KING OF THE HILL

Mo­togp O WSB O BSB O Roads O Off-road Ex­pe­ri­enced Brit wins tough­est ever Red Bull Ro­ma­ni­acs En­duro

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Sport - By Michael Guy MCN SPORTS EDITOR

‘On the last day I just did my best to stay fo­cused’ GRA­HAM JARIVS

Gra­ham Jarvis ce­mented his po­si­tion as the world’s best ex­treme en­duro rider with an em­phatic vic­tory in the five­day Red Bull Ro­ma­ni­acs event.

Run in the moun­tains of Ro­ma­nia near Sibu, the event starts with an in­sane pro­logue which sees rid­ers go head to head over an ar­ray of ever more ex­treme man-made ob­sta­cles set up in the town cen­tre, while thou­sands of spec­ta­tors look on.

The pro­logue dic­tates the start­ing or­der for the open­ing day of off-road rid­ing which sees com­peti­tors tackle ter­rain that would be dif­fi­cult to climb, never mind ride a bike up.

Jarvis, a for­mer world cham­pi­onship tri­als rider, has be­come the don of ex­treme en­duro due to his in­cred­i­ble abil­ity to ex­cel in the tough­est ter­rain.

Win­ning his sixth Red Bull Ro­ma­ni­acs, factory Husq­varna rider Jarvis, now aged 42, is seen as the old man of the sport which is filled with ever younger rid­ers ea­ger for his crown.

After his em­phatic vic­tory, he said: “It’s an in­cred­i­ble feel­ing to win Ro­ma­ni­acs for the sixth time. When I started rac­ing the event al­most 10 years ago I couldn’t even dream of this. This time it’s been a bat­tle for survival and I was re­ally happy to get to the fin­ish. Day one was pretty tough and it seemed to go on for­ever. It was dif­fi­cult to nav­i­gate as well. Day two was a bit of an eas­ier one and not so tech­ni­cal. Jonny Walker caught me but after the ser­vice point I man­aged to pull a gap. Over­all, it was a good day for me. We

knew day three was go­ing to be tough. There was a lot of push­ing be­fore the ser­vice point and that was the hard­est bit. It was a very long day and the tired­ness kept build­ing. On the last day I did my best to stay fo­cused on the track. I was tired – it’s been a huge team ef­fort to get this win.”

Factory Sherco rider Mario Ro­man from Spain se­cured a bril­liant sec­ond in front of Brit Paul Bolton who put in a trade­mark gutsy ride to round off the podium on­board his Eurotek KTM. Bolton is a pri­va­teer com­pet­ing against an ever in­creas­ing num­ber of full factory rid­ers, and his podium came after 10 years rac­ing in the event.

When the go­ing’s too tough

While the 2017 event will go down in history as an­other Jarvis mas­ter­class, it will also be re­mem­bered for the num­ber of top men forced to re­tire, and in­juries that plagued the five-day event.

The high­est pro­file vic­tims of the event were top Brits Jonny Walker and David Knight. Walker, a for­mer Ro­ma­ni­acs win­ner, was touted as one of the few men ca­pa­ble of tak­ing the fight to Jarvis. The 26-year-old factory KTM rider fin­ished third on the open­ing off-road day, but in­jured his hand after crash­ing on an in­sane de­scent on day two and was forced to with­draw.

“I set off and there was a steep climb through the woods but I just couldn’t pull the clutch in be­cause of my in­jured hand,” he said.

Knight, who has been ab­sent from the big in­ter­na­tional ex­treme en­duro events due to in­jury in re­cent years, made an im­pres­sive come­back to fin­ish the first off-road day in sixth. But he was forced out on day two after get­ting caught up with an­other rider and dam­ag­ing his neck and shoulder when he fell down a wa­ter­fall. He re-en­tered the event on day four and se­cured third on the fi­nal day.

“I was rid­ing well on day one and day four and the ter­rain re­ally suited me,” he said. “But I think the or­gan­is­ers out­did them­selves on day two and three by mak­ing it too ex­treme. It was my first Ro­ma­ni­acs and I’ve got a lot to learn. I’d like to go back, but I’d need a lot more time on the bike be­fore­hand be­cause if I do, I want to do it prop­erly.”

This year’s ter­rain was the most ex­treme the event has seen

Jarvis (cen­tre) joined on the podium by Paul Bolton and Mario Ro­man

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