designed a track that combined serious vertical climbs with Prolog style obstacles including ladders, ramps, jumps and of course, water, creating a special finish for the Edition 20 anniversary.
Trystan Hart was the first rider to conquer the full length of the uphill to reach the Red Bull arch at the top, giving him the King of the Hill status for the second consecutive year.
Without fail the Edition 20 delivered extremes. The weather gods played a big part in increasing the extreme levels; thunder, lightening, strong hail and winds hitting competitors out in the Romanian wilderness on Offroad Day 1, making the tracks almost ‘Impossible’ to ride with survival mode being the only strategy.
Mani Lettenbichler: “Crazy Romaniacs as always, yeah! I can’t believe it, it’s crazy to win another one here. Last year I became 6th and definitely I wanted to have a redemption this year and it paid off. This week went so perfect, that’s definitely a way to win a race!”
Teo Kabakchiev: “I’m very happy. I managed to recuperate 30 minutes penalty from the first day throughout the three following days. I’m very happy for my sponsor Econt and all Bulgarians that are supporting me – this is a huge achievement for me.”
In Silver Class, the top six competitors had little time differences between them heading into the final day so they were all in battle mode knowing they had a chance for the podium.
The tracks would cover 129 km of long uphills, reaching high elevations, spectacular scenery and long, heavy downhills, a good mix of classic hard enduro to finish the four days with. Ben Wibberley (GBR) managed to finish in first on two of the four days and gained the top spot on the podium today.
1. Ben Wibberley (GBR)
2. Valentino Hutter (AUT)
3. Sergiu Grecu (ROU)
Legend Emanuel Gyenes (ROU) who has completed all twenty editions of the Red
Bull Romaniacs came in the eleventh position.
It was a long and technical day today for the Bronze Class, covering 136 km, they
were not given any breaks for the final day. Combined with the long, tough day yesterday and the previous days competitors had to dig deep to get to the finish.
The top two competitors in Bronze were in the lead by 47 minutes at the start of the day and with no mistakes they held their positions until the finish:
1. Jürg Schütz (CHE)
2. Ovidiu Nistor (ROU)
3. Priit Biene (EST)
Kevin Gallas (DEU) brought his Yamaha Ténéré 700 into the finish in position 132. Marcel Michitsch (DEU) came in an amazing 81st position after the 4 days, a true achievement considering he was competing with one prosthetic leg and through some terrible weather events.
Together with his teammate Sebastian “Busty” Wolter, position 63 (DEU), former freestyle legend, they were competing in order to raise funds for their charity MISSION RACE -Race Against Cancer Enduro.
Kevin Gallas (DEU) brought his Yamaha Ténéré 700 into the finish in position 132.
Iron riders had to put their endurance to the test today. Concentration and determination were important in order to reach the finish arena and the Hillclimbs. It was a tough day, 108 km followed by the infamous hill climbs to finish them off.
Competitors were cheered on by locals in the mountains and they passed through some spectacular scenery.
1. Robert Adams (GBR)
2. Samuel Defoy (BEL)
3. Paul Bulai (ROU)
Female finishers: 68. Leni Binder-Moss (ROU) and 96. Lisa Bowman (GBR).
If anyone from Atom Class thought they’d had an easier time so far then they were shocked today, the tracks were demanding and competitors had to be strong and show true grit to finish the 103 km followed by the final Hillclimbs.
The top three competitors had battled back and forth all week and managed to hold
onto their lead positions all coming in within 3 minutes 32 seconds of each other.
1. Janis Stauers (LVA)
2. Moritz Müller (DEU)
3. Daniel Cernusca (ROU)
For amateur classes, this may be considered the race of their lifetime facing tough challenges and conditions to push through to reach the finish. Track Director, Teo Isaac ensured that every class had a good dose of the real Romaniac’s hard enduro-style tracks and would be pushed beyond their ‘normal’ limits and comfort, while experiencing the unique Romanian terrain and landscape and finally being rewarded with lifelong memories.
Martin Freinademetz, founder: “The Impossible lived up to its name. Impossible for some to finish and others fought till the end, reaching the finish. It has been a tough competition for us to organise after the pandemic years, we had the participants who had to cancel during that time all returning this year.
Thanks to our track crew and good logistics planning we were able to have controlled racing. In all five classes, there were a lot of tracks only being used by that one class and not a lot of common trails and so no queues and good and fair racing.
Competitors experienced every type of weather condition from hot to wet, very stormy and ugly, it was a good variety of Romaniacs conditions! It has been a really successful twentieth edition and I look forward to another twenty.
Thank you to the team and the Enduro community.