Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Manuel Lettenbichler has claimed victory at Red Bull Romaniacs, round four of the FIM Hard Enduro World Championship. Topping the timesheets on the fifth and final day of racing, Mani won the race by over 27 minutes to secure his third consecutive victory at the world’s toughest hard enduro rallye. The win also moves the KTM rider to the top of the world championship classification. FMF KTM Factory Racing’s Trystan Hart enjoyed a solid outing at his first Romaniacs, placing seventh overall.
Held over five days in the Carpathian Mountains surrounding the host town of Sibiu, Red Bull Romaniacs Hard Enduro Rallye is truly one of the toughest events on the FIM Hard Enduro World Championship calendar. This fact alone makes Manuel Lettenbichler’s three successive wins all the more impressive.
Placing fourth in the opening Time Trial Qualification, while using the 18km route to reacquaint himself with the terrain, Lettenbichler got his 2021 Romaniacs off to a strong start. As Offroad Day 1 began to unfold, it was clear the main battle for the lead would be between Manuel and the experienced Graham Jarvis. Finishing a close runner-up to Jarvis after close to five hours of racing, the 23-year-old put himself into a good position going into day two – the first leg of the event’s marathon stage.
With riders camping overnight and unable to receive any team assistance, Offroad Day 2 had to be ridden carefully to not damage rider or machine. Lettenbichler put in a champion’s ride, taking the day win by almost 13 minutes, moving him to the top of the standings by a comfortable margin. A shorter day three saw the German bring his KTM 300 EXC TPI home in a safe fourth place, losing just two minutes to winner.
Pushing right from the start on day four, Mani threw down the gauntlet to his rivals, going fastest on four of the first five checkpoints. Easing his pace towards the end of the day to ensure no mistakes were made in the closing stages of the race, the 2019 WESS Champion ultimately finished over three minutes ahead to increase his total race advantage to an incredible 27 minutes and 28 seconds, after close to 20 hours of racing. The win moves Lettenbichler to the top of the FIM Hard Enduro World Championship standings.
Manuel Lettenbichler: “I am absolutely stoked with the win! And to get three-in-a-row at Red Bull Romaniacs is like a dream come true. It’s been a tough five days here this year, but the pace has been insane. I have to give credit to Graham (Jarvis) for pushing me so hard early on – I think if he’d stayed in it would have been a lot closer at the top. The race has been amazing, the organizers did a great job and I’ve really enjoyed it. It feels good to be leading the championship now too, but there is still a long way to go. I’ll try and get some rest now before the next one.”
FMF KTM Factory Racing’s Trystan Hart enjoyed an excellent ride in his debut appearance at Red Bull Romaniacs, adapting to the terrain and conditions extremely quickly to place seventh overall. With the next round of the FIM Hard Enduro World Championship taking place at Red Bull TKO in Tennessee, USA - an event the Canadian won in 2020 - he will be looking to shake things up in the series once again.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing return to FIM Hard Enduro World Championship action with round five of the series – Red Bull TKO – held in the USA from August 13-15.
Results – 2021 Red Bull Romaniacs
1. Manuel Lettenbichler (GER), KTM, 19:40:46
2. Wade Young (RSA), Sherco, 20:08:14 +27:28
3. Mario Roman (ESP), Sherco, 20:13:46 +33:00
4. Billy Bolt (GBR), Husqvarna, 20:19:00 +38:14
5. Jonny Walker (GBR), Beta, 20:30:55 +50:09
7. Trystan Hart (CAN), KTM, 20:58:03 +1:17:17
10. Dominik Olszowy (POL), KTM, 22:14:24 +2:33:38
Provisional standings - FIM Hard Enduro World Championship (after 4 of 8 rounds)
1. Manuel Lettenbichler (GER), KTM, 37 points
2. Billy Bolt (GBR), Husqvarna, 33 pts
3. Wade Young (RSA), Sherco, 25 pts
4. Mario Roman (ESP), Sherco, 24 pts
5. Jonny Walker (GBR), Beta, 24 pts