A solid ride from Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Billy Bolt at round four of the FIM Hard Enduro World Championship at Romaniacs, saw him end the weeklong event in fourth. Despite struggling in the heat early on, Alfredo Gomez brought his TE 300i safely home in 14th. Unfortunately, while in the hunt for his seventh Romaniacs win, Graham Jarvis injured his knee on Offroad Day 2 and was forced to withdraw.
Fresh from his victory at the previous round in Italy, Bolt arrived at Romaniacs eager for a solid finish at what has long been regarded as the world’s toughest hard enduro rallye. A mixed start to the event, saw the British rider struggle to settle into the rhythm of the race. Mistakes in the Time Trial and the opening two Offroad Days hampered his progress.
However, beginning Offroad Day 3 in determined spirits, Billy found his flow and began to produce the form he knew he was capable of. Ending the penultimate day of racing in second place, Bolt had raced his way up the leaderboard to a potential overall podium result. With everything to play for on the final day, he gave it his all but was unable to fully reduce the gap and had to settle for a close fourth after over 20 hours of racing.
For teammate Alfredo Gomez, the event didn’t deliver the result he had hoped for. The Spaniard has a vast amount of experience in Romaniacs, with multiple podium results. But the 18th edition of the world’s toughest Hard Enduro Rallye didn’t go in his favour.
After a solid start, Gomez endured a physically demanding Offroad Day 2, derailing any hopes of matching his podium position from 2020. But despite feeling exhausted and deflated, Gomez soldiered on to finish 14th overall.
With victory on Offroad Day 1, six-time Romaniacs winner Graham Jarvis looked to be very much at the top of his game. The Brit was enjoying the demanding conditions and showing that despite being 46 years old, he was still the master of the Carpathian Mountains. Locked in a battle with eventual race winner Manuel Lettenbichler, Graham unfortunately saw his race come to an end, late on Offroad Day 2. Within 40 minutes of the finish line, and having navigated the toughest sections of the day, he twisted his knee on a high-speed section resulting in damage to his ACL.
The FIM Hard Enduro World Championship continues with round five at the Tennessee Knockout in the USA on August 13-15.
Billy Bolt: “I didn’t quite get the result I came here looking for. As ever Romaniacs never pulls its punches and on the first couple of days I took a beating. I think I was just overriding the terrain and that’s where the mistakes came from. I managed to tidy things up at the midway point, be more patient and the results started to come good. It’s a bit frustrating to just miss out on the podium, but I’ll learn from these mistakes and come back stronger.”
Alfredo Gomez: “It’s been a tough and very physical week for me. I felt happy with my riding in the first days, but on Offroad Day 2 things unravelled. The heat and the physical nature of the terrain was exhausting and at one point I ran out of water. I lost a lot of time and also energy so from then on, the goal was just to finish. I’m so happy to have made it!”
Graham Jarvis: “I’m gutted with how the race turned out. I felt I was doing everything right and had the pace to push for the win this year. Unfortunately, just one little mistake did the damage, and my race was done. My plan now is to head home and get the injury fully assessed.”
Results - FIM Hard Enduro World Championship, Round 4: Romaniacs
1. Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM) 19:40:46
2. Wade Young (Sherco) 20:08:14
3. Mario Roman (Sherco) 20:13:46
4. Billy Bolt (Husqvarna) 20:19:00
5. Jonny Walker (Beta) 20:30:55
14. Alfredo Gomez (Husqvarna) 23:18:21
Provisional FIM Hard Enduro World Championship Standings (After round 4)
1. Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM) 37pts
2. Billy Bolt (Husqvarna) 33pts
3. Wade Young (Sherco) 25pts
4. Mario Roman (Sherco) 24pts
5. Jonny Walker (Beta) 24pts
6. Taddy Blazusiak (GASGAS) 20pts
7. Graham Jarvis (Husqvarna) 15pts
8. Michael Walkner (GASGAS) 14pts
9. Alfredo Gomez (Husqvarna) 13pts
10. Teodor Kabakchiev (Husqvarna) 11pts