KTM factory rider Jonny Walker put up a valiant effort to struggle back to fifth place on the opening day of the notoriously difficult Red Bull Romaniacs Extreme Enduro in Romania on Wednesday after finishing on the podium after Tuesday’s ultra-tough prologue.
Overall winner of the day was the very experienced Graham Jarvis, followed by Andreas Lettenbichler while Alfredo Gomez was listed provisionally third.
Second out into the rough and tumble of the mountains around Sibiu, the 22-year-old Walker got away to a great start but some distance into the race got caught up in a tree, hurt his arm and in the process misplaced his GPS device, essential for navigating. He got back into the race, found his rhythm once again and was trailing the leaders by about 11 minutes at the refueling point and well back in the running for a good result.
But today was not Jonny’s day and around five km from the finish he ran out of fuel and for the last 30 minutes plus had to push his bike at considerable cost to his energy levels. That he hit the finish in fifth was testament to his toughness on a day when even the most experienced had their problems. Walker now has around a one-hour deficit on the leader with three more days to go.
“I pushed hard and then crashed off the side of a bank. I got going again with Lettenbichler but ran out of fuel before the service. I must have pushed my bike for about 3km until I managed to get some fuel from an Expert rider. When I got going again I managed to get back to fifth.” Walker told reporters.
But if Walker found it tough going on the opening day of competition, he was not alone. Some 40 riders started in the professional class, the elite and most skilled competing, but only eight were on the list of the provisional results. KTM’s Ivan Cervantes and Cristobal Guerrero were accounted for but both not included in the provisional results. Veteran Romaniac Chris Birch of New Zealand took time out for a cooling off swim in one of the rivers and finished sixth provisionally.
Provisional Results Pro Class Day One (of 40 starters, only 8 finishers)
1, Graham Jarvis, UK, Husaberg
2, Andreas Lttenbichler, Germany, Husqvarna
3, Alfredo Gomez, Spain, Husaberg
4, Ben Hemingway, UK, Beta
5, Jonny Walker, UK KTM
6, Chris Birch, New Zealand, KTM
7, Paul Bolton, UK, KTM
8, Erasmo Klering, KTM