Enduro

Manuel Lettenbichler Extends FIM HEWC Lead With 2023 Red Bull Romaniacs Victory

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Manuel Lettenbichler extends his championship lead to 20 points with his fourth Red Bull Romaniacs victory. Photo: Future7Media

Manuel Lettenbichler has won round three of the FIM Hard Enduro World Championship at Red Bull Romaniacs.

In what’s been a superb week-long performance by the German, he secured his fourth victory at the world’s toughest Hard Enduro Rallye by over one hour, while also claiming his third consecutive win of the 2023 season.

In the battle for the remainder of the top three, Trystan Hart took a debut podium in the race with second overall, becoming the first Canadian to do so. By taking the final Offroad Day win, Teodor Kabakchiev overhauled Billy Bolt for third.

Manuel Lettenbichler on his way to win number four. Photo: Future7Media

Entering the fourth and final Offroad Day with a virtual grasp on the winner’s trophy, Lettenbichler’s race lead of 58 minutes would prove impossible to catch. A strong start to his day saw him top the opening checkpoint. With a smart, safe, and controlled ride, he managed his pace well throughout the day.

Arriving second to the finishing arena behind Kabakchiev, the KTM rider took the final climbs in his stride and crossed the finish line as the overall winner to make it a hat trick of wins in 2023.

“I’m super stoked with how the whole week has gone,” Lettenbichler reflected. “To get my fourth Red Bull Romaniacs win and hat trick of victories in the championship this year is kinda crazy. After last year’s frustration, it feels like redemption to come back and win again. Each day I gave it my best because you just never know what is around the corner here. With three wins from three starts, we’re in a good place in the championship too as we enter the second half.”

For Kabakchiev, the final Offroad Day marked a great chance to finish on the overall podium. Starting the day trailing Bolt by five minutes, the Bulgarian pushed for all his worth.

Fastest in three of the four checkpoints before the service point, Teodor was on a mission. Clean and fast through the remainder of the day, he won Offroad Day 4 on corrected time and with it earned his place on the podium with third.

Trystan Hart put in a solid performance to take second place. Photo: Futre7Media

Knowing he had a sizeable cushion over both Kabakchiev and Bolt in their battle for third, Trystan Hart rode to maintain his position of runner-up in Red Bull Romaniacs. Ending his day sixth, he did more than enough to not only secure his debut podium in the race but also become the first Canadian to stand on the podium in the world’s toughest Hard Enduro Rallye. That result now bumps him up to second overall in the championship standings heading into his home race at Red Bull Outliers next month.

“I’m blown away by how good this week has gone for me,” Hart said. “To get my first podium here and to be the first Canadian on a Red Bull Romaniacs podium is special. I feel like I’m still learning this race every day we ride. It’s been a hell of a week and it didn’t let up, even in the finishing arena. My home race of Red Bull Outliers is next, so I’m excited for that.”

For Bolt, hopes of a debut Red Bull Romaniacs podium didn’t materialise. Despite holding third overall until the final day, the Brit – who’s been battling a shoulder injury – couldn’t hold the flying Bulgarian at bay. Ending his day seventh, he slipped to fourth in the final result.

“It’s been a tough week,” Bolt lamented. “Red Bull Romaniacs is never easy but coming here with limited bike time and still nursing an injury added to the difficulty of it. It started out great, but as the race continued it wore me down. I would have loved to take the podium, but ultimately the goal was always to reach the finish line.”

Arguably getting stronger and stronger as the race grew tougher, Sherco Factory Racing’s Mario Roman enjoyed another solid day in the saddle. The Spaniard put together a consistent day to take third, just edging out teammate Wade Young in fourth. Young however would ultimately get the better of his teammate in the overall standings to end the 20th edition of the Red Bull Romaniacs in fifth.

After a big week of racing in the Carpathian Mountains for the world’s toughest Hard Enduro Rallye, the FIM Hard Enduro World Championship enters the second half of the season with round four at Red Bull Outliers, Canada on August 26-27.

Day 2 winner Teodor Kabakchiev went on to claim third place overall. Photo: Future7Media

Results: FIM Hard Enduro, Round 3

Red Bull Romaniacs
1 Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM) 19:45:15
2 Trystan Hart (KTM) 20:55:14
3 Teodor Kabakchiev (KTM) 21:19:16
4 Billy Bolt (Husqvarna) 21:25:16
5 Wade Young (Sherco) 21:32:02
6 Michael Walkner (GASGAS) 21:37:48
7 Mario Roman (Sherco) 22:31:30
8 Graham Jarvis (Husqvarna) 23:44:46
9 Sonny Goggia (KTM) 24:19:31
10 Matthew Green (KTM) 24:44:25

Championship Standings (After round 3)
1 Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM) 64 Points
2 Trystan Hart (KTM) 46 Points
3 Billy Bolt (Husqvarna) 44 Points
4 Teodor Kabakchiev (KTM) 38 Points
5 Michael Walkner (GASGAS) 31 Points

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