Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM), of Germany, is the new leader in the 2019 World Enduro Super Series Championship after taking the win at Red Bull Romaniacs, round five of the series, July 30-August 4. Lettenbichler secured the win on the final day of racing in Romania for what was his first WESS race win of his career. Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Alfredo Gomez (ESP) and Graham Jarvis (GB) joined him on the podium.
Lettenbichler Wins Red Bull Romaniacs
“I’m over the moon right now, I really can’t believe it,” Lettenbichler said after all was said and done. “This race is really something special and to win here feels amazing. The event is so long and so hard and anything can happen, so I’m so pumped to take the win. It’s been an incredible five days and so gnarly, especially with all the rain we’ve had. Some of the uphills that would have been tricky anyway have become near impossible today. It’s 10 years since my dad won Red Bull Romaniacs so it’s great to be able to match his achievement – the Lettenbichlers are definitely going to celebrate tonight!”
Holding the provisional lead at the end of the penultimate day, Lettenbichler was determined to claim the top step of the podium on the final day of racing. With a slender one-minute and seven-second lead over Gomez, the German pushed hard from the start, and following the early climbs, he maintained his position at the front.
Gomez appeared to struggle to find his rhythm early on, dropping back behind a charging Jonny Walker (GB). The Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider was on top form and provisionally led on corrected time entering the service point.
But with heavy rain greeting riders, the already challenging trails proved slippery and unpredictable. Gomez found his rhythm in the rain and brought the fight back to Lettenbichler. The duo swapped and changed position with each passing section.
Lettenbichler entered the Gusterita finishing arena first and worked hard to complete the remaining climbs as quickly as possible. Anxiously waiting for Gomez to arrive, the KTM rider kept one eye on the clock and one on his rival as the seconds ticked by.
The nerves soon turned to joy and with Lettenbichler declared the winner, the celebrations could begin. For Gomez it was a case of close, but not close enough. Despite giving his best effort on arguably the toughest day of this year’s race it was not to be and he had to settle for the runner-up result. Putting hopes of another victory in this year’s championship on hold, Jarvis ended his week on the third step of the podium.
“It’s been an amazing race, I’m so happy to get on the podium,” Gomez said. “The first day didn’t go so well for me but then on the second day I had a better feeling on the bike and was able to take the win. The last two days also went well and it was great to have such a close fight with Mani and Graham. Obviously I’m disappointed not to have taken the win but it still feels great to come second after such a long and demanding race. Thank you to everyone who helped me over the event – my team and all the fans – I’ll come back even stronger next year.”
“It was definitely the hardest day today – it was so slippery on the hills after the rain and there was a lot of pushing,” said Jarvis. “I’m happy just to get to the finish today – I was going well up to the service point then I had a crash and lost my GPS. After that I just tried to tag onto the other riders so I knew where to go. I did get lost a couple of times, so I’m really happy to get third. Overall the event has gone well, it’s been one of the closest and I’m happy that I was still in contention right up to the end.”
With the top three proving themselves the main contenders, Blazusiak was a definite improver as the week wore on. Hampered by his technical issue on day one, a strong ride on the final two days brought him back up the leaderboard for fourth. A really strong ride by Walker for third on Off Road Day Four, saw him complete the top five in the final classification.
Behind the top five, drama struck Sherco Factory Racing’s Mario Roman. Holding fourth overall, the Spaniard had a bad day at the office in seventh. Despite a strong three days previous, he slipped to seventh overall. His loss was Billy Bolt’s gain, with the British rider moving up to sixth overall.
2019 World Enduro Super Series (WESS)
Red Bull Romainiacs
RESULTS (July 30-August 4, 2019)
- Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM) 5:37:59
- Alfredo Gomez (Hus) 5:39:16
- Jonny Walker (KTM) 5:43:27
- Graham Jarvis (Hus) 5:46:11
- Taddy Blazusiak (KTM) 5:53:39
- Billy Bolt (Hus) 6:54:00
- Nathan Watson (KTM) 6:55:41
- Josep Garcia (KTM) 7:05:03
- David Cyprian (KTM) 7:17:24
- Pol Tarres (Hus) 7:24:43
Click here for complete results.