Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Manuel Lettenbichler has stormed to victory at the 2023 Red Bull Romaniacs. In control and out front throughout the five-day event, the KTM 300 EXC racer delivered day after day of exceptional rides in the Carpathian Mountains to take the win by well over one hour. FMF KTM Factory Racing’s Trystan Hart finished as runner-up on his third appearance at the hard enduro rallye.
Celebrating its 20th edition in 2023, Red Bull Romaniacs once again proved to be one of the toughest races on the FIM Hard Enduro World Championship calendar. For Lettenbichler to dominate the event and take the win with such a commanding advantage is testament to the skill and endurance of the young German.
Runner-up on the opening day’s SuperEnduro-style prologue, Mani was then second away into Wednesday’s Offroad Day 1. Choosing to push hard right from the start paid off in more ways than one for the reigning Hard Enduro World Champion. As the weather deteriorated severely later in the day, being the first to tackle each signature hill climb Mani clamed a huge advantage. At the end of the first full day, Lettenbichler held a near-24-minute lead over teammate Hart.
Riding without incident and coming in as second fastest at the end of Offroad Day 2, Mani extended his overall lead to an impressive 38 minutes as the race reached its halfway point. Another win on Friday further extended that advantage to almost one hour heading into the final day.
Saturday dawned bright for the riders and with just 99 kilometers separating him from a fourth career victory at the event, Mani knew another solid ride would secure him the win. Feeling fresh and delivering a fast and consistent pace, right up to the final, iconic hill climb, Lettenbichler claimed the top step of the Red Bull Romaniacs podium, also increasing his lead at the top of the FIM Hard Enduro World Championship standings.
Manuel Lettenbichler: “What a crazy, crazy race – I can’t believe it. After coming sixth last year after fighting back from a technical issue early on in the race, I really wanted to make up for it this year. The whole event has gone perfectly for me. I was able to make up time each day and that’s definitely the way to race Romaniacs. The other guys have been pushing so hard as well, so that makes this win even more special. That’s my fourth win now at Romaniacs, I still have a few more to get before I beat Graham’s record, but that’s the goal for now. Let’s see how that works out. Overall, I’m super stoked and looking forward to celebrating with the team.”
FMF KTM Factory Racing’s Trystan Hart also put in a strong performance over the full five-day event. Sixth in the prologue, Hart then finished as runner-up to Lettenbichler on Offroad Day 1 – a position he would successfully defend all the way to the finish. Demonstrating his excellent technical skills, Trystan was the first to clear the final hillclimb on his way to securing second place and putting more important FIM Hard Enduro World Championship points on the board, where he also lies second behind his teammate.
Trystan Hart: “It’s been a tough event, but I’m super happy with second. Thankfully it was quite a short day today and with a good gap over the third place guy, I knew I didn’t have to push too hard and so just tried to keep things safe. Wade caught me today and we rode together to the finish, putting on a good show in this final arena for the fans. Of course, I’d be happier to finish a little closer to Mani, but this race is so tough, and anything can happen, so to come away with a strong result is great. I’m second in the championship now and looking forward to my home race in Canada next month.”
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing return to FIM Hard Enduro World Championship action at round four of the series – Red Bull Outliers – held in Canada from August 26-27.
Results – 2023 Red Bull Romaniacs
1. Manuel Lettenbichler (GER), KTM, 19:45:15
2. Trystan Hart (CAN), KTM, 20:55:14 +1:09:59
3. Teodor Kabakchiev (BUL), KTM, 21:09:16 +1:24:01
4. Billy Bolt (GBR), Husqvarna, 21:25:16 +1:40:01
5. Wade Young (ZAF), Sherco, 21:32:02 +1:46:47
8. Sonny Goggia (ITA), KTM, 24:19:31 +4:34:16
10. Matthew Green (ZAF), KTM, 24:44:25 +4:59:10
Provisional standings - FIM Hard Enduro World Championship (after 3 of 6 rounds)
1. Manuel Lettenbichler (GER), KTM, 63 points
2. Trystan Hart (CAN), KTM, 46 pts
3. Billy Bolt (GBR), Husqvarna, 44 pts
4. Teodor Kabakchiev (BUL), KTM, 38 pts
5. Michael Walkner (AUT), GASGAS, 31 pts