Rnd 4, World Enduro Super Series – Red Bull Romaniacs, Romania
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing riders Jonny Walker, Taddy Blazusiak, Josep Garcia and Nathan Watson are all set to tackle round four of the World Enduro Super Series – the 2018 Red Bull Romaniacs in Sibiu, Romania. The quartet will initially face the prologue held in the city of Sibiu, before heading into the countryside for four days of challenging riding in an event that is commonly tagged as the world’s toughest hard enduro rallye.
Red Bull Romaniacs, now in its 15th year, is known as one of the most difficult but also most rewarding of the calendar’s events. With Gold Class participants facing approximately 200km of some of the toughest tracks the Carpathian Mountains have to offer per day, to claim a finish is an achievement in itself. For 2018, the addition of two overnight bivouacs away from the city of Sibiu will offer new challenges, with competitors riding terrain designed to test even the most hardened Romaniacs veterans.
Two-time winner of the race Jonny Walker will be aiming for more than just a finish in 2018. Forced to retire from the previous year’s event due to sustaining an injury to his hand on day two, Walker will be looking to increase his points lead at the top of the World Enduro Super Series standings.
Jonny Walker: “I’ve really been looking forward to Romaniacs this year. I crashed last year on a really technical section and hurt my hand, I did manage to make the start on the following day but wasn’t able to carry on. Things are going well so far this year and to be leading the WESS feels great. If I can increase the gap at the top come the end of Romaniacs it would really set things up well for the second half of the season – to come away with a win would be something extra special. It’s a long event and one of the toughest on the WESS calendar, but I am fit, well prepared and will definitely be aiming for a top result.”
Currently sitting fifth in the WESS standings Taddy Blazusiak will also be looking to top the 2018 Red Bull Romaniacs podium. Keen to claim his first podium result of the championship, the multiple Endurocross champion is keen to show what he’s capable of in the Romanian mountains.
Taddy Blazusiak: “When I returned to racing at the beginning of the year, Romaniacs was one of the events I really wanted to have another chance at – I am really glad it’s part of the WESS. With five days of racing, anything can happen so I know its important to initially aim for a finish. I will take each day as it comes and see where I am towards the end of the race. Of course, I want to take the win, but the championship is very important to me too. I want to come away with some good points and hopefully get closer to the top of the standings.”
Josep Garcia will be competing in his first ever Red Bull Romaniacs. Showing great pace in the first three rounds of the series, the 2017 Enduro 2 World Champion looks well prepared to take on the WESS championship’s longest event.
Josep Garcia: “The WESS has been going well so far. The events have all been new to me and Romaniacs is no different. I was able to take a bit of a break after Trefle Lozerien but have since been training hard for the terrain in Romania. I know it’s going to be tough but I am confident of getting a good finish and if I can claim a podium that’s even better. To be sitting sixth in the championship so close to the hard enduro experts is better than I could have hoped for at the beginning of the year. I’ll keep on pushing and hopefully with another good result here I can get even closer to the top.”
Nathan Watson, like Garcia, joined the WESS after coming from the EnduroGP championship. Battling against the extreme enduro regulars, Watson’s speed and determination have awarded him some strong results in the three rounds so far and the Brit currently lies 10th in the 2018 standings. Aiming for a good finish, Nathan is keen to impress at his first ever Romaniacs.
Nathan Watson: “I know Romaniacs is going to be a real challenge – I have heard they have added a few new areas this year so nobody knows exactly what to expect. My aim is to get through the prologue without hurting myself or the bike then really start to push on the four days offroad. I have got good strength and stamina and that should set me up well for the race. It’s my first time using a GPS so that is all new too. My plan is to keep to a quick but consistent pace and not make any mistakes. Hopefully, by the end of the five days, I should be somewhere near and take home some good WESS points.”
FMF KTM Factory Racing’s Cody Webb will not be contesting round four in Romania due to an injury sustained on the Erzbergrodeo Prologue at round two of the series.
Red Bull Romaniacs, WESS round four, commences July 24 in Sibiu, Romania.
WORLD ENDURO SUPER SERIES – 2018 SCHEDULE
Rnd 1. Extreme XL Lagares (Portugal) May 11-13
Rnd 2. Erzbergrodeo (Austria) May 31-June 3
Rnd 3. Trèfle Lozérien AMV (France) June 8-10
Rnd 4. Red Bull Romaniacs (Romania) July 24-28
Rnd 5. Red Bull 111 Megawatt (Poland) September 8-9
Rnd 6. Hawkstone Park Cross-Country (England) September 22-23
Rnd 7. Gotland Grand National (Sweden) October 26-27
Rnd 8. Red Bull Knock Out (The Netherlands) November 10
Image and text courtesy KTM Sportmotorcycles GmbH