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Red Bull Romaniacs 2008: Shadow Riding

  Posted at 08:49:41 AM
  File under  Racing
  Author: Katrin Strobl
  Location: Sibiu, Romania

Day 2 - 5th Red Bull Romaniacs hard motorcycle enduro rally

Red Bull Romaniacs 2008 logo

A selective track, toughest conditions and a tight result – Red Bull Romaniacs is getting to hit its peak. The second off-road day asked for great riding skills, endurance and good riding speed. The best combination of these three criteria was again displayed by Chris Birch (NZL), Gerhard Forster (GER) and Graham Jarvis (UK). Performer of the day: second placed Forster, who is the so-called “GPS machine” within the pro class riders, navigating the followers through the course.

Red Bull Romaniacs 2008
Graham Jarvis    © Samo Vidic

Today’s early start was the first tough blow for the already shrunken field of 177 participants: still almost dark, foggy and cold, the expected rain should follow only minutes later. Thus, the service crews waiting for their riders were quite surprised as Gerhard Forster (GER, BMW) and Graham Jarvis (UK, Sherco) arrived there after two and a half hours, closely followed by Kiwi-rider Chris Birch (NZL, KTM). Again, those three riders set the standards for the off-road stage. Seen from Chris Birch’s view, he had to make up on his almost 19 minutes lag from day 1; thus the New Zealander tried to attack twice and overtook the lead, but soon faced some problems with finding the track, had to give in and return to the well known threesome of yesterday. Gerhard Forster navigated his BMW securely through the 180 kilometers of “zig zags”, canyons and exhausting sections called “Snakes and Ladders“, “El Capitan”, “Ayers Rock”, “Electrocution Hill” and “Shrek’s Swamp”. His followers – Jarvis and Birch – used the fast ridge passages to show their bikes’ speed but had to count on the German’s navigation skills in order to not lose too much time and a realistic chance for the overall victory.

Both, Birch and Forster will be under pressure at tomorrow’s stage: KTM factory rider Birch will have to prove his willingness to win, whereas Forster has gotten tired of leading his followers through the wilderness. UK-rider Graham Jarvis is only 42 seconds ahead of Gerhard Forster overall and knows that his navigation skills are not as well “developed” as his trial abilities.

Red Bull Romaniacs 2008
© Alex Kaiser

Due to bad weather conditions the organization had to skip the trickiest part of today’s pro track called “Sigi’s ZigZag”. Nevertheless, nasty stairs – only a few minutes before the finish – remained in the track to ensure a last exertion and make the riders sleep like babies tonight.

British rider Paul Bolton activated his rescue system at 10.00 sharp, was located only one minute later at 10.01 and the mountain rescue team had quite some difficulties to bring him down to more practicable terrain but were able to give an all clear to the helicopter emergency team waiting at stand by. Since the Red Bull Hare Scramble at Erzberg (AUT) this May, “Boltz” suffered from a knee injury which appeared urgently and it is rather unlikely that he will be able to continue his race.

Red Bull Romaniacs 2008
© Alex Kaiser

Jürgen Dörr, a German Expert-Single class rider, crashed quite hard in the same place as Paul Bolton did and destroyed his throttle completely. As Paul has retired from today’s race he offered the German to take the throttle of his bike. Although it was a lot of work, because Paul’s two-stroke throttle wouldn’t really fit on his 4-stroke KTM, this saved the rider from retiring as well.

Navigation will definitely be the criteria on tomorrow’s third off-road stage: bad weather and foggy conditions could even worsen the situation on the track, highest course point is 2.200m above sea level and snowfall is not to be excluded; moreover, the course markings will be rather rarely. The most spectacular point will be encountered by the riders of the professional class right after the short break at the service point: the meanest up hill section of the whole rally will demand loads of power and time. Fitness and endurance – two requirements the remaining pro riders will again need excessively on Tuesday.

Results Day 2 Pro Class

1. Chris Birch                NZL
2. Gerhard Forster     GER
3. Graham Jarvis        UK

Standings after Day 2 Pro Class

1. Graham Jarvis        UK        Sherco
2. Gerhard Forster      GER        BMW
3. Chris Birch                NZL        KTM

Click here to access the Red Bull Romaniacs site for more info Open link in a new window

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