Text and photo: Ramona Copil
The “Sweet 16th” edition of this year’s Red Bull Romaniacs, the international moto cross competition, began with the legendary Prolog day on July 30th in the city center of Sibiu, featuring a short but challenging obstacle course. The endurance elements of the brutal race continued with 4 more days of hard Enduro, which was far from “sweet,” the title name aside. Riders from around 50 countries raced in four classes descending from Gold to Iron, amateur and professional, in what has been dubbed the most difficult moto cross event worldwide. Around 450 competitors challenged themselves in a race of mental and physical endurance through the Carpathian wilderness. Due to extreme conditions this year, the Gold course was reduced, yet still closed out at a whopping 571 kilometers.
21 year old Manual Lettenbichler of Germany came in first overall for Gold, finishing first on days 3 and 4 with a total winning time of 20h39m51s, despite heavy rain and fog spicing up the course on the final day. The KTM rider cemented his family’s legacy in the sport; his father, Andreas, was crowned Red Bull Romaniacs champion exactly a decade ago.
The Rockstar from Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing, Graham Jarvis, 44, of the U.K., has won six of Red Bull’s 16 games. Although winning the first day, Jarvis lost his GPS navigation system, and with it, precious time. He finished third overall.
Alfredo Gomez Cantero of Spain claimed a win in the second day’s Gold race. He kept good time throughout the other days, finishing in second place with an overall time of 20h42m15s.
An enormous amount of strength, preparation, and effort is required to participate as a competitor in this event. It’s a pride to say that our Romanian rider, Emanuel Gyenes, finished his 16th Red Bull Romaniacs, earning the distinction of being the the only rider in the world who managed to pass the finish line in all editions. This year, technical issues restricted him to a 4th place finish in the silver category.
The “Sweet 16” race featured a big first. Anna Schmölzl of Germany became the first female category winner, taking top place in the Iron class of Red Bull Romaniacs.
Motorsports legend Heinz Kinigadner and “Wings for Life” founder had this to say on the race.
“This is a very unique event, there is nothing comparable out there! What amazes me most, is how the team around Martin Freinademetz [the organizer of Red Bull Romaniacs] manages to bring the participants of each of the classes to their limits.”
OZB offers their congratulations to all of this year’s winners and participants!