The fifth round of the FIM Hard Enduro World Championship at Red Bull Romaniacs got underway in spectacular fashion with Spain’s Alfredo Gomez claiming the prologue win in Romania.
Gomez thrilled the thousands of spectators gathered in Sibiu to take the win over Taddy Blazusiak, with Manuel Lettenbichler in third.
Round five of the FIM Hard Enduro World Championship at Red Bull Romaniacs was quickly up to full speed with the infamous city prologue. Competitors from over 50 nations gathered to test themselves on one of the most challenging street courses in the world.
With all eyes on the Gold class final, it was shaping up to be an intense 10-minute race. Gomez qualified fastest, but Blazusiak, Lettenbichler, Mario Roman, and Dominik Olszowy were all on the front row and eager to get out ahead.
Lettenbichler was quickest off the line and grabbed an early lead, with Gomez and Blazusiak in hot pursuit. A mistake on the tyres by Lettenbichler saw Gomez and Blazusiak push through to the front before Blazusiak then made his way into the lead.
The GASGAS rider opened a slender gap, but entering the closing stages Gomez was back on his wheel tracks. With one lap to go, there was all to play for, and the heavy traffic was set to become a factor. With Blazusiak going one way, Gomez gambled on the other and it paid off as the Spaniard rode clear to win.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” Gomez said. “Probably the best prologue yet. Just the right intensity. The battle was good with Taddy, and I had good pace on the tyres. It went to the final lap and somehow, I squeezed through. I’m feeling good for the week ahead. I’m enjoying my riding a lot and that’s what it takes here to get a good result.”
Blazusiak had to settle for second, while Manuel regrouped well for third, ahead of Mario and Olszowy.
“It’s been four months since I raced, but it was fun to come back out like that,” Blazusiak said. “I got a good start and saw some spots where I was faster than Alfredo and then used those to make a gap in the first half of the race. I eased back a little with a couple of laps to go and Alfredo was right on me again. It went down to the final lap. I got my line choice wrong, and Alfredo won. I’m excited for the week ahead, it’s nice to be back racing. It will be tough coming back from injury, but I want to stay smooth and try and hang with the leading group as much as possible.”
Red Bull Romaniacs gets underway in earnest on Wednesday, July 27, with the first of four Offroad Days in the surrounding Carpathian Mountains.
Results: Round 5 – Red Bull Romaniacs Prologue
1 Alfredo Gomez (GASGAS) 9 laps, 11:40.587
2 Taddy Blazusiak (GASGAS) 9 laps, 11:46.580
3 Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM) 9 laps, 11:58.368
4 Mario Roman (Sherco) 9 laps, 11:59.580
5 Dominik Olszowy (GASGAS) 9 laps, 12:18.343