2020 Romaniacs: Owned by Austria!
Originally scheduled to take place back in July, the 17th running of the infamous Red Bull Romaniacs – a five-day “Vertical Madness” hard/extreme enduro event run in Romania’s high-altitude Transylvania region – will be wrapped up this weekend. And when you look at the rider line-up, and the machinery they’re aboard, something tells us it’s more than likely the winning machine will have rolled off the KTM Group’s production line in Austria. How so?
Well, that same Austrian production facility assembles KTM, Husqvarna and (more recently) GasGas off-road models. Plus, when you take a gander at the rider line-up aboard these three brands’ bikes, it’s hard to see anyone else getting a look in.
KTM’s strike rider for this year’s Romaniacs is Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Manuel Lettenbichler – the reigning Romaniacs and WESS champ and one of the most versatile and in-form hard enduro pilots on the planet. His KTM teammates, Jonny Walker and Josep Garcia, won’t be racing though. Walker, a two-time Romaniacs winner, is sitting it out due to an elbow injury sustained at the recent British extreme event, while Garcia will instead contest the final two rounds of the Italian Enduro Championship before heading to Portugal for the final two rounds of the EnduroGP World Championship.
Husqvarna’s all-star 2020 Romaniacs line-up is made up of Rockstar Energy Factory Racing’s Billy Bolt, Alfredo Gomez and Graham Jarvis. After a stellar showing at the recent Sea to Sky extreme event in Turkey, the young but hard-as-nails Bolt will be looking for his first Romaniacs victory this year, while Gomez – last year’s runner-up – is intent on going one better for 2020. And if those two blokes can’t get the job done, chances are the race’s six-time winner, Graham Jarvis, can.
And let’s not forget multiple world and ErzbergRodeo champ, the 37-year-old Taddy Blazusiak, who (after signing with GasGas back in July) will make his first official outing as a GasGas Factory Racing rider at this year’s Romaniacs aboard an EC300 two-stroke.
So, anybody want to offer long odds on this year’s Romaniacs not being won by an Austrian-made machine? What about short odds? How about decent odds on the podium not being an all-Austrian affair? Yep, crickets…