Romaniacs Day 2: Rookies Galindo strike back

Romaniacs Day 2: Rookies Galindo strike back
At the second Offroad-day of Red Bull Romaniacs Rallye 2009 from Sibiu to the outside Bivouac at Petrosani, prologue-winner and Rallye-Rookie Xavier Galindo-Arbones could fight back and win today’s stage…

…ahead of fellow newcomer, Andreas Lettenbichler, and ahead of the experienced Romaniacs veterans Cyril Despres and Chris Birch on third, respectably fourth positions.
In a stage laid out smooth, but baring a lot of mileage, fast parts exchanged with some technically challenging sections, making it a long and an overall-satisfying ride for the field.
Over 270 kilometers of finest single-trails and fast sections were the base on which today’s stage has been designed by the organizers, and it’s been up to the first-timers in Enduro-Rallye sport to strike back against the establishment: Spaniard Xavier Galindo-Arbones (KTM) won this stage, ahead of his shadow, Andi Lettenbichler (GER/BMW) and the two following top-contenders, three times Romaniacs-winner Cyril Despres(AND/KTM) and yesterday’s successor, Chris Birch (NZL/KTM).
Aside of some fast gravel-sections, some steep, zig-zagging climbes were to overcome, followed by some endless downhill-sections in which even offroad-brakes turned out to become soft due to the heat, which made it all somewhat exhausting, but enjoyable to ride, especially for the pros.
‘I like it and hate it at the same time when it’s getting that fast, because one’s always close to a crash, while the fast riding as such, especially on the wider gravel roads, is just so much fun’, stated today’s winner in the finish.
The two were followed by a highly motivated pair of Red Bull Romaniacs veterans: Cyril Despres and Chris Birch were charging hard to stay with the pack, but Birch, after only a small mistake, lost touch in the very last uphill before the finish: ‘Those gravel-roads at the end of the stage were so much fun, drifting full power, but once I hit a fence which hurt a little.
Luckily, nothing serious happened and I could continue with the pack. But as soon as I got stuck at the very last climb before finish, Xavi and the others started to charge in an instant’, Birch wrapped up his day.
Second-placed Cyril Despres also enjoyed a less extreme day out in the Romanian wilderness, he also managed to clear the swamp in one single attempt, without getting stuck: ‘It was a nice day today, I am glad all went well’, he said out there.
Tomorrow, the stage will lead the riders back to the paddock in Sibiu over scenic landscape and with a high amount of altitude-changes to overcome, but according to the organizers, there will be nothing too tough or extreme within this coming stage. It’ll be the longest stage of this year’s Red Bull Romaniacs, though.
In the overall standings, the top three guys Galindo, Lettenbichler and Despres are separated only after seconds: Given the total riding time in the saddles of almost 12 hours, the gap from first to third of 24 seconds appears a wink of an eye and promises exciting racing to come in the second half of the Offroad-stages.

Cyril Despres
Chris Birch

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