Round four of the World Enduro Super Series at Red Bull Romaniacs got off to an exciting start with Great Britain’s Billy Bolt claiming the Gold class prologue win. With the streets of Sibiu lined with thousands of Romanian Enduro fans, the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing rider claimed a start-to-finish win over Sherco Factory Racing’s Wade Young (RSA) in second and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Taddy Blazusiak (POL) third.
With three action-packed finals set for the evening, it was Brazil’s Gianino Coscarelli who claimed the Bronze class victory, while Austria’s Dieter Rudolf proved the rider to beat in the Silver category.
Following a wet and slippery morning of qualification for the competitors representing 53 nations in the 15th edition of the Red Bull Romaniacs, the sky cleared come race time and all three finals were treated to dry conditions.
Setting the fastest time in qualification, Germany’s Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM) was keen to turn that speed into a winning result in the 35-rider Gold class final. However, Bolt had other ideas and immediately took control of the race lead following the Le Mans style start.
With the track heaving with competitors, the British rider kept his cool as he navigated the wacky array of obstacles with ease. Opening up an ever-increasing lead during the 15-minute final, Bolt lapped the entire field to claim the win.
Behind him however the race was anything but sedate as Young, Blazusiak, Lettenbichler and WESS series’ leader Jonny Walker (KTM – GB) all battled for the remainder of the podium positions. With a couple of laps to go, Young pulled clear to claim the runner-up result, while Blazusiak got the better of Lettenbichler on the final lap to grab third.
Walker completed the top five, with Spain’s Pol Tarres (Husqvarna) sixth. Aiming for his seventh Red Bull Romaniacs victory, Graham Jarvis (Husqvarna – GB) — the 2017 winner — got his week off to a comfortable start with seventh.
With the prologue complete, the starting order for the top three Gold class riders is reversed and will see Blazusiak lead the field out for the opening off road day, with Young second and Bolt third. The first off road day is set to be a challenging one as the competitors face a 160-kilometre ride across the Carpathian Mountains to Petrosani for the first of two overnight bivouacs.
Billy Bolt (Husqvarna – GB): “It feels great to get a win in the bag already. I know it’s only the beginning of a very long race but it definitely offers a good sense of confidence and motivation heading into the mountains tomorrow. The race was perfect for me — I think I led it from start to finish and lapped every rider. But of course tomorrow will be a different story. With this win I can start as the third rider and then see what happens.”
Wade Young (Sherco – RSA): “I’m really pleased with second place. I think it’s actually my first time finishing on the podium in the prologue, which is cool to finally get that done. It’s always impossible to know where you are in this race after a couple of laps. I knew I was in a good position and I was riding well but safe. I’m keen for tomorrow, I feel ready for it this year and want to put in a strong ride from the off.”
Taddy Blazusiak (KTM – POL): “I watched the prologue last year and it looked like so much fun so it’s been good to race it. The track rode really well and luckily it stayed dry too. It’s cool to be on the podium but third is a bittersweet position to be in as it means I’ll lead out tomorrow due to the reversed start order of the top three. I don’t have a lot of GPS experience, so with no tracks to follow it’s going to be an interesting start but I’ll give it my best, that’s for sure.”
Gold class results
1. Billy Bolt (Husqvarna – GB) 11 laps 17:50.377
2. Wade Young (Sherco – RSA) 10 laps, 17:56.627
3. Taddy Blazusiak (KTM – POL) 17:58.377
4. Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM – GER) 17:59.877
5. Jonny Walker (KTM – GB) 18:17.127
6. Pol Tarres (Husqvarna – ESP) 18:34.130
7. Graham Jarvis (Husqvarna – GB) 18:55.377
8. Paul Bolton (KTM – GB) 19:04.880
9. Alfredo Gomez (Husqvarna – ESP) 19:39.130
10. Blake Gutzeit (Yamaha – RSA) 9 laps, 18:48.377
Photo credit: Future7Media