KTM’S CHRIS BIRCH FINISHES A HEROIC SECOND IN RED BULL ROMANIACS 2011
KTM rider Chris Birch came home in second in the 2011 Red Bull Romaniacs 2011, the five-day event for passionate hard Enduro riders in and around Sibiu, Romania after five days of challenging riding in the magnificent scenery of Transylvania.
The New Zealand professional who has been living and competing in South Africa this season still said he was ‘stoked’ to be on the podium in second place to winner Graham Jarvis of the UK. Throughout the competition, Birch, who won here last year, did everything in his power to reclaim the time he had lost on Jarvis in the early part of the race. He now returns to South Africa and will compete again in the national competition on Saturday. German rider Andreas Lettenbichler was third.
Chris Birch at the end of the race: “Today I had my hardest day so far, this was quite tough but definitely a fun ride. Coming second to Graham (Jarvis) is okay in my book – this guy is incredible! And I love this race. I have done all kinds of races around the world and this is by far the best.”
Romaniacs 2011: Prologue and four days hard ride
Chris tackled the rain soaked prologue on Saturday with enthusiasm saying he felt right at home in the wet conditions and even then it was clear that Jarvis was going to be the most dangerous opponent. In the final shakeout it was Jarvis in front of KTM UK rider Paul Bolton followed by Birch in the prologue, which was punctuated with an alarmingly tricky man-made obstacles in downtown Sibiu. This year it was live streamed to the Internet for the first time
Day One this year was not the usual deep-end approach; organizers had declared it a warm up day, even if it did include some challenging territory. Homer’s downhill proved to be tough even for the pro division and Jarvis was the only one to stay on the bike for this descent. Birch had an off and was slightly injured but still managed to finish in fourth place.
Chris came into his own on Day Two when the pace was fast and the landscape beautiful and even though he struggled with some pain from a former hand injury, he still took line honors. “I had a much better day today and had an awesome time,” he said. “The bike was great - these KTMs just seem to like this kind of abuse… It was a day however that Bolton will remember because he damaged his carburetor on a tree and it cost him a vital 10 minutes.”
Day Three will go down amongst the riders as pain day: hot, dramatic and very tough. It was also the day where Birch finally got the edge on Jarvis only to see his bike crash down a raving and hit a tree. Thanks to some on-track camaraderie Chris got back in the action and finished just minutes behind Jarvis.
At the end of the race, Birch described Day Four as his “hardest day so far” even though he managed to claw back a bit of time on Jarvis when the leader was held up after getting some wire around his rear wheel.
Overall Results Pro class
1, Graham Jarvis, UK, Husaberg
2, Chris Birch, New Zealand, KTM
3, Andreas Lettenbichler, Germany, Husqvarna
4, Paul Bolton, UK, KTM
5, Faja Melcior, Spain, KTM
6, Xavi Galindo, Spain, Husaberg
7, Darryl Curtis, South Africa, KTM
8, Sean Clarke, New Zealand, KTM
9, Emmanuel Gyenes, Romania, KTM
Red Bull Romaniacs 2011 in figures
176 riders started – 124 finished
600 km of prepared tracks
400 people employed
20,000 liters of fuel, 90 liters of Motorex Oil
16 tank points, four service points and 40 check points